How do you refinish an antique oak dresser?


Quick Answer

An old weathered or painted antique oak dresser can be easily restored with a commercial stripper, sandpaper, rags and stain in a day or less. With a variety of stain colors to choose from, almost any antique piece can be restored and updated to fit into a variety of decors.

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How do you refinish an antique oak dresser?
Credit: David Costa CC-BY 2.0

Full Answer

  1. Remove old finish or paint

    Apply a commercial paint or stain stripper to the entire surface of the antique dresser. Saturate the wood with the stripper, and collect the run-off in an old pan or bucket. If the dresser is painted, scrape the paint away after using the paint stripper.

  2. Sand surface smooth

    After stripping the old paint or stain, sand the surface of the dresser smooth. The process of stripping the paint will leave the wood rough and raised, so sanding it thoroughly is necessary to ensure a quality finished product. Start with heavy-grit sandpaper, and steadily move to finer grits.

  3. Apply new stain

    Select a stain color that fits well with your decor, and apply it to the entire surface of the dresser. Be sure to cover the entire dresser, as the stain not only enhances the appearance of your antique, but it also protects it. During the staining process, use an even coat of stain to avoid drips.

  4. Smooth and buff the cured surface

    Wait for the stain to fully cure according to the instructions on the labeling. Go back over the surface of the dresser with fine steel wool for a smooth finish.

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