Antique Dresser Refinish

5 Materials
4 Days

This antique Eastlake dresser which was very well loved was in need of a fresh start so we took it home and refinished it, giving it a second chance to shine again.


This must have been such a beauty! Once we got the piece home we decided we would keep the top portion for a remodeling project in our own home and focused our attention on the bottom. We started by cleaning with a mix of 50/50 denatured alcohol and water.

Surface Sanding

We let it dry then reached for our favorite sander, the 3 x 4 electric ray Surfprep. We love it because it sands flat surfaces, has flexible foam pads for edges, curvy details and raised profiling and it even polishes hardware! I have a link and discount code if anyone is looking for the best versatile sander! So we started with a coarse grit - 80 and worked through the steps, eventually reaching 220.

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Detail Sanding

These flexible pads really reduce hand sanding because they contour to the shape of the profile you are sanding. After sanding we removed all the dust with a tack cloth.

Before Staining

We were happily surprised to find what was under there- look natural that burl veneer in the middle of each drawer, it is amazing!


After sanding everything down, we used mineral spirits as a slip coat for our stain. We then used a gel stain with some thick foam brushes and applied a thin coat on the whole piece, making sure to apply sparingly to the drawer fronts, so their pattern would remain visible. Gel stain is one of the easiest things to work with, just make sure you are in a ventilated area and wear your respirator and gloves. After we applied the stain we quickly wiped off the excess with shop towels. We then sealed with a flat top coat.

Here is the final result! If you have Instagram, follow me there for behind the scenes!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 7 questions
  • Denise Holley Fetsch
    Denise Holley Fetsch
    on Feb 13, 2021

    Also interested in the link to the sander. Beautiful project

  • Mary Jo
    Mary Jo
    on Feb 13, 2021

    Thank you for replying so quickly 😃. I’m assuming you use a brush to do this, or does a rag work better? Sorry to be a pest! Your work is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your projects and your expertise! You’re very talented!

    • Amini Design Ashburn
      Amini Design Ashburn
      on Feb 13, 2021

      I'm always happy to answer questions, ask away! I use shop towels for the slip coat and many times when I apply stain as well. Just make sure to wear the right chemical resistant gloves (black ones). I appreciate your kind words, thank you so much.

  • Melissa
    on Feb 16, 2021

    So happy to see that you restored it. I love to see the wood grain its gorgeous. But what happened to the original mirror

Join the conversation

2 of 31 comments
  • Shelley Hooker Ledbetter
    Shelley Hooker Ledbetter
    on Feb 16, 2021

    Thank you! I'm actually having my "She-Shop" built and will be doing a lot of this kind of thing. I also build furniture so looking forward to this. Appreciate the tip!

  • Elaine Nemec
    Elaine Nemec
    on Feb 18, 2021

    Thank you for NOT painting this piece!

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