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Sunday, August 21, 2016

How to Refinish a Wood Desk with Gel Stain

We've finished the move and now starts the total nirvana of decorating the place to make it feel like home. I love this part! Like I really, really love this part!

First up is my poor, beat up and often abused work desk that I use for shipping, photo editing, and about every other computer task you can think of. It came from my father-in-law when he down sized several years ago. A solid work desk that is just so functional and sturdy, it deserved a little attention to give it a needed face lift.

Desk Before Staining


I discovered General Finishes gel stain a few years ago. I love this stuff, it is amazing and makes furniture refinishing so much easier and a lot less messier than traditional stain.

First the furniture needs the handles and drawers removed, followed by a light sanding (thanks to my husband for doing this job for me :). Use Krud Kutter to remove the dust; a necessary task before you start staining. (By the way, this stuff is amazing at cleaning up all kinds of messes!)

Next put on a latex glove (you will thank me for this by not having brown stained hands later), followed by an old sock. It's not pretty but it lets your hands do all the work of staining.

Desk after first coat of gel stain

Dip that pretty sock hand into the stain and start applying with long strokes to the surface of the wood, thoroughly and evenly covering it with the stain. It's really that simple. In the case of my desk, I plan on applying more than 1 coat so this needs to dry for 24 hours and then the 2nd coat gets applied.

Desk after staining

Don't forget the drawer fronts and all sides of the desk. Once I've placed the final coat of stain on it, I will put a couple coats of water based polyurethane finish on it so it handles the daily wear better.

Stained desk drawers

My last decision is what kind of new handles to put on the desk. Help me decide, which would you pick?

Desk cabinet pulls

Desk cabinet pulls
I plan on placing the desk into a nook in my sewing room and trimming it out so it looks built in. More pictures to come once it is completely done and installed. In the meantime my computer is sitting on a 4 foot folding table, which is why this was the first project on my list!

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