Re-staining & finishing oak dresser - what finish is it now?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by n8jarrell posted 01-31-2012 09:39 PM 1769 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View n8jarrell's profile


2 posts in 2548 days

01-31-2012 09:39 PM

Hi everybody,

I’ve been lurking for a few months as I designed and built my first project with my dad, an oak platform bed.

Unfinished Bed

Finished Bed

It turned out great, but the jacobean stain doesn’t match the dresser at all (you can see the end of it in the 2nd pic) which is a really light color. I want to re-stain and finish the dresser instead of building a new one.

I still get really confused about laquer/varnish and other types of finishes so I’m not sure what to use to remove the old finish. What I can tell you is that my wife spilled a little bit of nail polish remover on the dresser top once (acetone) and when she wiped it off it wiped the finish right off too. What does that tell me about the type of finish and what should I use to remove it? Keep in mind I want to remove any stain as well.

Thanks in advance,


3 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


17802 posts in 3247 days

#1 posted 01-31-2012 09:49 PM

The most typical clean up materials are water or mineral spirits. Id tend to guess that its an oil based finish so test out some mineral spirits on the dresser, that should remove the finish for you. The other way that i would go is using card scrapers to scrape the finish off or you can use acetone just like the wife.

Id go with card scraper personally so it wont interfere with any new finish you’re going to use.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View n8jarrell's profile


2 posts in 2548 days

#2 posted 01-31-2012 11:23 PM

Water? Really? I considered acetone, but wasn’t sure if it would remove stain and finish or just finish. Also not sure if acetone would have any undesirable effects when it comes to applying the new stain & finish.

View boatworkstoday's profile


20 posts in 2551 days

#3 posted 02-01-2012 03:13 AM

If it were me trying to match the finish of the bed, I’d strip the dresser down to bare wood and re-stain and finish identical to the bed. Quickest way to strip finish is a heat gun and scraper. OR, chemical strippers work as well, but personally I’d only use water based stuff (aquastrip). The new water based stuff has come along way and works quite well (albeit a little messy).. I don’t see the need to use the caustic stuff anymore. Plus the smell of the “traditional strippers” is terrible. My same thought goes towards acetone; acetone will soften ANY finish, but it evaporates very quickly and has a very strong smell.

When the finished is removed, then time to break out the sandpaper :-) No way around it, re-finishing involves a lot of sanding!

Beautiful job on the bed BTW :-)

-- Andy Miller,; Twitter:@BoatworksToday

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics