Ah, the Duncan Phyfe Dining Table is done! Today I’m sharing No Sanding! How to Refinish Wood with General Finishes Gel Stain plus video tutorial. Basically, how I was able to refinish the top without actually sanding it back. The original top was worn but otherwise in pretty good condition and it didn’t have any shiny lacquer or shellac finish. Since the table only needed a little bit of shoring up (I used glue to clamp down the veneer in places along the underside) and we wanted to go darker in color, it was the perfect candidate for the No Sanding Needed application of General Finishes Gel Stain. Yup – no sanding needed!
Here is a closeup of the top before I stained it and you can see quite a bit of red. This needed to be toned down in order for it to coordinate better with the new house’s kitchen cabinets. Plus, we wanted the top to play off better against the newly painted white legs.
After cleaning and removing any dirt, I applied the first coat of the gel stain. I used General Finishes Java as it is a dark color that creates a deeper hue and tones down any red. Using a soft cloth, I dipped it into the stain and wiped it onto the top going in the direction of the grain. I allowed that to sit for a day or two and then applied the second coat. Again, I let that sit.
I came back and gently went over the top with a soft paper towel. This removed the tiny bit of excess stain that had not adhered. For the sealer, General Finishes Gel Topcoat Wipe-On Urethane in satin was the perfect option. I used a staining sponge and liberally applied the urethane onto the sponge. I then wiped it along the grain, making sure to keep a smooth and even coat. It was the perfect finishing touch. It gives the top some sheen and finish plus a durable finish.
Here is the table top now! Depending on the light it plays darker or lighter but believe me, the finish is lovely. The red is now muted and pretty in the background. Love it!
I used the same technique on my son’s Mid-Century Modern Dresser. Here is a YouTube video on the process (minus the urethane sealer). I always love more YouTube subscribers so when done, please pop on over to my channel, at Suzanne Bagheri and subscribe – cheers!
What a change to that lovely table top. I am getting ready to do an antique bureau and mirror and I plan on doing it with General Finishes gel stain and paint some area also. Thank you for the inspiration. Cyn
Once again I have found inspiration. I have a very nice small antique table with barley twist legs that I plan to use in a small breakfast area. I truly love this little table (which is in great shape) but the only drawback I have found is the color. The wood is currently a lighter tone and I wanted a richer deeper color. I have had this table on hold because I figured I would have to completely strip and refinish to get the look I wanted. Then as luck would have it ( which seems to be happening more and more) your blog has featured a stain method that is simple yet changes the color and looks simply beautiful. This is a perfection solution to my problem!!!
Thanks again for coming to my rescue!!!
Vicki @ EntriWays
Beautiful table. Are you applying the gel stain over an original clear coat? Looks like there may have been a matte clear on there. What if the table had a satin or gloss poly?
Hi Vicki, the top didn’t have any finish. Any previous finish was worn, without any sheen to it at all. This made it the perfect candidate for this technique. I wouldn’t attempt it over a shiny shellac or lacquer as it likely wouldn’t adhere very well. Although, I will try and see what happens and post an update!
Looks Nice! You do beautiful work.
Can you tell me what you use to ‘clean’ wood items? My kitchen cabinets are 30+years old….solid wood and they are in good shape but without knobs the corners are in rough shape, where we have worn off the stain as well as accumulated gunk!
I want to really clean them, sand if necessary and then try to find a matching stain…most cleaners I have used just don’t do the trick….murphys oil soap was one that I used along with ‘something’ I found on pinterest using baking soda and I cannot remember the other ingredient….. Any advice is welcome.
Hi Marty, TSP is a good cleaner for kitchen cabinets. It should do the trick!
Re-Design In A Day
Hi Suzanne, I just received a drop leaf table that needs some love. The top is painted white (chalk paint) and the base is the original maple. Thanks to your post, I am going to stain the entire piece, then paint the legs white. Thanks for inspiration!!
Hi Nicole, Anytime! Sounds like an interesting project you are about to work on! I hope to see it 🙂
I have a question. I refinished my mother’s Duncan Phyfe drop leaf table many years ago using a water based topcoat. It has come off in several areas. How much sanding would I have to do to use the gel stain?
Hi Linda, If it is patchy, you will need to sand it back to the point where the old finish is off before you apply a new stain or topcoat. Basically, whatever you have will show through to the new. Sounds like you need to get the old off before applying the new – sorry!
Marie, The Interior Frugalista
When I think about how much work and time I spent sanding my Duncan Phyfe Dining Table before applying a dark stain, this makes me want to cry! I MUST make the trek to my supplier and try GF once and for all. I’m beyond curious about this product. Your table looks stunning Suzanne??
Fantastic achievement Suzanne! I’m working on a pedestal round pine table. The pedastal is finished now,(ASCP) but my question is this; do I wax the sanded top or clear varnish? Had to sand the top as it had loads (and I mean LOADS) of scratches and gouges on it. Any advice would be welcome. Thank you! X
I have a 1948 Duncan Phyfe laire table that has veener missing in one spot. I love the idea of it being white washed or gel stained. Do I need to remove all the veneer to do this? I love your blog. Thank you for all your information.
So glad to help!