Refinishing a Dresser

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Blog entry by ShaunMeighan posted 06-13-2016 10:53 PM 1301 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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Hello everyone!

As I have declared myself the designated woodworker in my household, I am getting all sorts of home improvement jobs. Today, my parents asked me to refinish the tops of their bedside dressers. I thought I would talk through what I do to refinish things, and maybe you guys could learn something and/or offer some tips!

While the main body of the dressers is generally alright, the top surfaces are in rough shape. Glasses of water and cups of coffee have taken their toll on the old varnish and aftershave has removed various spots as well.
Taking the time to evaluate what needs to be done reduces the chance of you having to fix something else later that you didn’t notice.

To tear through the bulk of the old varnish, I used a 60 grit paper on my detail sander. This coarse paper really speeds up the work.

Following this, I used 80 and 120 grit on the sander, and then I hand sanded with a 240 grit paper to get everything nice and smooth.

The varnish I used was an antique pine varnish. I used this so that the colour of the top would match the rest of the dresser. I applied it with a soft brush, going with the grain, then I left it to dry for an hour.

After the 1st coat has dried, I lightly sand the surface with a 240 grit paper, to make the surface extremely smooth. Then I apply a second and third coat in the same way.

That’s it! I’m really happy with how this top turned out, and so are my parents!

I hope you guys learned something, if you have any tips or tricks, I would love to hear them!

Have a great day!

-- It's not about the tools, but the intention

2 comments so far

View tomd's profile


2216 posts in 4372 days

#1 posted 06-14-2016 03:33 AM

My experience with refinishing bedroom furniture and other furniture with wood tops is if they have been used for awhile at sometime someone has most likely used furniture polish on them that contained silicone. So now I routinely after sanding and staining I give it a coat of shellac to seal the silicone off, then finish with any finish you desire.

-- Tom D

View Mean_Dean's profile


7016 posts in 3749 days

#2 posted 06-15-2016 11:56 PM

Great video!

I’ve found with refinishing, that’s it’s better to sand a flat surface (especially a tabletop) than to strip it. Goes much faster, and a heck of a lot less mess!

Of course, on curved or other ornate surfaces you have no choice but to use stripper…......

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

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