help with armoire

Old 02-01-05, 03:16 AM
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help with armoire

Ok. So I acquired an Ethan Allen Armoire from a good friend of mine that had it in a storage unit. Its a long story as to why it was there, but basically he is getting rid of the storage so he gave the armoire, as well as some other E.A. furniture to me. I was gonna just try to sand the scratches and steam out the dents but once I looked up how much the armoire was worth I wanted to do what I thought was "The Correct Way" to fix blemishes.
All in all I dont know much about furniture, but I have refinished furniture in the past. Mostly things that I picked up on the side of the street or at the goodwill. But I have not ever restained anything.....seemed easy enough. I know how to make repairs to wood furniture and this armoire had a metal rod fall on it and it knocked out a chunk. It was a clean chip for the most part but it did need some wood filler. And to make the long story even longer, I ended up removing all the old stain and now I am in the process of staining the lower half. Trying to fix all the dings and scratches (patching that piece back on) left me with no other alternative.
I have applied the first coat to the lower part of this two piece armoire and it looks good but it has some "run areas". You cant feel it, but you can see it if you look for it. On the drawers I have applied one coat, used steel wool (0000), and reapplied. The steel wool worked for the small run areas on these but it took forever and they are smaller. So is there an easier way for the lower and soon upper half. Perhaps using a high grit sandpaper with a sander?

Sorry this is so damn long. Thanks for reading and your help.

Old 02-01-05, 11:22 AM
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Summary: You have been using steel wool to apply stain to a bare piece of furniture, it takes too long, and you want to know if using sandpaper with a sander will be faster?

Your post is quite confusing.

I would not recommend using sandpaper of any grit to apply stain to bare wood. I don't understand why one would use steel wool to apply stain, but I suppose it can be done. I find that stain is easier to apply with brushes, cloths, or a sprayer. The size of the piece and the complexity of the surface tend to dictate which is better to use.

You should not have runs in the stain. It will be best to remove the runs and watch the application carefully. It seems better to stain the entire piece at once.

Hope this helps.
Old 02-01-05, 07:28 PM
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I assume you are using the steel wool on the dried stain? It sounds like you over applied the stain and ended up with areas that have "drip" lines, where the stain ran and was absorbed into the wood and the stain is not uniform in color.

While I'm sure this isn't the professional method, it has worked for me for years. First, with the stripped wood (I don't recommend "sanding" off a finish as this can damage the wood and is probably more labor intensive that stripping anyway. There are a number of excellent stripping products including a few that will strip stain) insure that you are applying stain to a clean surface. I rub the wood down with mineral spirits and allow to dry, then use a tack cloth. Second, before applying stain I apply a light coat of mineral spirits or turpentine as I've found this helps me get a more uniform stain, without using a professional grade sprayer (Formby's has a "wood conditioner for this purpose). Third, apply the stain using either a sponge applicator brush or (my choice) a stain applicator pad (a sponge encased in terry cloth--I also wet this down with mineral spirits and wring it out to the point its almost dry before applying stain). Work in small areas, allow the stain to soak in, but go back and wipe off any excess stain that remains with a clean lint free rag before it sets up and leaves darker spots. Repeat as necessary until you achieve the color/saturation you desire. Allow to dry between coats. You may also have some luck using the "gel" type stains, which give you a longer period of workability (but I find them more difficult to apply, but that's a personal preference).

Good luck.

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