How to Fix the Finish on a Wood Dresser

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Fixing the finish on a wooden dresser is a great way to breath new life into an old piece. Find out how to fix the finish on a wood dresser with help from a 46-year-old master precision craftsman in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Furniture Repair Tips
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Hi, I'm Todd Languell, The Flying Furniture Guy from R and D Wood Shop in Scotia, New York. Today, I'm going to show you how to fix the finish on a wood dresser. O.k., you can see this dresser, this was picked up on the side of the road. But there's nothing really, too far gone with it, it needed a little bit of veneer repair. Now, you can see that there's some damage along this, right through there. And if it's not covered in the stripping process, you're going to use a pace stripper on the top of this. And it'll take off all of the finish that's on there. After you take off the finish, you can lightly sand it. And if there's any veneer repairs, and they're typically right along the edge, like, o.k., like that one right there. You can see that right there, the veneer's let loose right there. And I can throw this right down, inside there. So, at this point, what I would do is, I would take some glue and throw some glue down, inside there. And then, go ahead and clamp it at that time. After you get all the rest of the veneer repaired on it, you're going to go ahead and sand it with a 120 grit sandpaper, all the way down and back across. And those areas that have a little bit of extra damage on it, you can give it a little bit more of a focus. They might or might not come out. Now, if they come out great, but you have to remember not to sand too far. The veneer is very, very thin, you're probably looking at the thickness of three to four, maybe five pieces of paper, at the most. So, if it doesn't come all the way out, you can go ahead and address those areas during the staining process. Because this dresser is going to need to be stained. You can feather the stain, over the top of this to cover the blemishes. So, you don't see those blemishes as much. After the staining process, oh, here's another long scratch. Now, what I tell people, when you have scratches like this on the furniture, you can go as far as you can. But then, you can only go so far, because the veneer is so thin. What I like to tell people, if you wanted a brand new piece of furniture, you'd go brand, you'd go buy a brand new piece of furniture. This is an antique, it's going to have some damages on it. So, working with the damages to make it nicer. So, after you give it a good sanding, taking care of all the scratches that you can take care of. You will use any type of stain that you want. You can use a gel stain on this, you can use Zar or Minwax stains on this. You'll stain it appropriately, following the directions and then, you can put polyurethane over the top of it. And that'll fix the finish that's on this. You can use a semi-gloss, excuse me, or a gloss,satin, any type of finish that you want over the top of this. You can use a spray can or you can use rag to apply this polyurethane finish over the top of this. I'm Todd Languell, The Flying Furniture Guy, and this was how to fix the finish on a wood dresser.

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