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How-To Tuesday: Refinish Wood – No Sanding!
How-To Tuesday is a series that incorporates both brand new and newly edited posts from the archives. Enjoy!
Original posts: No Sanding! Refinish Wood with Gel Stain, Reveal and Video
I first discovered this technique while working with affiliate link General Finishes JQ Gel Stain, 1 quart, Java on my son’s mid-century dresser. It was amazing – I refinished the wood drawers without sanding!
This works beautifully under the following conditions:
- The original finish is in good condition.
- The original finish does not have any shiny lacquer or shellac topcoat.
- You want to go slightly darker in stain color and not lighter than the original finish.
Here is a YouTube video on the process.
Here is a closeup of the top before I stained it and you can see quite a bit of red. My customer wanted to tone down the red and create a darker finish against its 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 toned down the 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 cloth. This removed the tiny bit of excess stain that had not adhered. For the sealer, affiliate link General Finishes SH Gel Topcoat, 1/2 pint, 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.