refinishing furniture

How to Take Furniture from Trash to Treasure

furniture refinishing
Refinished Oak Hatbox Dresser

Refinishing furniture is an art I taught myself for my first purchased piece of furniture. I was fresh out of college, poor as anything you have ever seen and there was no Internet to help. I recognized an antique with good bones as we were browsing through a second-hand shop. Unfortunately, it was covered in black paint and red nail polish! Fortunately, I talked the shop owner down from $50 to $35, which was all the money I had. And now, my handmade and hand-carved hatbox dresser is worth (at least) $900. Woohoo!!

You can do this!

Furniture refinishing – scary, messy, difficult, takes too long, don’t know what I am doing, I don’t want to mess up. Whew, that’s a lot of issues! You should not start with your family’s most cherished antique – that can be project #2.

Are you worried about the outcome? Begin with something small and not very valuable. Since our class is Fall 2022, you have time to hunt down something inexpensive and in need of a renovation. And next, follow directions – mine and the manufacturers of the chemicals. I can (and will) keep you out of trouble, but you always need to follow directions.

How we can Help

We can teach you the ins and outs and coach you through to a successful project. Whether you have a piece you picked up secondhand or something that has been in your family for a while, we can help. I consider refinishing a piece of furniture to be a great rescue story. So, in effect, I am helping to save something from a life of being ugly and unappreciated!


We need a lot of supplies, but not to worry. You may already have most of what you need and tools are always reusable. We are sure you will want to work on another piece as soon as you finish your class project.

You don’t need to be afraid. My first project, my cherished an old hatbox dresser is still with me. I am grateful I could give it a new home.

The Process

  • Cleaning – always clean your project piece with gentle soap and water – it may not need refinishing
  • Decide on whether to paint, renew or refinish
  • Choose your product – your chemical of choice
  • Get to work
  • Choose your final finish – many choices here from wax to varnish to poly – depending on the abuse it will get
  • Smile! You just finished your first piece of furniture!

Your next step

This class will only be offered once this fall. Our space is limited. Come make new friends and give a poor piece of furniture new life.

Home and Garden Workshops & Classes Contact for more info.

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