Restoring Wood Furniture Without Stripping!

6 Materials
1 Day

So you have a set of chairs that are the right size, are comfortable, and fit your space well, BUT they are the WRONG color... What's a girl to do??

Tone them!

What?! Yep, it's called wood toning - it's not re-staining. No stripping, sanding to raw wood, or using smelly oil based products at all!
restoring wood furniture without stripping
Step 1. Scuff sand the existing finish. I used 220 grit sandpaper. Use circular motions to scratch up the existing finish to give the new finish something to "stick" to. 
restoring wood furniture without stripping
Step 2. Clean the piece with a 50/50 mix of denatured alcohol and water. Never use this cleaner on a finished piece, it will break down the finish - which is what we want it to do here. This will also clean it without leaving any residue. Mix this in a spray bottle, spray it down and clean it off with paper towels. 
restoring wood furniture without stripping
Step 3. Here's a new trick that works so well! Make a mixture of wood stain (in any color) with about 10% Topcoat. This makes a "glaze." It allows you to re-color the wood without a streaky finish. 
Here's the difference.
Here's the difference.
To achieve the color I wanted, it took two coats of my "glaze" applied with a nice brush (I use Purdy brushes).
restoring wood furniture without stripping
Step 5. When they were dry, I started top coating. These chairs took 3 coats of Top Coat in satin finish. I applied it with a clean brush, and just did one coat at a time. DO NOT sand between the coats. 
restoring wood furniture without stripping
Chairs can be a lot of work and applying 5 coats of product to each chair was time consuming. However I'd do that any day over stripping and sanding the existing finish!! 

For even more details on this project click the link below


To learn about all of my current projects, please subscribe here to receive my emails. Be sure to follow me on Facebook @RootsandWingsFurniture where I share more of tips and advice to help your home projects go smoothly. 
Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page. More info

Top Hometalk Projects

15 Things To Do With Scrap Material
31 Creative Garden Features Perfect For Summer
15 Fabulous Fire Pits For Your Backyard
23 DIY Wall Clocks That'll Transform Your Whole Room
18 Adorable Container Garden Ideas To Copy This Spring
15 Amazing Things You Can Make With Dollar Store Gems
30 Creative Painting Techniques & Ideas You MUST See!
14 Cool Ways To Upholster Chairs That You Can DIY
30 Creative Ways To Repurpose Baking Pans
30 Reasons We Can’t Stop Buying Michaels Storage Crates
17 Faux Brick Ideas For Your Home
15 Things To Do With Scrap Material
16 Brilliant Wire Basket Hacks Everyone's Doing Right Now
The 15 Coolest Ways to Reuse Pipes in Your Home Decor
15 Genius Curtain Ideas To Instantly Upgrade Your Space
Jenni Ingram

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 28 questions
  • Gloria tulip
    on Apr 20, 2019

    What is the topcoat you are referring to?

    • Trudy
      on Jul 24, 2019

      I am guessing it would need to be waterbased is she added waterbased stain to it.

  • Anna
    on Jul 24, 2019

    Would this work on cabinets?

  • Carmen
    on Jul 26, 2019

    I live in Romania and I can't find anywhere the General finishes brand... I did find Minwax products. Do you think I could replace Gf with Minwax? I'm thinking a mixture of Minwax Wood Finish and Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane. Thank you in advance.

    • Mary Smith
      on Sep 2, 2019

      I haven’t tried this, but it sounds like a goo alternative to me.

Join the conversation

2 of 32 comments
  • Anastasia
    on Jul 24, 2019

    So clever technique. Have a piece of furniture I have in mind to use this on. Thank you for sharing!

  • Cat
    on Jul 24, 2019

    This got my attention for many projects I been hesitant to start THANKS for the idea/tip

Your comment...