What Could Be Hiding Underneath Stain or Varnish

There may come a time when you buy a piece of secondhand furniture only to be blown away by what is hidden underneath coats of stain or varnish.



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Sometimes when you buy a secondhand piece of furniture that you like for its size and shape, unexpected results can occur after sanding away coat after coat of stain and varnish. This particular DIY enthusiast purchased a secondhand TV unit at a bargain price. She liked the size and overall dimensions of the piece and had ideas in mind of what could be done to make the piece perfect for her living room.



However, she was blown away after sanding back coats of varnish to see the beautiful wood hidden underneath. The final result was worth all the effort put into upcycling the unit, with quite a few hours put into sanding away coat after coat of varnish to reveal what was underneath.








So what was done to turn this blah media cabinet to turn it into a stunning TV unit? Here are the steps that were taken for this project:


1. The first, and most time-consuming step, was to sand back the entire cabinet. Considering that there were layers and layers of varnish on the piece, the sanding was started with 40-grit sanding pads on an orbital sander. This was changed to 80-grit sanding pads when the wood surface was just starting to show through, and then to 120-grit to remove all the remaining paint and stain.

2. After the intensive sanding, a further sanding was given with 240-grit sanding pads to prepare the unit for varnishing. DO make sure to wipe down and vacuum to remove all the dust, as this will spoil whatever finish you want to apply. Wipe down again using mineral turpentine to make sure that all the dust has been removed. Find more sanding tips in our DIY Tips section.



3. Before any modifications were made, and these are discussed in the following steps, the unit was given two coats of clear polyurethane varnish.

GOOD TO KNOW: If you are not wanting a glossy finish, a matt varnish such as Rust-Oleum Ultimate Polyurethane Natural Matte is recommended. They also have satin and gloss finishes in the Ultimate Polyurethane range.







4. Wanting the unit to have a coastal-style appearance, the glass panels in the doors were removed and replaced with rattan. If you are using a hard material such as rattan, you need to soak this to make it more pliable and then you can stretch and staple the fabric in place.

GOOD TO KNOW: If you are not lucky enough to find such a stunning wood underneath all the stain and varnish, you can still lighten the wood either by using a whitewash or limewash technique. You will find both of these, as well as many other decorating and painting techniques, in our Decorating section. Or click on the Google Search link on the top right hand side to enter your search parameters - then scroll down to view all the related articles.





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