Refinishing Wood Furniture Like a Pro

4 Materials
3 Days

Lots of furniture painting/ refinishing tutorials focus on how to do it the easy way by skipping a step or do it fast! But the truth is you won't get the results you want to achieve by cutting corners. Don't get me wrong I have done plenty of chalk painted side tables and dressers and recommend those if you are looking to achieve the farmhouse/shabby chic look or a first timer. But the truth is that wax isn't a permanent finish and will have to re-wax 3-6 months (depending on usage) I don't want to have to tell customers that the dresser they just bought will require such work! Not to mention that waxing a big piece takes forever and is hard work. I will show you how to get a professional look the hard way, the time consuming way, but in a way where you get a permanent finish you can be proud of and you don't have to worry about for the next 60 years!

American of martinsville side table
American of martinsville side table

This mid century modern side table has seen better days. It seemed that someone has tried to refinish it but did a lousy job. Perhaps by following a cutting corners tutorial 😉.

Sanding with an electric sander
Sanding with an electric sander

I started by taking the table apart and got to sanding. Sanded all the way from 100 (100, 120, 150, 220). Down to 220.

Nice wood grain
Nice wood grain

Once that way all done I could already see the amazing woodgrain! And the signature American of martinsville metal x's were showing beautifully.

Oil instead of stain
Oil instead of stain

This was my first time using boiled linseed oil instead of stain and liked the way it enhanced the natural wood grain instead of hiding it behind the stain.

refinishing wood furniture like a pro

It unfortunately takes 24 hours between coats, but this isn't a cutting corners tutorial remember? 😁. I applied 2 coats of oil then once it was dry (2 days later) sealed it with a water based polyurethane for a permanent finish.

Sami gloss clear coat
Sami gloss clear coat

You have to wait till the oil dries before you apply! I apply clear coat with a high quality brush that way you don't leave brush strokes. Would it be better with a spay on machine? Sure! But I don't have one nor the place where I could spray that around....

refinishing wood furniture like a pro
refinishing wood furniture like a pro
refinishing wood furniture like a pro

Here is the final product! Gorgeous wood grain and a professional finish that will last another lifetime!

Follow me on Instagram @andreapalmai to see my other furniture rescues

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Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Heje
    on Aug 18, 2019

    What made you decide to use Linseed Oil on this piece? It is gorgeous by the way!

    • Vivian
      on Aug 29, 2019

      The oil will seep into the wood better then strain and give a longer life to you project. Like Andrea said this was not a cut corners project. Is for sharing this and the finish is wonderful.

  • Clayton
    on Aug 24, 2019

    Question. You used a water based polyurethane over oil? Wouldn't you need to use an oil based polyurethane?

    • Clayton
      on Aug 25, 2019

      Thank you very much, Trudy. This is good to know.

Join the conversation

2 of 35 comments
  • Robyn Garner
    on Aug 28, 2019

    LOVE the table and tutorial. I literally GASP when I see posts with someone painting a mid century piece. Such a loss. I have also always done it "the hard way"! 😎

  • Carla O'Neel Boyd
    7 days ago

    I didn't actually know what Linseed Oil was used for. Thanks for sharing. I'd rather have the natural look than have the stain take on a un-natural look. I too wondered about the water based "poly" with the oil. Guess that worked or you wouldn't have posted a photo of it. I don't like bubbles or brush strokes so want to minimize that. Have a couple of projects that need attention after a move. Thanks for sharing!

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