Restoring Wood Furniture Without Stripping!

6 Materials
$50
1 Day
Easy

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

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

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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

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