This is a continuation of the Girl’s Maple Dresser project.
Time estimate for this step: 36 hours.
The ninth step in making this dresser is to stain and varnish the dresser.
Step 9a: Select stain and varnish
For this dresser, I chose to use Minwax Cherry (235) Wood Finish to stain the wood.
For the top coat, I chose to use Olympic Oil Based Clear Satin Polyurethane.
Step 9b: Stain
Set up all of the pieces of the dresser in a large work area with plenty of ventilation. I used my garage, since there is enough ventilation, and not very much outside dust blowing around. Before staining, sand any rough areas of the dresser using 220 grit sandpaper. Then, clean the wood from any dust particles using a tack cloth. Once the wood has been sanded and cleaned, apply the stain using a cheese cloth. After a few minutes, wipe off any excess stain using a clean piece of cheese cloth.
After letting the stain dry for at least four hours, apply a second coat of stain in the same way as the first coat. The second coat will catch any areas that might have been missed, and provide a deeper richer look to the stain.
Step 9c: Varnish
After the second coat of stain has dried for at least 8 hours, it is time to apply the varnish to the dresser. Once again, clean the surface of the wood using a tack cloth to remove any dust particles. Gently stir the varnish to an even consistency and color (shaking will create air bubbles in the varnish). Use a high-quality brush to apply the varnish to the wood, and make sure to apply the varnish with the grain of the wood.
I usually coat all furniture with at least three coats of varnish. After the first coat of varnish has dried, buff the varnish with 000 steel wool. The steel wool should remove any roughness on the varnish, and will slightly dull the finish (which will allow the second coat to stick better). After using the steel wool, clean the steel wool shavings off of the wood using a vacuum. Once again, use a tack cloth to remove any dust or remaining steel wool particles. Apply the second coat of varnish to the wood using the same brushing technique. Repeat for the third coat. After the final coat, do not use steel wool as it will dull the finish. Let the piece dry for 24 hours before assembly.
That’s it for the finishing. Next, we can assemble the dresser.