Category Archives: Learning project

The Final Post, Learning Project Post #6

Well, folks as EDTC 300 class draws to a close it is time for my final learning project post.  Those who have been reading all along have read about my journey that was re-finishing the old dresser that I had gotten from my late grandfather.  Woodworking has always been an interest of mine and when I had this piece that needed re-finished I decided to take the project on and that it would be perfect for my EDTC 300 learning project.  I decided that because I had no idea how to complete this project, so I was able to learn about it online.

So I started the project and jumped right into it.  Please take a look at my First Post.

This is what the dresser looked like at the beginning.

Now I have been through this journey I am now ready to unveil my finished product, which has been a hit with my family, they can’t say enough good things about it.


Note the shiny look to the finish, this is because I used a stain and gloss all in one.

I completed staining the dresser three times, I used the technique outlined in my fifth post, check it out here.  This took several hours because the stain has to dry for 8 hours per coat, so I did the three coats over two days.

Then I put the new knobs on the drawers and re-attached the mirror on the body of the dresser.  To hold the mirror in its frame, I used a heavy piece of cardboard from an old fridge box we had in our house.

In review:

The most challenging thing about finishing the project was re-attaching the mirror to the main dresser frame.  Before there were three screws that held the mirror stand on the base.  It was clear after my Dad and I tried to put the mirror on that three screws would not hold it, so we put five screws in.  The stand makes the dresser pretty top heavy so that is why it’s leaning against the wall, to give it some added stability.

For future projects, I need to take more time to make sure all the paint is off and nothing is visible that I don’t want visible.  I learned that this type of work is very tedious and requires a lot of attention to detail.  I will try to develop these traits more in the future and I hope to do more projects like this.  (there is a bookshelf I may tackle next).

Overall, I gained valuable experience in the woodworking trade with this assignment. I know now how to better re-use old furniture and make it look like new again.  Antiques have always caught my eye and  I find this way to breath new life into old furniture is a good ability to have.

Traits that I have developed and understand a better need for is attention to detail and the ability to take more time and slow down.  I need to work on these more.  however having these skills can be very helpful in more than just a hobby, I feel they could become useful in a classroom setting.

Learning online is very useful but not something to be relied on.  Offline resources can be very useful too.  I found YouTube to be the most useful to learn about re-finishing furniture.  I also found Ron Hazelton’s website to be very useful because he knew a lot about many topics and was able to make a lot of sense and helped me a great deal.

As with most technology use, there are disadvantages, like needed access to the internet to use the online world to its fullest potential.  the videos on Youtube helped me to see what should happen and what it should look like after I’m done.

The Learning project portion of the course was very helpful and useful and I will use both my new found knowledge of wood re-finishing and the experience of learning online for many years to come in both my personal and professional life.

Here is a list and links to all my posts:

Post 1: Intro. 

Post: 2: starting to strip paint.

Post 3: Drawers Prep.

Post 4: Getting ready to re-finish. 

Post 5: How to prep wood for a new stain.

Post 6: Final post and review. (This post).

As always, leave a comment if you want to share your experiences with woodworking or learning online, or just have something to say.

Big Thanks to all those who read this blog and who have left comments in the past.

Photo Credit: Flickr via Compfight cc

How to Prep wood for a new stain. Learning Project post #5

This week I will share a step by step how to re-stain wooden furniture.

Step 1: Remove the old paint or stain off of the wood piece that you wish to refinish.  I recommend a gel-based paint stripper especially if you will be removing paint or stain from vertical surfaces.  Watch this short video to help remove the old paint or stain.

Step 2:  After you have removed all of the old paint or stain than you need to prepare the surface, the first thing to do is to use a brass bristled brush and some steel wool (both can be found the most hardware stores). I used paint remover steel wool that is a little more aggressive on the wood.  You may have to apply a thin layer of stripper to use the wool and brush to its fullest capacity.  These tools will save your life and will make removing the final bit of paint or stain happen like a dream. If you would like a visual, visit Ron Hazelton’s Website, this video uses this technique.

Step 3: For this step, you will need to sand the wood.  I recommend using 120 or 150 grit sandpaper (can be found at most hardware stores).  Take a full sheet of sandpaper and cut it in quarters and fold each quarter in thirds.  I outline the technique for sanding in this video:


Step 4: Time to clean the wood for staining.  Sanding will leave a lot of dust and debris on the surface that you are refinishing.  This debris can create unwanted blemishes in your stain and leave impurities in your finished product.  So I use TSP (a cleaning solution found at most hardware stores).

Step5: Now the final part to cleaning the surface is using a Tack Cloth (a sticky cloth found at most hardware stores) to pick up any leftover debris from sanding or from dust settling from the air. How to do this is outlined in this video:

Step 6: Now it is time to apply the stain to the piece of wood that you desire.  This video will help you get started.

Step 7: After putting the second coat on, its time to prepare for the next coat or as many coats as you desire.  This video will help you prepare for another coat.


Helpful hint: To get better cuts and straighter edges on your sandpaper I built myself a sandpaper cutter.  How to do this is outlined in this video:

I hope this How to was some help.  Tell me about it in the comments.

Learning Project Post #4, getting ready to re-finish

This week I set out to finish taking the paint off and preparing to stain the dresser.  I went to the Hardware store and got more supplies.  items that included Steal wool, sandpaper, cleaning solution, and a brass brush.

The last thing had to strip the paint off of was the sides and legs of the dresser.

To do this I applied the pian stripper and used the putty knife to scrape it off then I used the steel wool and brass brush to take off any finish that still remained.   Steel wool and a brass brush are great tools and a must have if you are stripping paint to get off that stubborn stuck on paint.  The idea cam again from Ron Hazelton’s website. 

After doing that I applied simple household bleach to the holes where the drawer hardware had left a black mark and did a light sanding to prepare them for the staining.

After I finished stripping the paint and using the steel wool to take off any paint residue I put the drawers back in the dresser.

Before I stripped the front of the dresser.

This is before I started stripping.
After I stripped all the paint and treated the drawers.

Next week I will stain the dresser and see how that turns out.

As usual, leave a comment if you have any suggestions or just have something to say.

Learning project post #3 drawers prep.

This week I set out to finish stripping the paint off of the drawers and sanding them to prepare for the stain. Last week I applied the first coat of stripper but I didn’t do the job properly so I began this week by applying another coat.

This was after the first coat. still, a lot of paint left.

So I applied another coat and peeled that off, it worked a lot better this time. so I set out and began to sand and prepare for the finish.

this is how the drawer faces looked after the second coat of stripper.

After I was done sanding this was the faces of the drawers.

there is virtually no paint left on the face.


Next, I turned to the sides of the drawers.  The side of the drawers have never been stained or treated so the paint has soaked into the raw wood a lot more than the front of the drawer.  For help on how to remove old paint, I visited Ron Hazelton’s website  I turned to this video titled removing old layers of paint for help.  this helped me to better understand how to apply stripper and what tool was best to remove old paint from tight crevices, using brass bristled brushes.  the video also gave me other stripper options if the other stripper didn’t work.  By using an alkaline based stripper and freezer paper, luckily I didn’t have to use this method.

Staying on the Ron Hazelton website I then looked to a video about refinishing an old antique dresser.  Although this piece was much older than mine I was able to pick useful tips from it.  Like the use of steel wool and again using the brass bristled brush.

The old hardware on my dresser left a black mark on the drawers that need to be removed.

The next video from Ron Hazelton’s website dealt with the issue of black marks. This video was how to use a gel stain to refinish a cabinet. What I need to use to remove this mark is Oxalic acid (or powered bleach). I don’t have any of this so I will need to go to the hardware store to get some.

At the end of the day, I almost got the drawers ready to stain, they just need a little more attention and they will be ready, than all that is left is the main dresser frame. I know now that I need from the hardware store:

  • Brass-bristled brush
  • Steel wool
  • Oxalic acid (or powered bleach)
  • 120 grit sandpaper.

Well, I’m off the Hardware Store,  I strongly encourage all my readers to go to Ron Hazelton’s Website because he has a lot of how to videos on all kinds of projects around the house, everything from wood to plumbing.

Again if anyone has any suggestions or questions please leave a comment!

Learning Project Post #2

This week I started getting the paint stripped from the dresser and preparing it for the new stain.  I watch a really helpful video on YouTube that helped me to get a start point.

Now in this video, there is no stripping of paint in it, but after the paint is gone from a piece, this video was helpful for me to get the next steps done. I used this video to get a list of products I needed in order to prep my wood for finishing.  So I went to the hardware store a picked up some TSP (which is a cleaning solution) and a tack cloth (Used to pick up any leftover debris from sanding).  These products were used in the above video.  The TSP, however, is all the hardware store had.  Naphtha is what was used in the video.

I used this other video as a guide on how to strip paint using the gel paint stripper I bought from the hardware store.

This video was helpful because it taught me how to better use the paint stripper.  the takeaway that I had from it was to allow time to pass before I pulled the paint off. I needed to wait some time for the stripper to work and properly dry for easy removal.

So, I began with the dresser top after removing the dresser drawers and repairing the bottom drawer track and putting a new screw in the top to hold down the top corner.

This is the dresser after removing the drawers and making the necessary repairs.
This is the dresser top before I applied the paint stripper
This is the Tabletop after applying the stripper and sanding it and apply TSP and using the Tack Cloth.

Although I had good luck with the dresser top and taking the paint off and finishing it to prepare it for the new finish.  I didn’t have a good of luck taking the paint off the drawer faces.

These are the drawers after I applied the paint stripper.
Close up of the drawer face with paint stripper. Notice the bubbling and pulling up of the paint.
This is the dresser drawers after cleaning off the paint stripper
after using the paint stripper there still is a lot of paint remaining so I will need to put another coat on to hopefully remove all the paint.

I will need to put another coat on and hope I have better luck the second time.  My next step will be to finish removing the old paint and sand the whole dresser.

If anyone has another resource or tips for me please leave a comment!


Learning Project: Entry #1

For my learning project in EDTC 300, I have chosen to restore this dresser that was a gift from my late grandmother.  It is an interesting piece of antique furniture and is something I have wanted to restore and re-finish. I have always had an interest in carpentry and wanted to be able to create fine pieces of work.  My interest first began when I took shop class in high school but I want to take this opportunity to learn new things and get better at something that interests me.

This is the dresser, complete with old peeling paint and wheels that don’t turn. I will re-finish this dresser and put a new stain on it again.
Side view of the dresser




What I need to do is take off the old green paint and rere-finish the original wood that the dresser is made out of.  I also have to fix the repairs that need to be done to the original material. Most of these repairs have to do with the drawers and the track they run on, and also the top of the dresser needs some repair as the top is lifting apart and needs to be re-leveled and re-finished with the rest of the dresser. I also have to take the knobs off the drawers and polish them and take the rust away to be able to put them back on, in order to keep as many original pieces as possible.

the knobs on the drawers of the dresser are rusty and need to be re-finished.

The Final component to this restoration is the mirror stand that goes along with the dresser. It attaches to the rear of the dresser and is in need of repair.  it too will be refinished and re-attached.  The hardware that goes along with the mirror will also need to be polished and reattached.  The two decorative pieces that also need to be re-finished and glued back together and re-attached to the mirror frame.

Decorative pieces to be reattached to mirror frame.
This is the stand that will be attached to the back of the dresser, to display the mirror.
This is the mirror frame that the mirror will fit in and get mounted to the dresser.