Good Questions: Restoring a Wooden Furniture?

Pin it button big

I love reading great responses to AT questions so I thought I'd pose one as I need some advice on restoring these chairs to the AT community. I'm thinking of using these chairs as bedside tables in our master bedroom. The wood is quite raw as you can see. They've been kept outside so the varnish has worn off in places leaving the wood with a gray tinge, especially on the top...

Got a good question you'd like answered? Send your queries and a photo or two illustrating your question, and we'll see if the ATLA team or our readers can help you out.

I would love some advice on the best way to treat the wood - eg what type of varnish, stain, lacquer etc is suitable as I've never restored a timber piece before. Are there any dos and don'ts when restoring timber?

I've only ever painted timber before and I don't think painting these pieces would be a good idea... Open to suggestions on stain colour etc. They will be going in bedroom which has a lot of neutral colours eg whites, taupe with splashes of pale blue and red and a predominantly yellow and red artwork.

Many thanks from Elspeth in Sydney

Elspeth, here's Abby's personal advice about staining a wood piece:


  • Prep the surface by sanding it in the direction of the wood grain. Begin with medium grade sandpaper before switching to fine grade sandpaper.
  • Miniwax suggests using their Water-Based Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner which will help the stain to go on evenly.
  • Sand lightly using fine-grade sandpaper.
  • Apply stain, wiping off excess with a rag wet with a small amount of stain.
  • To deepen the colour, apply a second coat 2 hours later.
  • While Miniwax suggests finishing your project with a clear protective top coat such as their Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish. their Fast-Drying Polyurethane or their Wipe-On Poly, we suggest my dad's trick for a richer look and finish your project with a coat of black wax. This will both accentuate the grain and add a deep, rich patina.

11 Comments