Friday, June 13, 2014

Minwax Polyshades on antique dresser

We helped move furniture out of a huge old home last weekend. In return for our help they said we could take whatever was leftover for free! This home is going on the market in a few weeks. It needs a lot of work, but it has a ton of character and I'm sure it was gorgeous in it's prime - beautiful woodwork, big staircase, decorative windows, porch with pillars, etc. Sigh. We made out like bandits with furniture, rugs, and even cleaning supplies. Thank you, Jim and Lynn!

Anyways, I redid the following dresser from that house last night with Minwax Polyshades in Espresso. Minwax Polyshades is not your typical stain. It's a 2 in 1 which means the stain and polyurethane are together. You don't need to completely strip the furniture which saves a huge amount of time. If you've ever stripped furniture down to bare wood you know it's back breaking work. I didn't feel like putting that much effort into this piece so I found Polyshades and it turned out to be a great solution. I do not recommend Polyshades for bare wood - go the traditional staining route if that's the case. For those items that have finish on and you simply want to change the color or give it a refresh, Polyshades is a great option. This took me two hours total compared to at least two days when I refinish furniture the traditional way. Since the dresser was free, my only cost was for the stain - about $10 for the quart. I think the 8 oz. size would have been enough though and it's only $5 so keep that in mind.

Here are the BEFORE pictures:

With Polyshades, you simply need to sand the piece with 220 grit sandpaper. I just went over it lightly with my hand sander.

Take the hardware off first


I then wiped everything down three times with a wet rag.

How it looked after sanding

After sanding before the stain
 Now it's time to apply the stain.

This is the product I used on it - Minwax Polyshades in Espresso Satin

The key with this stuff is to put it on as thinly as possible. I used a foam brush.

I applied it way too thick on my first try. Do not do this!

Too thick. You need to apply it much more sparingly than this. Several thin coats are much better than one goopy one.


Here is how it looked after the first coat of stain:

You'll need to let the first coat dry for six hours and then lightly go over it with very fine steel wool followed by a clean cloth to get the dust off.

I applied one more coat and called it a day. I like that Polyshades allows the wood to show through unlike paint. It's a nice in between option. However, if this piece had really beautiful/obvious wood grain, I would have stripped it down and stained it the traditional way so that the wood grain would show more.

Here are the AFTER photos:

One last note, only use Polyshades if you're keeping the piece the same color or going darker. You won't be able to make a dark piece light unless you sand it all the way down to the bare wood.

Have a great weekend!

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