There are 3 main steps when finishing bare wood furniture which includes sanding, staining or painting, and then applying a protective finish. You will save money by finishing your furniture and you will have the satisfaction of doing it yourself.
STEP # 1
The first step in this process is to prepare the wood by sanding the wood with 120 grit sandpaper and finishing it by using 220 grit. Make sure that you always sand in the direction of the grain. This sanding will prepare the wood to properly receive the stain. Thoroughly wipe off all of the dust particles to achieve the best possible finish.
STEP # 2
Prior to staining your furniture, consider using a "Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner" which is specifically designed to use before staining to help prevent streaking and blotching which will help to ensure a beautiful, even stain. If used, apply with a natural bristle brush and let it dry for 15 minutes. Then wipe off any of excess wood conditioner that was not absorbed by the wood.
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Next, choose a water-based or oil-based stain. Stir the contents of the can thoroughly. Do not shake the can since this will cause bubbles which will create undesirable results. Use a natural bristle brush to apply the stain for best results. A sponge brush or a lint-free rag can also be used.
Wipe off the excess stain after it has been applied and let it dry (approximately 4 hours) per the product's instructions. Please note that the stained wood will become darker the longer the stain is allowed to sit before being wiped off. When wiping off the stain, make sure that you wipe in the direction of the grain. After the stain is thoroughly dry, you can apply a second coat if you would prefer a darker finish.
After having achieved desired results, make sure that you let the stain dry thoroughly. You will notice that the grain of the wood has raised slightly. Using fine 120 grit sandpaper, lightly sand the entire surface in the direction of the grain before continuing.
STEP # 3
You are now ready to seal your piece of furniture with a protective finish. There are a variety of products available for this purpose. A good all-around product is a Fast-Drying Polyurethane (Clear Satin). You can use a oil-based or water-based polyurethane or a type of shellac that is suitable for your project.
Stir the polyurethane thoroughly (do not shake can) and apply with a natural bristle brush. Drying time is approximately 4 hours. When dry, lightly sand with 220 sandpaper and then remove any dust particles from the surface. Repeat this process for a 2nd time and preferably a 3rd time to achieve a good, durable finish that will last a lifetime.
Note...Click Here to watch a Minwax video on YouTube that will be of help to you when finishing your furniture. There's a large selection of videos available on YouTube that would also be beneficial to watch before you begin.
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