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February 2, 2018

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Furniture Refinishing - 6 steps to a Natural or Raw Wood Finish

 Owning a home decor business has its perks and being able to find beautiful antiques is one of them! I have always loved one of a kind, handmade antique furniture more than modern day mass produced pieces. There is just something special about knowing that one person put some much of themselves into that cabinet or hutch that just sits well with me. 

In my life, I have been fortunate to come across some stunning pieces, some of them I have refinished and some I have painted! Right now I am really digging furniture refinishing in a natural raw wood look on my pieces and I am so happy with how this most recent dresser turned out! Below are the 6 steps to refinish antique furniture to a natural or raw wood finish. Enjoy!

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Steps refinish antique furniture to a natural or raw wood finish

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Furniture BEFORE Refinishing

antique original finish dresser

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Furniture AFTER Refinishing

Steps refinish antique furniture to a natural or raw wood finish

Step by step directions for achieving a raw wood finish

1) Clean the Piece - Nothing crazy, just a quick once over with a damp cloth will do. Unless the piece is in need of more just a quick wipe will do.

2) Paint Stripper if Necessary - As much as I hate this stuff, it really does speed up the refinishing process! The stripper does all the heavy lifting for you and will cut your sanding time down a lot.  I prefer a gel product that you can let sit for 5-10 minutes before scrapping off with a putty knife or blade.

3) Sand the Body of the Piece - I use 60 grit sandpaper with an orbital sander. I think the key is to make sure you are not letting the sand paper get too used or cruddy. It might cost a bit more in sand paper to replace it more ofter but it's totally worth it in your time and elbow grease.

4) Sand the Tricky Areas. - Again, I use 60 grit sandpaper with a mouse sander. This is my favourite sander as it isn't as easy to damage the piece with it and it gets into those corners so much better than an orbital sander can.

Do your best to get the corners clean but I am not super picky if I miss a bit. I feel like you can get away a bit of colour variation if you have an old piece. If you can't remove the Use stripper in the edges if necessary

5) Dust and Clean - Use a stiff bristled brush to dust all the left over sand or dust off and use a damp cloth or rag to wipe the piece down. This is important if you are going to seal the piece with a product

6) Wax or Spray Finish -  Use a polyurethane or clear wax the top of the piece to seal and protect the piece. This may change the colouring of the piece to a slightly darker finish but if you are worried about water damage or any other products damaging the finish then this step is necessary

Steps refinish antique furniture to a natural or raw wood finish

If you are wanting the look but not into the dirty work that comes with it, this Restoration Hardware antique inspired St. James Dresser will give you all the vintage feels. 

Restoration Hardware Antique Inspired Dresser ST. JAMES 3-DRAWER DRESSER

I hope you enjoyed my steps to refinish antique furniture to a natural or raw wood finish. Like painting an antique piece with chalk paint, it can seem like a lot of work but it is so worth it when you have a beautiful timeless piece in the end.

What types of finishes are you into at the moment? Painted, dark stains or natural raw wood?  Would you ever refinish an antique back to a raw wood finish? Leave me a comment in the comments below as I always love hearing what you have to say.

Steps refinish antique furniture to a natural or raw wood finish

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What started out as a duo of Brittany and Deborah has now expanded into a TEAM! 

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Deborah McDOnald


AKA @bvintagestyle

Small town girl living in a 1903 Heritage home she dreamed of as a child.

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Brittany Hislop


AKA @white.farmhouse

Living a simple life in a rural Alberta town and painting her house white as she goes!

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