I teased you all a few days ago with a picture of this chest of drawers.
It was a Craigslist find, and I was lucky enough to live right down the street from the seller! When I picked up the chest it was a lot bigger than I was expecting it to be. This thing is a beast! Definitely a guy’s chest, with big, deep drawers.
I knew immediately that I wanted to save the drawer fronts. The burled wood veneer is beautiful and I have become quite passionate about not painting over that stuff! But it was also a yucky orange color and pretty dinged up. I knew the thin veneer wouldn’t withstand a full sanding down to refinish it with another color of traditional stain, so it was time to try out a new product for me–gel stain.
If you’re not familiar with gel stain, it is a different type of stain that you can apply without having to sand down all the way to bare wood. As long as the wood is clean and without a thick laquer or varnish, you can apply the gel stain right on top.
To prep the drawers for the new stain, I did give them a sanding with my orbital sander, but used a fine grit pad and was very light with my pressure. After the orbital, I finish sanded each drawer with a 330 grit sandpaper by hand. When I finished they were smooth as silk! All those dings and dents gone.
I watched a few videos about how to apply gel stain, and there seemed to be some disagreement on brush vs rag . . . Well, I played around with both and ended up applying it with a brush then wiping off the excess with a rag. It worked like a charm.
Oh yeah, I forgot to say that I used General Finishes Gel Stainin the color Java, y’all might want to know that detail.
Overall I was impressed with my first gel stain experience. I only used one coat and it did a beautiful job of changing the wood tone. I think long term though, I will continue to use traditional stain on projects that can withstand a full sanding, mainly because it’s much more affordable.
Anyway . . . don’t you think that color is much better? No more orange!
For the body of the chest I painted on 1 coat of Fusion’s Color Blocker (why Color Blocker? Read more here) and then 3 coats of Fusion Casement. Yes, Casement takes at least 3 coats because it is a pure, bright white (you can read more about issues painting bright white here). I knew I wanted a bright, clean finish though to contrast with the darker drawers, so it was worth all of those extra coats.
After everything dried well, I top-coated the drawers and body with Fusion’s Tough Coat. I wanted the piece to have a higher gloss to go with the sleek, modern style.
What do you think?
I felt like this chest was suffering from a case of Beaten Up and Out of Style . . . Nothing was really wrong with it except it had just gotten old. It is a very nice, sturdy piece and just needed a fresh look to bring it back to life.
One of these days my yellow walls will be gone and I will be able to take some nicer pictures for y’all.
I like the curved foot detail. It’s subtle.
This Modern Refinished Chest is for sale for $299.
After I finished taking these pictures I sat down to drink some coffee, and noticed just how crazy my downstairs gets when it’s time to photograph furniture. I thought you all might like to see the behind-the-scenes shot of what all goes into these stagings!
Not quite as glamorous, huh? I did get a chance to vacuum up a bunch of extra dust from underneath my rug though 🙂 Bonus!
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