Refinishing Wood Furniture Like a Pro

Andrea Palmai
by Andrea Palmai
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

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

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

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

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.

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

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....

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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3 of 5 questions
  • Lorinda Wichman Lorinda Wichman on Oct 29, 2019

    Have a piece I am starting soon but I bought Tung Oil. Is there a reason you chose Linseed instead of Tung? I'm looking for the cautions you may offer.

  • Deb Deb on Nov 13, 2019

    I to am a beautiful wood nerd. Love grains. Great job

  • Linda Linda on Jul 22, 2020

    That turned out gorgeous!!

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2 of 45 comments
  • Spanky Spanky on Jul 23, 2020

    Love it and so happy you didn't paint it. Don't think I would have liked it as much if you had painted it. Great job!!

  • Gail Gail on Jul 23, 2020

    Love the little X's in the corners......