How to Refinish a Dresser

Since my husband and I are building a new house on our farm, we are trying to save money anywhere we can. One way to do that is buying furniture secondhand. If you are willing to put in the time and effort you can make older pieces that have been in your family for generations shine or diamonds in the rough your might find at yard sales. Last year, I bought a waterfall chifforobe at a yard sale and just finished refinishing it this spring. Here are the steps I took with pictures! Many of the steps can bee apply to most wood furniture. Good luck with your project!


What you will need:

  • sander with sand paper (power sander is preferred)
  • casters
  • new sheets of veneer
  • wood glue
  • wood stain
  • new hardware
  • drill
  • retractable knife
  • several paint brush
  • hot water bottle
  • screwdriver
  • drop cloths
  • Murphy oil soap
  • old toothbrush


  1. Remove loose or unsalvageable veneer with a stiff putty knife. You can use a hot water bottle to loosen the glue. Leave hot water bottle on the stuck pieces for 30 minutes to an hour.
  2. Remove broken or rusted hardware. (I removed the drawer pulls and the broken casters.)
  3. Glue any loose pieces back together and hold in place with painters tape until dry.
  4. Wash inside and out with Murphy Oil Soap. I had to use and old toothbrush to get the corners.
  5. Sand every surface with the grain.
  6. If needed, drill new holes for new hardware and fill old holes with wood putty. (In my case, I could not find handles that were the right width, so I had to do this.)
  7. Following the glue instructions, glue the new veneer where it needs replacing. Clamp or press down on the veneer to hold it place or use heavy books. (In my case, books are cat litter). Let dry for 24 hours.
  8. Using the retractable knife, following the edge of the wood, trim the excess veneer from the piece. Take your time with this step.
  9. Stain the piece. At least two coats. I did three because I wanted it to be dark. Allow to dry per the can’s instructions between coats.
  10. Polyurethane the piece. Two coats. Allow to dry per the can’s instructions between coats.
  11. When completely dry, add new hardware.
  12. Add casters. (In my case, I used spackling paste and glue to add the casters. The holes were too large for my new casters and the legs had metal casings inside, so I could not drill new holes.)
  13. Enjoy your new to you piece of furniture!

This Week’s Featured Book!

Years ago, I wrote the Amish Quilt Mysteries under the pen name Isabella Alan. There are five novels and one e-novella in the series. Give them a try!

Spring has arrived in Holmes County and Angie couldn’t be happier. She’s got great friends, a thriving business, and is in the perfect relationship with Sheriff James Mitchell. The only thing raining on her parade is her mother drafting her into a massive home renovation project—and using their sudden mother/daughter bonding time to comment on Angie’s ticking biological clock.

The house’s repairs and upgrades between the Amish craftsmen and their Englisch counterparts are proceeding well until a tremendous shock comes to the workers when the electrician is found dead on site. With the sheriff suspecting foul play, it falls to Angie to root a killer out of the woodwork. . . .

Order the Book!

Happy reading! ❤ Amanda

Success! You're on the list.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s