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Question on Wood Refinishing

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  • Question on Wood Refinishing

    I inherited an old pine dining room set and the finish is worn on some of the arm rests and top backs.
    A neighbor stopped by and said he did not have luck touching up similar chairs using stain. Can I simply do a light sanding and use a Minwax stain, or is there a better way ? Thanks, Frank

  • #2
    Re: Question on Wood Refinishing

    the big problem is many times the finish yellows as well, and the wood will change color as well with the sun light, so even if you have the stain that was used when it was made it many not match the color now,

    one can some times mix stains to match colors and come out close, I find if one can do a surface or a panel and not just a spot it helps,

    usually furniture is lacquerer finished and most lacquerers are not very water resistance, so sweat will peal or make them white in color,

    usually sanding off to wood is good, but a lot depends on how bad the damage is and if spot treatment or a complete surface or a total refinishing job is in order,

    on my dinning table is a table I made over 30 years ago, and is made of construction grade 2x6's and when I refinished it I just sand the top back off and restrain and finish the same with the benches, it is trestle table, and spot treat were the wood has been worn into with feet rubbing on it or what ever, (after 30 years and 4 kids and now 7 grand kids and numerous friends and other family a little character is not unusual, and has some memories, in the different scratches and gouges,
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    • #3
      Re: Question on Wood Refinishing

      Frank, I have had particular problems with pine. It's a wood that absorbs stain very unevenly. There are wood conditioners - Minwax makes one, or you can experiment with a very light cut of super blonde shellac - that you apply pre-stain and let dry. These can help even out the effect, but unless you take off the entire existing finish it will be hit or miss as to how it works. And they generall will result in the stain being lighter in shade than you might want. No matter what, pine is tough to stain.

      These days, much of the commerciall-made pine furniture is not stained, but rather toned. The factory tints the catalyzed lacquer they spray on, which completely avoids the problem of uneven stain. I know that not everyone has a spray rig, but if you it's the best way to address a spot repair. The local supplier that provides finishing materials to cabinet shops can probably tint lacquer for you. Using an artist's airbrush for small areas, spray very light coats of the tinted lacquer. You can keep adding light coats until the color matches, as long as you don't get above about 5 mils of dry film thickness. Wet sand, then extra fine scotch brite to blend the edgeds of the repair (or buff if it's glossy) and it will be as good as it's going to get.

      Lots of people don't like Minwax, but I have had good results with it. Just not on pine!


      • #4
        Re: Question on Wood Refinishing

        I appreciate the replies and will attempt some touch up when the weather cools off a bit.


        • #5
          Re: Question on Wood Refinishing

          If the furniture is older, be careful that there is no lead based finish on it that you are attempting to sand off. Or where a repsirator to be safe regardless.