Thursday 21 February 2013

How To: Re-tint and varnish antique wooden furniture?

This post is aptly titled 'How To: Re-tint and varnish antique wooden furniture' because that's exactly what I'm wondering! How do I RE-tint and varnish this piece of furniture?

Why do I do this to myself all the time? My husband thinks I am a sucker for punishment! And I kind of agree. It would be so much easier to go to a store and buy what I like, love and want! And also if money grew on trees! But I do what I do because I love that warm fuzzy feeling of seeing a difficult project through, witness a transformation no matter how challenging and feel that sense of accomplishment that is second to none!  

Do you know what I mean…? I'm sure you do otherwise you wouldn't be reading this post right now!

Well, here's the story…

Last weekend, we went for a drive. And I spotted an antique store on Mt Alexander Road. I went into the store to just browse and window shop and came back with a beautiful antique art deco chest of drawers. Heheeehee!
Safe to say that my husband will be avoiding that road for a very long time!

I love the style of the dresser. (The drawers are currently stored in the garage) It's made of solid wood and very heavy. But it's an ugly dark pinkish mahogany tinted colour! I tried sanding it but the pinkish stain is just not coming off! 

I want to paint it a beautiful aged dark walnut colour and replace the wooden knobs with bronze or black antique drawer pulls. Well, that's the challenge!

 I'm losing sleep thinking of how to get rid of the Mahogany magenta stain and varnish! Any pointers anyone?

I'm surprised it looks quite okay in the pictures. In reality it looks really BAD! 
This weekend, it's back to the drawing board with a foreseeable visit to Bunnings, our Australian hardware store for some heavy duty tint/varnish remover! 

Hopefully, I'll be back soon with a progress report. 
I'm going to get there eventually! Sigh! 

Want to see how the dresser turned out? 

Thanks so much for stopping by!


  1. I wish I could help, but my last post is on a painting disaster I just had, so I am learning myself. Do you have to use some sort of solvent? I am looking forward to seeing the end result! You'll do a great job and love it eventually!

    1. Thanks Karen! You have helped. Its comforting to know that I am not the only one with the disasters! Though I might need to do a post on DIY bloopers are well. I have so many I could probably fill a book. But its all about trial and error isn't it? Well if I solve my problem, I'll let you know. xx

  2. Hi Rani
    The rose coloured stain has probably penetrated the timber so removing it completely would be a massive job. I would try a paint stripper first to remove the glossy overcoat, then I would sand thoroughly and finish by applying a walnut stain mixed in with some danish oil. The stain will probably help mask the red tones and the danish oil provides a natural protective coat (and is super easy to apply).
    Good luck!

    1. Hi Kristine
      I'm shaking in my boots thinking about the mammoth task ahead. You're right the stain has penetrated the timber and it's not coming off with just sanding. I'll get a paint stripper as you suggested and then just paint the dark walnut stain over it. But I'm a bit worried that the dark rose colour will still show through or worse, the entire dresser will become one big odd coloured disaster! Thanks for your help. Will let you know how I go…

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