How to Refinish Mahogany Furniture

Lead Image
  • 4-12 hours
  • Beginner
  • 30-50
What You'll Need
Disk/belt Sander or chemical strippers
Chemical cleaner
Grain filler
Scrapper or putty knife
Steel wool
Stainer of your choice
Sanding sealer
Oil based top coating

Refinishing furniture is not a difficult job to do as long as you have patience, especially when you are refinishing mahogany furniture. Mahogany has different types of shadings, this variation is due to the origin of the wood but normally it is a dark color.

Step 1 - Removing the Old Finish

The most cumbersome step is the first one, that is, you have to completely remove the current finish if you want a job well done. Normally the removal is done by sanding, but you can also make use of some chemical strippers. Use sanding only if you have proper equipment because you will never make a proper job with your bare hand, thus use a belt or disk sander. Chemical strippers are the easiest way to remove old finish but there may be the eventually that you have to sand it a little bit to achieve a more perfect job even after applying a chemical substance.

Step 2 - Using a Chemical Stripper

Apply the chemical substance in the area you desire and then leave it to rest until the time specified by the manufacturer. Once the latter has been done (don't leave it to dry) then you can remove it with a scraper or putty knife, use steel wool for round edges so that you don't damage it. Once you are done apply the chemical cleaner mentioned by the manufacturer, and leave it to dry for about 24 hours.

Step 3 - Filling the Grain

Apply the grain filler (normally it is a paste), Remember mahogany has an open grain structure thus you need to fill it well in order to achieve a smooth finish at the end of the process. The color of the grain filler is up to you. Grain filler can be applied before or after the staining, but check the manufacturer's label to be sure.

Step 4 - Staining

There are various types of staining products on the market today so this is up to your preference; one-step finishers eliminate a lot of steps thus making the job a lot quicker, but they don’t offer the best solutions because the staining is superficial thus is better to use oil-based type finisher, but the only drawback is that they have a nasty odor which can be eliminated by a spirit cleaner. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions, but normally you can apply such substances with a brush or a rag to allow the proper penetration in the wood.

Step 5 - Apply a Sanding Sealer

Sealing prevents the mahogany furniture from absorbing too much stain so that a very dark area is evaded. The sealer can be applied after the actual staining of the wood and the grain filling so that the number of finish can be reduced. This step is not necessary if you are using oil-type finishers.

Step 6 - The Last Step

All you need to do is to apply a top coating. In my opinion, the best top finish is oil-based top finish because it is very easy to apply and gives the mahogany furniture a natural look, but it has to be said that they offer lesser protection than lacquer or varnishes, thus choose at your preference. The top finish is to be applied with a soft brush and follow the manufacturer's instructions, as to the amount and time to dry.

The secret to having a perfect re-finish is to work patiently and correct every flaw you encounter with a delicate touch.