|Like many of us, I am not the best woodworker. However, I still like the idea of making my own furniture. I just do have the finances to outfit a home workshop like the ones you see on television. I can, however, apply stains and finishes. Staining and Finishing only requires some basic tools and experience. Plus, if I totally mess up a piece of furniture when finishing it, all I have to do is to remove the finish and start all over again.|
Some of the basic tools you'll need are: sandpaper in various grits, some good paintbrushes, rags, and a ton of patience. If you have an electric sander, that speeds up the sanding process but isn't required. I use a small orbital sander that both vibrates and swirls for a smooth finish.
In my town, there are a couple of stores that sell furniture for just these types of projects. They are usually called "unfinished furniture" or "raw furniture" stores. They typically have a good selection of furniture in pine, oak, and other species of wood. You'll usually find a good selection of furniture ranging from simple bookcases, armoires, coffee tables, all the way up to complete dining room sets.
With a raw or unfinished piece of furniture, one of the toughest decisions is how to finish it. Again, you will have several choices. You could simply paint it a color to match your décor. Or, you could stain and finish it with a clear top-coat. And with stains, you have a myriad of choices. You could stain it a natural-looking wood color, or you could stain it a more vibrant color like red or purple! The main difference between staining and painting is that paint is opaque and cover the wood surface. Stains are transparent and let the beauty of the natural grain show through.
Your top-coat, or clear-coat on top of the stain can be either flat, semi-gloss, or shiny. The new water-based polyurethane finishes are easy to apply, quick to dry, and a snap to clean-up. And there aren't a lot of nasty fumes with them.
Popular options right now are hand-painted finishes. You can paint your unfinished furniture to look like a charming folk piece or something from a French country cottage. And if you are up to the challenge, you can apply a faux finish with paint to your unfinished furniture to make it look like anything from stone to steel!
The most important thing to remember when you are finishing your own furniture, is to have fun, take your time, and don't worry if it doesn't turn out exactly as planned. Sometimes the best looking pieces are not the ones you started out trying to create!
About the Author
Dean Novosat is an avid do-it-yourselfer and remodeler. He has been refinishing and building furniture for twenty years. He has several websites including Raw Unfinished Furniture and Hand Made Furnishings .