How to Refinish Wood Furniture with Varnish

What You'll Need
Polyrethane varnish
Natural bristle paintbrush
Fine sandpaper
Tack cloth
Wide mouthed container
Paste wax

Many homeowners who have refinished furniture and want a durable and lustrous finish, have found that to refinish wood furniture you can rarely find a better product than a varnish. A varnish, especially a polyurethane varnish, resists wear and retains its luster as well as any product on the market. And, although you may hear that it is a difficult finish to apply, with the right product and a few understandable instructions you'll find that it is as easy to apply this product as most other products you may choose. Here are a few tips hat will help you refinish your furniture with a varnish finish.

Step 1 – Choosing Your Finish

To get the finish you want on your varnish, you should first choose the finish that is right for your application. To get one that is tough but still shiny, use a product with a gloss finish. For one whose finish is less shiny, try a matte finish. You can also choose from other finishes such as satin, flat, semi-gloss and a high gloss.

Step 2 - Preparing Your Surface

Before applying your varnish, be sure the surface you apply it to has been sanded and that any dust and debris are removed. A tack cloth works well for this purpose. Open doors and windows, if you can do so without allowing dust to enter the room. You'll need good ventilation, but not at the risk of getting dust on your freshly varnished surfaces. In preparing to apply your varnish pour a small amount into a container with a mouth wide enough that you can dip your paint brush into it. By using a second container you can avoid getting debris into your varnish container.

Step 3 – Applying Your Varnish

Apply your varnish with a brush (you should use a natural bristle brush), after you've loaded the tip of your brush with varnish and have wiped excess varnish from it. This will help you avoid dripping the varnish onto a surface from which you'll later need to clean it off. Pull your brush along surface you're varnishing, following the natural grain of the wood and holding the brush in a nearly vertical position. Watch for spots on your varnished surface where you've left drips or excessive amounts of varnish. If you find these, go back over them with a dryer brush.

Step 4 – Sanding Your Finish

You should let your varnished surface dry overnight. When you're sure it is dry, use a fine sandpaper to lightly sand the finish. Then, use a tack cloth and wipe off all dust left from your sanding. Unlike other types of finishes, you'll need to apply at least 4 or 5 coats of your varnish, depending on the finish you want. Before applying an additional coat, sand the previous coat when your surface is dry.

Step 5 - Finishing

When you've attained the look you want with your varnish, and when it is dry, use a fine steel wool (0000 grade) and lightly rub the finished surface. Remove any dust with your tack cloth. After 6 or 7 days, apply a paste wax.