Absolute NOVICE needs paint or stain advice

oofasisMay 11, 2008

I have several oak bookcases I'd like to paint or stain a deep black/brown. There was never a sheen on the finish -- you probably know the look, typical 1980s bland oak.

Is my best bet to paint or to stain? I've never done anything like this before, I work fulltime with sporadic weekend hours to do this, and the only place I have to work is in the garage (meaning one of the cars will have to sit outside for the duration of the project). What would you recommend? Thanks so much!

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Are you trying to preserve the wood grain look? Is it real wood or particle board with fake wood laminate? A picture would be great.

Paint: spray equipment will make the job look a lot better w/o brush or roller marks. Putty and sand all the knots and other minor nicks. Putty and sand again after the first coat dries. Wait a week before installation for the paint to cure.

Stain: wipe the stain on and let dry thoroughly. Get some Deft brushing lacquer and brush (or spray) several light coats. Sand lightly with 220 grit between coats. Wait a week before installation for the lacquer to cure.

Varnish: is an oil stain with resins that harden into the surface of wood. Wipe on several coats. Let dry for a day between each coat. Sand lightly between coats to remove burs. After the final coat is completely dry a few days and not at all tacky, rub with #0000 super fine steel wool and then buff with a soft rag. Ready to install.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 6:26PM
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The bookcases are real oak, not particle board or laminate. I don't really want to preserve the wood grain look.

Thanks for your answers. I think I'll try staining. I looked up the Deft info and think (hope!) I'm up to the challenge.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 12:51AM
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Strip the old finish first. Use the harsh chemicals. No environmentally friendly product works. Sand the wood smooth. Ready to stain. Use Minwax or Watco. Wipe off excess that doesn't soak into the wood, before it dries. Wait a day before lacquer. Deft is the easiest lacquer product to use. They also have aerosol cans of Deft. Get a few of those for the final coat, after you have brushed on at least 3 light coats. Remember to sand lightly between. You will be really impressed with your results.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 1:07AM
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