All You Need to Know About Finishing Unfinished Furniture

There are woodworking enthusiasts who do not have the time to construct their own furniture from scratch with some woodworking project plans; however they do want to add their own personal touch to the furniture they use in their homes. If you are one among them, then we do have a solution for you. You should switch to buying unfinished furniture as it will suit your needs best. It will not only allow you to finish it the way you like, but will also help you in saving quite a sum in the process. There are many stores that specifically deal in unfinished furniture and the best thing about such furniture is that their prices are well below the traditional finished furniture.

So, whether you would like to have a new wardrobe that matches your bed room furniture, or are looking for a toy chest that will match your kid’s room theme, going the unfurnished furniture route would be the best for you. Once you have made up your mind about it, you will want to know how to go about finishing the unfinished furniture, what are the steps involved and everything else that that is important for the process. Well, in that case you are going to find this article really helpful as we are going to discuss exactly all that here. When you start working on an unfinished piece of furniture, you have to begin with the end in mind. You should be able to imagine how you want it to look like and then work towards it. There are a couple of steps involved right from preparing the wood, selecting the finish to applying decorative finishes.

unfinished furniture collection
Unfinished furniture – Great collection.

So, let’s start from the beginning.

Sanding Preparation for Unfinished Furniture:

The very first thing and perhaps the most critical part in finishing a piece of furniture is the sanding step. It is what can differentiate a professional piece of furniture from a mediocre one. For most unfinished furniture, sanding with medium-fine sandpaper is fine. You should prepare the surface with coarse or medium paper first and then move on to finer grades. The process of sanding not only makes the surface smooth, but also frees the surface from dirt and oils. Sanding should always be done in the direction of grains. Many prefer to sand each individual piece before permanently assembling it. If you also like to do it this way, do exercise caution to avoid rounding crisp edges so that you don’t have to deal with gaps when parts of the furniture are finally assembled and glued.

Do make sure that you do not overdo with sanding, as sanding more than necessary will open up the grains in the wood and will make it absorb more stain. End grains however need more sanding as they typically tend to soak up more stains than other surfaces. Sanding well can reduce the absorption of stain. Once you have sanded the unfinished furniture surface, you have to clean it. Any sanding dust that is left on the surface typically looks large in size once a clear finish is applied. The best way to clean the dust is using a tack cloth.

Staining the Unfinished Furniture:

A successful staining is directly proportional to the quality of the sanding job you have done on the unfinished furniture. If the sanding is uneven, then the stain will be uneven too as stain tends to get absorbed more in the area which are less smooth. The color of the stain is also determined by the amount of sanding you do and also depends on the size of the sand paper you use. For example, say you have three pieces of the same wood and you sand each one with a different sand paper. For the first one you use 240 grit, for the second one 320 grit sandpaper and for the last one you use 400 grit sandpaper. Now, if you stain them equally, you will find that the effect of the stain is different on each of them. The 400 grit paper sanded piece will be lighter than the one sanded with 240 grit paper. The more fine the sanding is the less stain will be absorbed, giving it a lighter look. So, if you want a uniform stained look, make sure that you sand it the same way. The type of wood you use also matters. So, make sure that each part of the furniture is made of the same wood. Some wood absorb more stain than others.

unfinished furniture in store
You can always buy unfinished furniture in stores.

Once you have stained your unfinished furniture let it dry for at least 8 hours. If you live in humid conditions, we recommend that you let it dry overnight. If you need a darker shade, then you can stain the furniture twice.

When the stain is done and is completely dry you can apply the first finishing coat – Clearthane. It is applied the same way stain is applied, with a cotton rag. You should let it dry overnight and sand it with a fine sand paper. Wipe off the dust after sanding and apply another finishing coat, let it dry and sand it again. You need to repeat it 2 more times. After the final top coat is applied, do not sand it again. The surface should be smooth and your unfinished furniture is now finally finished and ready to use.

Things you will need for the finishing job:

Before starting with the finishing job, you must gather all the things that are needed in the process. You will need sanding paper of various grit sizes, sanding blocks, brushes, gloves, quality paper towel, lint free absorbent wiping cloth, etc. When you start you finishing work, cover the floor with rag cloths, newspaper or sheets of plastic. It also makes sense to cover the floor area surrounding the project area as it makes it easy to walk around. This will also help you in cleaning the work space quickly after a project is done.

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