To finish unfinished wood furniture, remove the hardware on the piece, and sand the wood with coarse sandpaper followed by fine-grit sandpaper. Clean the piece to remove any dust, and apply wood conditioner if the wood is soft or porous, or when using a water-based stain. To paint the furnishing, apply primer, let the primer dry, and apply two coats of paint. When staining the wood, apply the desired stain, allow the stain to dry, and apply clear topcoat.
Sand the furnishing with the grain of the wood to produce a smooth finish. If knots are present in the wood, sand them so they are even with the surrounding area. To determine whether the stain is the desired color for the wood, apply the stain to a hidden area. Allow the stain to dry to check the final color.
When painting wood furnishings, allow the primer to dry for a minimum of one hour before painting the piece, and allow the first coat of paint to dry for at least two hours before applying the second coat.
After applying the clear topcoat, hold the paintbrush at a 45-degree angle, and lightly brush the surface of the furnishing to remove brush marks and bubbles. Replace the hardware after the topcoat is dry.