A few years ago I made an oak dresser to match some existing furniture in
the bedroom. The furniture is now replaced by new furniture with a darker
cherry finish. When I did the oak dresser I put on some stain to match the
old furniture and two coats of poly. I would like to refinish the dresser I
made but it will be very hard to sand off the poly due to the shape of the
drawers (not simple flat surfaces). Do I have any choices or must I get that
poly off? I would like to put on a dye to cover up the oak grain as best I
can but I doubt I can just put that down on poly. Any ideas would be greatly
It won't be that bad getting thru the poly, you can get rubber blocks
for sanding the profiles, such as these:
Cut a strip of 60 grit equal to the length of the block, wrap it
around starting at one end of the strip. Then you just shift the
paper over a bit frequently. Inside corners are the only real
Be a lot more fun to make a new one though.
Use a good quality paint remover, follow instructions on container. Use
various scrapers, fine brass brushes etc. to get into the difficult areas.
Wipe everything down with Laquer Thinner, and then wipe down with a mild
solution of liquid dish soap and water, followed by a clear rinse. Sand as
needed and then stain.
If you have used any product like Pledge or something similar, it has left a
coating on the surface which make applying any type of oil stain, polyshade
etc.almost impossible and you need to take it down to the wood.
"Toning" is a finishing technique where you spray a dye or pigment
stain over a film finish, to adjust the color. You then put another
coat of finish over the color layer. Spraying is recommended to get
even results. You can get fine control over the color because the wood
is already sealed.
If I was going to attempt it, I would put alcohol based dye in dewaxed
pale shellac and spray it over what you have now, followed by another
coat of poly. You can add the shellac in thin coats until you get
where you want to go.
On the other hand, pigment based stains will mask the grain more than
dye will. I'd put a washcoat of dewaxed shellac first before putting
the color layer on, to get good adhesion, and another before putting
the poly on.
Regardless of the approach I'd try to make up some sample boards
first, finished the same as the original finish, then try adding the
Thanks for your detailed posting Jim. I especially like the idea of
making up some sample boards before I commit myself to the actual
dresser. I like even more the thought of not having to sand that poly
off given the shape of the drawer fronts.
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