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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there! I've just finished sanding a bedroom set that has been in my family for years. I am not sure what the wood type is but I am assuming someone here may be able to tell by the photos I'm attaching. I would love any advice/feedback for a first-time stainer on the best method to finish these pieces (There is another dresser not pictured). I'd like to go with a light stain because I really like the natural look they have now but do want to add a LITTLE depth to them. I would like a good protective finish as well. I've been reading about poly/stains in one (not hearing good things) and I've read that poly can be difficult to use. So, I'm a little nervous. I don't care for spray paint methods and would prefer a wipe on/wipe off or brush method. All tips and advice are greatly appreciated!
 

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From the looks of the wood it appears to be Maple. I would use a conditioner first. Then, you could use a 50/50 mix of boiled linseed oil and mineral spirits as a wipe on and wipe off. That will bring some life to the color and grain. You could then just use a wiping varnish, which is just a thinned version of an oil base varnish or oil base polyurethane and mineral spirits.











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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you!

Cabinetman - thank you for the help! I had asked my mom if she remembered what these were and she said she thought they were either maple or oak so you're probably onto something there. I do know they are porous. My ex-husband had sanded them once before and stained them and they took in the stain very quickly and evenly. He never did a protective coat over them, though, and they've just felt dry and "flat" all these years later. Fortunately, they are still in terrific shape and I am hoping to bring a little life to them and keep them protected for many years to come. If I tackle this project successfully, I am going to reward (punish) myself with the daunting task of sanding and refinishing an old wooden rocking chair next. :huh:
 

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Cabinetman - thank you for the help! I had asked my mom if she remembered what these were and she said she thought they were either maple or oak so you're probably onto something there. I do know they are porous. My ex-husband had sanded them once before and stained them and they took in the stain very quickly and evenly. He never did a protective coat over them, though, and they've just felt dry and "flat" all these years later. Fortunately, they are still in terrific shape and I am hoping to bring a little life to them and keep them protected for many years to come. If I tackle this project successfully, I am going to reward (punish) myself with the daunting task of sanding and refinishing an old wooden rocking chair next. :huh:
Could you post a better picture of the top. The angle of your photo didn't provide a good look. If it is Oak, it would not need any conditioner.






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The dresser in the second picture really looks like maple. If you are going to use a stain then a wood conditioner is recommended so the color doesn't go blotchy. If you wish to use a oil based wipe on polyurethane you should know that over time the finish will yellow. It probably will take many years to do so but it's one of the aspects of an oil based finish. It doesn't show up on medium to dark stained woods but does on natural or lightly stained woods. A water based wipe on poly will remain clear but isn't completely compatable with products containing linseed oil. It's best to wait several days for the oil stain to dry or use a dewaxed shellac as a barrier coat. Zinsser Sealcoat would work for this purpose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Thanks, Steve

I am going to take a couple more pictures tonight. There were originally two dressers, two night stands and a mirror to this set. They had an "orangey" hue stain to them originally. Since, they've been painted green, black (and lacquered), and another stain with blue drawers. There are only three pieces left: the tall dresser, the short dresser and the nightstand. So, the piece in the second picture is the same wood as the piece in the first. My mother thought they were either maple or oak. My aunt, who gave my mom the set back in the late 70's thought they were pine. So, it's a mystery for sure! Hopefully by taking some more pics tonight, we can get a better idea. It sound as though knowing what the wood type is determines the best course of action in finishing them.

By the way - I'm not opposed to NOT staining them and just finishing them as is. I am looking for the best way to finish them that will capture their natural beauty. I really love the way they look right now - they're beautiful! - but definitely want to seal them. I am simply not good with anything in a spray can.
 

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I am going to take a couple more pictures tonight. There were originally two dressers, two night stands and a mirror to this set. They had an "orangey" hue stain to them originally. Since, they've been painted green, black (and lacquered), and another stain with blue drawers. There are only three pieces left: the tall dresser, the short dresser and the nightstand. So, the piece in the second picture is the same wood as the piece in the first. My mother thought they were either maple or oak. My aunt, who gave my mom the set back in the late 70's thought they were pine. So, it's a mystery for sure! Hopefully by taking some more pics tonight, we can get a better idea. It sound as though knowing what the wood type is determines the best course of action in finishing them.

By the way - I'm not opposed to NOT staining them and just finishing them as is. I am looking for the best way to finish them that will capture their natural beauty. I really love the way they look right now - they're beautiful! - but definitely want to seal them. I am simply not good with anything in a spray can.
As much as you are doing I would try to get a compressor and sprayer. It would make the job much easier and better. It doesn't have to be top of the line for wood finishes. I see used compressors on craigslist almost every day for about 100 bucks that you could spray anything with. Then for a sprayer I use a harbor freight #97855 which I get with a 20% off coupon for about 25 bucks.
 

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It sound as though knowing what the wood type is determines the best course of action in finishing them.
That's true.

By the way - I'm not opposed to NOT staining them and just finishing them as is. I am looking for the best way to finish them that will capture their natural beauty. I really love the way they look right now - they're beautiful! - but definitely want to seal them. I am simply not good with anything in a spray can.
With whatever experience you have, a wipe on finish will be the easiest to apply, and you don't have to buy any equipment that you may not ever use later.







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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
More photos

Here are a few more photos that may help in identifying the wood. I'm not sure I'll make a hobby of woodworking/refinishing so I don't know about getting a compressor. However, if this project goes well for me, I may try out some more! (The more yellow photo is with the flash on.)
 

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Here are a few more photos that may help in identifying the wood. I'm not sure I'll make a hobby of woodworking/refinishing so I don't know about getting a compressor. However, if this project goes well for me, I may try out some more! (The more yellow photo is with the flash on.)
It's Maple.:yes:






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Not take up woodworking as a hobby huh. Better stop now, it's infectious. :laughing:

The wood is maple. From what I can see the drawer boxes look like they might need regluing. It's better to do it now while you are refurbishing the pieces rather than later. You can gently bump the joints apart with a rubber mallet and work glue into the dovetails and knock the side back on. Just be sure to wipe the excess glue off with a damp cloth. If it makes it any easier you could put a couple small finishing nails in the joint to hold it together until the glue dries.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Will do, Steve!

Hi Steve,

I must say: I'm excited to see how these pieces turn out this weekend - I really hope I don't mess them up. If they turn out good, I will likely venture into it some more. I do have a rocking chair begging for a finish but I've read many nightmares of others with more experience trying to sand those suckers down with all of their curly edges. I also have a 16 year old daughter who thoroughly enjoyed sanding these pieces down with me and she's already asking to buy used furniture on craigslist and at local flea markets for refinishing for her room. :laughing:

Anyway - yes, I do have some repairing to do. I have one side of a drawer that comes completely off. I've already purchased the wood glue. I also have a small broken piece on the bottom of the other dresser (not pictured) to glue together. Also, my brother suggested some wood bondo/putty (?) as the side of the dressers you can clearly tell are individual planks and there's some separation between the planks on the bottom of one side of one of the dressers.

I'll be sure to post some after pics when I get this project done!
 

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Normally when you refinish something the damage it has is in the finish. If you have something that is really busy it's best to spend the time and get is stripped really clean and not do too much sanding on it. If you sand it real clean on places that are easy to get to then you get stuck with having to sand it that good on hard to reach places but I'm normally told to finish the same color as it was to begin with. If you are going lighter then it needs extra sanding.

I don't know about the wood bondo. I've seen it but haven't used it. If it's anything like auto bondo it won't stain. I use the auto bondo however I color it with tinting color when I'm mixing it. If you try the wood bondo, try some on a piece of scrap wood and see if it takes a stain. I normally use wood putty like Famowood to fill cracks with.
 

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As much as you are doing I would try to get a compressor and sprayer. It would make the job much easier and better. It doesn't have to be top of the line for wood finishes. I see used compressors on craigslist almost every day for about 100 bucks that you could spray anything with. Then for a sprayer I use a harbor freight #97855 which I get with a 20% off coupon for about 25 bucks.

THIS


is great advice in my opinion...


:yes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Buying a home

I'll definitely take this into consideration if I feel I am going to go further into this hobby. For now, though, I am waiting for my new home to close and it's sucking up all of my extra money. (It is also what motivated me to FINALLY get these dressers redone.) My brother probably has an air compressor, though. I may check with him. :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Had to share

Hi guys, you've been so helpful and I am impressed in your ability to look at wood and identify it so I had to share a discovery with you. I somehow managed to never notice this imprint in one of my husband's dresser drawers. This set was made by the Colchester Group (who I just Googled - see link below) and you can still see parts of the word "Maple". I have to say: it's kind of neat to find a little piece of history on my furniture! :thumbsup:

http://forum.furninfo.com/Topics/36393
 

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