re finishing furniture piece

radhaksOctober 21, 2012

I've purchased a Mersman 8170 side table. It was badly finished so I completely sanded it down to the raw wood (and in some places raw veneer, I think). I love the color of the piece, but I do want to give it a protective coating that is clear and prefer not to actually stain or give a poly coating. I figure oil or wax is the trick, but which kind is best - colorless and also doesnt give a "wet look" so much? I have another piece of furniture that has that natural wood look but it def has a protective finish of some type- just dont know what.

Any advice is appreciated. I know little to nothing about woodworking but am thoroughly enjoying this experience and excited to have this piece be finished to my expectations!!

Thanks in advance!

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An oil finish will darken the piece, wax can work but would have to be reapplied every few months, and would not give you any protection.

I would look at a waterbased finish in a satin or matte sheen

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 4:38PM
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A clear laquer or shellac might work.

But anything you do will slightly change the color. Test it on an inconspicuous part before you do the whole piece.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 8:43AM
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Thank you for the feedback! I have purchased some wax and will try that out first...maybe will need to use some water-based finished in matte sheen after all - if the wax alone doesnt prove sufficient.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 11:33AM
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If you use wax first you will have to remove it completely (not an easy task) before applying a water-based finish. Better to test other finishes first and use them if you like, going over wax can pe a pain. If you don't like polyurethane (which can be made to look quite nice if you rub it out with 0000 steel wool or pumice/rottenstone and then wax) I'd second the recommendation for shellac. Wax alone will give no protection to water stains, shellac only a little.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 2:12PM
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Thank you rwiegand. after posting my original response, I was wondering re applying other finishes after wax, if I dont like the wax or feel i need more protection for the side table. I will try your suggestion...on a small part of the table so i can check the effect. thanks again!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 9:27PM
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Also remember if you do the whole piece or pieces the same way, they will look good. If you do only the tops then you notice the difference where finishes are applied.

Also I have done the pumice/rottenstone and linseed oil with rag and used very fine steel wool also as a way to dull down shellac and lacquer and love the patina, not a sheen, but a glow, with diffused refraction of light. A soft glow is so much better than no finish at all (poly looks plastic to me). With no finish the wood will dry out in our A/C and heated environments. At least covered wood looks great longer and has protection.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 2:13PM
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