3 Steps to Refurbishing an Old Wood Surface

Remember when I shared the refurbished dresser we moved into our kitchen?

Chalk Painted Dresser

I promised to cover how I revived the stained finish on top of this old dresser.   It looks pretty good in this picture, but the up-close-and-personal wasn’t so good at all.

Dresser, Before

When I was a young teen, I spilled a dot of nail polish on it, instantly melting the finish.   Refurbishing a wood surface that’s not in too bad of shape is easy.

Step One:  The Prep

Carefully scrape away any gunk (especially from around the mirror that was removed). Lightly wipe the surface with #0000 steel wool until the top and edges feel smooth to your bare hand.  Wipe down with an old t-shirt or lint-free rag dampened slightly with mineral spirits, and air dry.

Refurbishing Dresser Wood Surface

Step Two:  The Staining

Spread a matched stain over the surface to cover any areas with scratches into the finish.  Wipe any standing stain away with a lint-free cloth and allow to dry overnight.

Spreading Stain

Step Three:  The Finishing, Protective Coats

The next day, apply the same protective coating as your original piece. In my case, I applied polyurethane with a clean brush.

Applying Poly

I used a quick drying poly, and it was completely dry by early afternoon. At least two coats of sealer are recommended.

Allow poly or varnish to dry overnight before applying another coat or placing items on the surface.

Easily Refinish a Stained Wood Surface

Enjoy your new, beautiful wood!

Do you have old wood surfaces that need a little attention?










  1. robin says

    It really looks good…like a totally different piece of furniture.

    Do I have old wood surfaces that need a little attention? No. I have old wood surfaces that need a LOT of attention! ha!

    My husband’s dresser is a hand-me-down, and it not only needs surface help, but some of the drawers stick! I can hear him closing his sock drawer from across the house. hahahaha

    We also have an old china cabinet that has a wood design on the doors…parts of it have cracked and it needs a lot of work there, not to mention re-staining. Then there are the end tables that are downstairs in the family room…accumulations from over the years…all need re-doing.

    My dresser and armoire are from the same maker, same collection…the distressed wood look. BUT when I went to buy the dresser, they no longer made the same color as my armoire! HOW could they do that to me? LOL Discontinuing what I need. Story of my life! ha! So I have a light colored armoire and a black dresser. My goal is to paint the armoire black.

    My son scratched his dresser. I expected that. He is destrcto. LOL He isn’t in our house anymore (Mr. Grown just moved out of my parents’ house!) but the dresser is still here. There are scratches that need fixing. And probably STICKER spots that messed up the thing as well.

    My $20 dining room table…steal of the century….still waiting on me to do “something”. Hey, that is why they make tablecloths! hahahahaha

    They are all on my “I’ll get to it one day” list. LOL

    Today’s project is TAXES. Ugh. And chiropractor. Not any FUN stuff. LOL Oh that ONE spot on my left shoulder/back/neck! Burning like the dickens most of the time! The muscle is so outa whack. I really could use a daily massage….LOL I was like this right after the car accident….then it went away. Then, like when you think you finally got rid of all the places the ants can get in the house….it’s baaaack! hahaha

    • says

      Thank you! Ha! I didn’t mean to bring to mind your many pieces that need attention. But…I know you’ll get it all done – eventually. $20 for a dining table? High five! I hope you got your tax work done today and that your shoulder/back/neck pain is better now. 🙂

      • robin says

        Thrift shop dining table…back in 2001. I remember it like it was yesterday. I saw it and had to have it…so I could feed everybody for the holidays. My ex and I were separated and I begged him to go pick it up with his truck. It was cold and rainy (April) and he needed help. Everybody was busy so all he could get was his ex step brother. The guy has a wooden leg. The 2 of them trying to get that big thing off a slippery truck and into the house….with my tight front doorway/hall …and his wooden leg….yeah it was a sight! LOL He is a good sport and makes jokes about his leg…he has had it a very long time.

        As for taxes…I slacked off. BUT I went to the chiro and he used a great machine on my hurt spot…TENNS…he said when my trap muscle felt like gristle so that is why he used it. I said,”yeah well, gristle is no fun.” and we laughed. I love that guy….he is an awesome chiropractor. I have known him since 1994. He is my age. I love his wife, too. They are good people. I feel so much better now!!! I did manage to stop at Lowe’s for spray glue for upholstery foam, stop at the store for salad for hubby’s lunch, took a nap, did laundry, made inner,ironed about 12 shirts for hubby, crocheted. Not too bad a day.

        • says

          Reminds me of the time we bribed friends to help us move. When the piano came up the front steps and faces were red and strained, I felt really bad! We owed those friends BIG! Now that you feel better, you’ll get those taxes done quickly tomorrow, eh? So glad you’re feeling better. It does sound like you had a wonderful day! I’m glad. 🙂

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