How to Refinish Light Oak to Dark

Written by wade shaddy
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How to Refinish Light Oak to Dark
Use stain to refinsh oak to a darker colour. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Natural oak is a light-amber colour. Stain is used to darken the oak. There are many degrees of stain ranging from light pecan to black walnut. You can refinish your oak any colour you like, but you first need to remove any lacquer or varnish that has been applied over the stain. After you sand off the top coat, you can then apply the stain of your choice.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 100-grit sandpaper
  • Hand block
  • Staining sponge
  • Walnut stain
  • Cloth
  • Aerosol lacquer
  • 180-grit sandpaper

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  1. 1

    Sand off the surface layer of lacquer with 100-grit sandpaper attached to a hand block. Use short strokes and sand with the grain of the wood. Start in one corner and scrub back and forth, letting the sandpaper strip the lacquer.

  2. 2

    Sand hard until you get to the bare wood. Change your sandpaper every 10 minutes. Look for the light-amber colour of the natural oak. When you get down to the bare wood, continue sanding until all of the lacquer is removed.

  3. 3

    Dip a sponge into the dark stain. Apply the sponge to the wood, pressing the stain out of the sponge as you wipe. Get more stain when the sponge begins to run dry. Wipe down the oak with the sponge until the wood is completely wet with stain.

  4. 4

    Wipe off the stain with a cloth. Let the stain dry for 30 minutes.

  5. 5

    Spray the wood with a light coat of aerosol lacquer. Wait 15 minutes for the lacquer to dry. Sand the wood by hand with 180-grit sandpaper. Don't wipe off the powdery dust from the lacquer.

  6. 6

    Spray another coat of lacquer on the wood until it is completely wet. Let the lacquer dry for one hour.

Tips and warnings

  • You can buy any colour of high- or low-gloss stain or lacquer at almost any home improvement store. Use acetone for cleaning.

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