DIY

How to Refinish Wood Chairs the Easy Way!

October 5, 2015

Refinish wood without sanding or stripping the existing finish!

how to refinish wood chairs

 

This post is sponsored by Mohawk.  All opinions are 100% my own based on my experience using these AMAZING products.

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How to Refinish Chairs the Easy Way

Hello friends!  Oh boy, I am EXCITED about sharing this project with you!  I am about to teach you how to refinish wood chairs the easy way, without sanding or stripping.   I know, I know.  You’re welcome :)

We were given these amazing antique banker's chairs from my mom several years ago.  They have been in our family for several decades, but have mostly lived in attics for the last 15 years or so {insert hanging head of shame}.  These chairs are high quality, solid wood and are a style that is pretty hard to come by.  I am so excited to report that we FINALLY go around to refinishing these chairs because we found some amazing Mohawk products that allowed us to do it without sanding or stripping the existing finish.  YAY!  Refinishing these two chairs took me about 3 hours, start to finish.  Easy peasy.

First, let me show you how these chairs looked before I refinished them.  The first chair had a lot of staining and color variation on the seat and was definitely in need of some TLC.

THIS IS AWESOME! Learn how to refinish wood chairs without sanding or stripping the existing finish. Full tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body. #spon

how-to-refinish-wood-chairs-1

The second chair had better color overall, but had horrible drip marks on the back support piece.

THIS IS AWESOME! Learn how to refinish wood chairs without sanding or stripping the existing finish. Full tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body. #spon

THIS IS AWESOME! Learn how to refinish wood chairs without sanding or stripping the existing finish. Full tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body. #spon

Now that you have seen what I started with, let me teach you how I transformed these chairs in about 3 hours from start to finish!  This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience.  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Materials Needed

I was super lucky to get to try out these professional Mohawk products {it’s a perk of being a blogger}!  But, the good news is that Mohawk is launching a consumer line of all the products I used. Many of them are already available on Amazon already and the rest will be available very soon!

How to Refinish Wood Chairs

1) I started by cleaning the chairs very well with a water and vinegar cleaning solution that I made myself.  Then I cleaned them again using Mohawk’s Wax Wash Remover to ensure that any wax finish that may have been on the chairs was totally removed.  I simply sprayed it on and wiped it off.  The spray does have let off some fumes, so work outside if you can.

THIS IS AWESOME! Learn how to refinish wood chairs without sanding or stripping the existing finish. Full tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body. #spon

2) Then I touched up the worn edges with the Mohawk Ultra Touch-Up Marker.  This part is easy!  If you can color with a marker, you can do this!

THIS IS AWESOME! Learn how to refinish wood chairs without sanding or stripping the existing finish. Full tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body. #spon

THIS IS AWESOME! Learn how to refinish wood chairs without sanding or stripping the existing finish. Full tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body. #spon

3) Next, it was time to stain!  Y’all, this Mohawk Wiping Wood Stain is AH-MAZING.  It’s very, very thin, so take care when working with it, because it does splatter easily.  I painted mine on with a foam brush and wiped it off almost immediately with paper towels.  I applied two coats to each chair.  This stain lets off a lot of fumes, so again, be sure to work in a well ventilated area!

THIS IS AWESOME! Learn how to refinish wood chairs without sanding or stripping the existing finish. Full tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body. #spon

THIS IS AWESOME! Learn how to refinish wood chairs without sanding or stripping the existing finish. Full tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body. #spon

THIS IS AWESOME! Learn how to refinish wood chairs without sanding or stripping the existing finish. Full tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body. #spon

4) The drip marks on the back support piece of the second chair looked MUCH better after I applied two coats of stain, but they were still noticeable, so I used my brush tip graining markers to camouflage them a bit more.  The photo below is after I feathered on the wood grain marker stain–I quickly wiped the excess off with a paper towel.  Then I applied more stain to the back support pice.

THIS IS AWESOME! Learn how to refinish wood chairs without sanding or stripping the existing finish. Full tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body. #spon

5) Finally, I applied a coat of oil-based satin polyurethane to each chair.

Voila!  They aren't perfect, but perfection isn't really my thing, y'all.  These are ANTIQUE chairs so I did not want to erase all imperfections and signs of age.  If I wanted brand new chairs I would have purchased brand new chairs.  Instead, I wanted to enhance their antique beauty, and that's just these products allowed me to do.  Check out the final results.

Chair # 1

THIS IS AWESOME! Learn how to refinish wood chairs without sanding or stripping the existing finish. Full tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body. #spon

BEFORE

how-to-refinish-wood-chairs-20

AFTER

how-to-refinish-wood-chairs-1

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

Chair # 2

THIS IS AWESOME! Learn how to refinish wood chairs without sanding or stripping the existing finish. Full tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body. #spon

BEFORE

AFTER

THIS IS AWESOME! Learn how to refinish wood chairs without sanding or stripping the existing finish. Full tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body. #spon

BEFORE

AFTER

These gorgeous chairs now have pride of place in our dining room, which we recently made over {you can check out the full dining room makeover here–note that the photos in our dining room makeover post were taken BEFORE I refinished these chairs}.  With about 3 hours of work, these antique chairs have been given new life.  Don't they look beautiful in front of our large dining room window?

THIS IS AWESOME! Learn how to refinish wood chairs without sanding or stripping the existing finish. Full tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body. #spon

THIS IS AWESOME! Learn how to refinish wood chairs without sanding or stripping the existing finish. Full tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body. #spon

After we gave our dining room a makeover, we moved our beautiful chairs to other spots around the house. We are using one in the foyer and it looks perfect with our antique desk.

If you enjoyed this post, check out how we refinished our dining room table using similar methods in this post.

WOW! Learn how to refinish a table without sanding or stripping! I had no idea it could be so easy. Full tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body. #spon

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  1. […] naturally. To make it like new, you may need to make alterations to the seat that involve sanding, refinishing and even cutting. Does that sound like something you can do? Think carefully, because it can be […]

  2. Tammy says:

    Amazing work, I am so glad to see the chairs refinished to their original state, and not refinished with paint. So tired of starting a refinishing article and then being disappointed at the end with the piece being painted and sanded in spots.

  3. Rachelle says:

    Thanks. Your chairs look great. I am going to try it out. Now, what about the adorable blue table between the chairs? Is that also your handiwork. If so would you please share?

  4. Greg says:

    That’s great, but 2 things. 1, I have chairs I want to change the color of and 2, I have another chair that is painted with thick black paint and most likely a sealer as well. Any suggestions on that?

    • Tasha says:

      You need to strip the paint off and follow a whole different process and I have never written about that! Sorry, thanks for reading.

  5. […]  How To Refinish Wood Chairs– Y’all loved my post on how to refinish wood chairs the easy way.  Yep, you can bring […]

  6. Very nice! It’s nice to see old wood furniture saved. I’m looking up the Mohawk Stain

  7. Tasha, The chairs are beautiful. What a great time saver and the chairs came out so beautiful!

    • Tasha A. says:

      Thanks you so much Heather! I am so glad we were able to beautify these chairs again. They are very near and dear to my heart since they have been in our family for so long!

  8. […] selected How to Refinish Wood Chairs the Easy Way from Designer […]

  9. Cathleen says:

    I am SO doing this! I tried one kitchen chair using a product and method many, many on pinterest said would work over existing but cleaned stain and it was a MAJOR PAIN…took tons of product and effort to get only so so results. I now have one chair done, two chairs stripped and 3 more au natural (filthy/old/gross). ..and they’ve all been in this state for almost two years since that’s how long ago I gave up! :) Thanks!

  10. Gorgeous job! They look great but still have a lot of character.

    Thanks for linking up with us on Throwback Thursday – we appreciate it, and are always looking forward to next week’s posts, too!! :) I’ll be pinning to our board, too, so be sure to follow us there.

    Mollie

  11. […] selected How To Refinish Wood Chairs from Designer […]

  12. […] selected How To Refinish Wood Chairs from Designer […]

  13. I want those chairs! Beautiful job. I have never heard of Mohawk products. Are they carried at any stores or just online?

  14. Anika says:

    They look beautiful! What a big difference with a little TLC.

  15. Nice job the chairs look gorgeous! Thanks for sharing on craft schooling Sunday, great to see you back at the party.

  16. Rebecca says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial. I can’t wait to get started. I noticed the new stain appears to be a similar color value and the overall look is great. Can this same process be followed if one wanted to change the color value, say to more of an ebony or dark pecan?

    Thanks again!

    • Tasha A. says:

      Hi Rebecca! Thank you! This method is best for maintaining the original depth of color. That said, I do think using a wiping stain with a different undertone of color could help you tweak the color a bit, but not dramatically. I hope that helps!

  17. Oh wow! What a difference just a little TLC makes!

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