Thinking about finally throwing away the old dresser that’s been in your garage for years? What about the faded coffee table or scratched nightstand? Well, you may want to think again. One simple technique can bring much of your old wooden furniture back to life.
The technique in question? Varnishing. Varnish is a clear, protective coat that’s commonly applied to wood and other surfaces to give them a glossy look. According to a manual from International Paint, the use of varnish dates all the way back to the ninth century — perhaps even earlier.
The Cambridge Historical Society says varnish was first commercialized in the early 19th century. Some 200 years later, it’s still a reliable product that’s found on the shelves of nearly every home improvement and hardware store.
This past July, woodworker Matthias Wandel uploaded a video to his YouTube channel in which he showed how to repair wood furniture. Specifically, he took a beat-up dresser top sporting stains and scratches and brought it back to life. How’d he do it? Varnish!
For starters, Wandel had to scrape away the previous layer of varnish. On his website, he explains that he used a cabinet scraper for this part, but you could get away with using a chisel of some sort. After that was complete, Wandel meticulously applied the new layer of varnish, making sure to cover every square inch of the wood. With water-based varnish, he typically applies a minimum of three coats. In between applying the coats, Wandel sanded down the sides and edges of the dresser top.
By the end of the clip, the dresser top looks like new again. Wandel admits on his site that he’s not a varnish expert, but his technique is quick and easy. After watching his video, we can’t argue with that! He was able to revitalize an older piece of wooden furniture in a short amount of time with just a few supplies.
If you’re interested, give the video a spin below.