Monday, September 22, 2014

How to Strip and Stain a Wood Table Top - Part 2 of 2 (Step by Step)

Hello Dear Readers,

If you didn't read "HOW TO STRIP A WOOD TABLE TOP" click HERE to read all about it.

When staining wood, missing a step could cost you more work.  It has happened to me on a number of occasions and was able to document it. It all happened when I was getting ahead of myself and remembered I had not used the Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner.  It was too late.  I had already applied the the first coat of stain.  At first, I kinda liked the watercolor effect it gave it but it just wasn't good work.

I re-sanded the drawer fronts to make it ready for the Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner & this is what it looked like after adding the conditioner.  Beautiful!
Although the entire dresser was Maple wood, the drawer fronts had a wood veneer and its grain was speckled and grainy.  Without the Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner the stain would have settled inside the grainy grain of the wood wherever it wanted.

Close up of the grainy wood veneer.

Stain settled in smoothly, consistently, & beautifully!

So now that I got that out the way,

Let's Stain!!:

FIRST - To ensure a smooth and even finish the wood should be conditioned.  I used Miniwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner.

  • Sand the wood starting with 120 grit and work up to 220 grit until smoooth!
  • Apply pre-stain wood conditioner on clean, dry, raw wood, using a brush or cloth. I like to use a clean rag or old t-shirt.
  •  Allow the product to penetrate and dry for about 15 or 20 minutes.
  •  Remove any excess with a clean, dry cloth.

I started with a dull & dirty wood plaque I purchased from the Goodwill for $2

I sanded with a 200 grit in this pic until it became brighter and prettier

Oooh!,  it did turn out bright and smooth, isn't wood beautiful!?!

I used a cheap foam brush from Harbor Freight

Apply Pre-Stain along with the grain of the wood

The Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner has been applied to all the wood plaque.  Allow to dry for 15 minutes

After 15 minutes or so, remove excess, you MUST apply stain within 2 hrs.


  • Apply the Miniwax Dark Walnut Stain within 2 hours of the pre-stain wood conditioner
  • Stir the can of stain before use
  • Apply the stain following the grain of the wood.  You can use brush or rag. I normally use a clean rag. 
  • After applying, remove excess
  • Allow the stain to penetrate and dry for 10 -15 mins.  You can reapply for a darker and richer color.

Stir Stain of your choice and apply along with the grain of the wood
A little goes a long way!
Once you get it all on, grab a lint free rag ( I normally use an old t-shirt)

Remove excess as soon as you have applied the stain all over.  This will avoid from furniture becoming sticky.
All done!  You can add as much as you want for as dark as you would like! (allow for dry time in between coats)

THIRD - Apply a protective finish

  • I use Miniwax Wipe on Poly to protect the finish using a lint free cloth - (There a  number of awesome protective finishes out there.  I just feel like this is the easiest to work with)
  • I apply up to 6 coats depending on how the furniture will be used. 
I will update with photographs of the Miniwax Wipe On Poly soon.  I used an old T-Shirt to wipe on the poly.  It's a liquid with a slight thickness to it.  It wipes on similar to wiping on a coat of vegetable oil onto your counter tops.  Very smooth!  You will need to do at least four coats or more; allowing to dry in between coats.

Refinishing the top really made over this beautiful vanity!

I hope I inspired you today!

Mary Elizabeth 

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