Hello all! I just got a great deal on a brand new Queen Headboard at
the Clearance section of a major furniture outlet! Here's a link to
I need help though! The headboard is "Made of cherry hardwoods and
veneers, with a rich chocolate cherry finish." The problem is... I
want to change it to a dark brown "espresso" style finish! I know that
since the finish I want is darker than the existing one that it will
make it easier but I have a few questions.
1. There seems to be a lacquer or shellac over top of the stain. I'm
assuming that I have to remove this before I can even think about
darkening the stain. What do I use?
2. If I can get to the point where I have removed what I mentioned
above... can I just stain right over the cherry finish with a darker
brown stain? I believe the headboard finish is veneer and don't want
to sand if I don't have to.
3. If I get to the point where I have achieved my desired stain
color...what should I use to protect the finish? Lacquer? Any
suggestions including brand names would be greatly appreciated.
Any help from anybody is also greatly appreciated ! I'm a total newbie
at this and want to surprise my fiance' with a beautiful new headboard!
Hate to say it, but I agree. I made and finished my own queen size
mission style white oak bed frame, but I wouldn't take on the project
you described, unless the piece was really "disposable". (i.e. if I
messed up, I could slap on a few thick coats of paint and give it
away). Seriously, even if this was done professionally (which would
almost certainly cost more than you paid for the headboard), I can't
imagine it coming out very well - the veneers are probably VERY thin,
so any sanding would carry the probability of sanding through the
veneer and seriously messing up the look of the piece. Depending on
the style, you might be able to just put new veneer over the top of
the old stuff, and sand/refinish the solid cherry pieces (which are
probably just the trim pieces), but even that would be easy to mess
I'm very sorry to discourage you; I'm usually all for a DIY project.
However, since you seem pretty attached to this headboard, and since
many slight mistakes could cause irreparable cosmetic damage, I'd say
it's probably not worth taking chances unless you're really willing to
take a chance on messing it up. If it was REALLY cheap, maybe you
could buy another one for practice - what dissolves their finish? How
much scraping/sanding/wirebrushing is necessary to remove it? How
does the veneer look after all that? But I wouldn't mess with a total
refinish unless you're willing to lose it.
The only alternative I can think of might be spraying on some sort of
tinted glaze and finishing over that, but that could obscure any
visible wood grain, and you'd need a lot of test pieces that start out
finished exactly like the new headboard - I think it'd be almost
impossible to get a color match right the first time.
To sum up, I'd either:
1.)learn to enjoy the headboard with its current color,
2.) look for a new one in the color you want, or
3.) build your own, which would allow you to play with finishes on
scrap, and re-make or repair any mistakes.
On Apr 12, 2:56 am, email@example.com wrote:
First rule of finishing is that if you don't practice on scrap
you're practicing on your project. So you might want to
pick a s[pot a bit less conspicuous than the headboard to
I suggest wiping it with some denatured alcohol. If that does
not lift the finish, then it will be safe to go over the existing
with shellac. Then try a little shellac on the spot you cleaned.
If it sticks, you're in like Flynn.
The advantage of using shellac on top of the existing finish is
that no matter how bad you mess it up, you can scrub off the
shellac with a cloth and alcohol to get back to the factory finish.
So if those two tests are successful you can get some acohol-
based dyes and use those over the existing finish to get
what you want. There a couple of places that sell those
online, you mix them into the shellac. A less refined
grade of shellac, called button lac, may be the color you
want, it is commonly used on stringed instruments.
Of course you will also have to learn the details of how to
mix and apply shellac.
If shellac lifts the underlying finish then you may still be able
to go over the existing finish with a water-based finish
with water soluble dye in it. Minwax sells these pre-mixed.
The existing finish will have to be roughed up with very fine
sandpaper to give the top coat 'root'. But that will NOT be
easily reversible. If you don't like it or it doesn't work you'll
be stuck stripping, scraping, and.or sanding down to bare
wood--then you refinish it however you like.
Again, it is best to practice on scrap. With a little practice
on scrap, your opinion of the factory finish might improve.
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