DIY Furniture Finishing: Tips and Techniques for Amish Furniture

DIY Furniture Finishing: Tips and Techniques for Amish Furniture

While few can create handmade hardwood furniture quite like Amish craftsmen, here are some step-by-step furniture finishing techniques that will help you come close to learning how to finish Amish furniture. 

What safety precautions should be taken during the DIY furniture finishing process?

First of all, before you dive into DIY Amish furniture finishing, there are a few safety precautions you should take.  

  • Wear chemical resistant gloves to protect your hands..
  • Wear a mask to protect against dust, overspray and vapors.
  • Wear protective eyewear that has side splash protection.
  • Be sure to wear the proper clothing and foot attire to avoid skin exposure and accidents. 
  • Be sure to either wear a respirator or be sure the area is properly ventilated.
  • Avoid distractions and ask for help when necessary.
  • Keep blades and bits sharp.

Can you restore the finish on older Amish furniture through DIY refinishing?

The answer is, yes and no.  This brief Amish furniture refinishing guide will help you achieve the best results, but remember that any wood that is replaced may age differently than the original so you may get close but not exact color matching as it ages over time.  

  • First, clean the piece with dish soap and warm water then dry.
  • Remove the old finish by sanding down to bare wood or use a chemical stripping product made for wood.
  • Fill the grain by applying a sanding sealer to protect the wood and add a base layer for the stain.
  • When the sealant has dried, stain or paint the wood to the desired shade.
  • Apply your chosen finish, such as a varnish, to achieve results best suited for your piece.  

How can you achieve a professional-quality finish on Amish furniture through DIY methods?

Although techniques and traditions have been passed down through generations, it is possible to achieve professional-quality finishes on your Amish furniture by using DIY methods.  Follow the steps above to add finish to your Amish furniture, being mindful that patience is a virtue!

What are some common mistakes to avoid during DIY furniture finishing?

Common mistakes made when finishing wood include improperly or over-sanding the surface, applying stain or finishing coats unevenly, and trying to rush through too quickly.  Amish craftsmen take their time creating each handmade piece.  It requires patience, attention to detail, great care and skill to achieve the look that has added to their popularity.  Don’t make the mistake of trying to achieve results quicker than it takes these experts to complete.

How can you match an existing furniture finish when making DIY repairs on Amish pieces?

Taking into account that any replaced wood may age differently, here are a few DIY wood staining tips when trying to match an existing furniture finish.

  • Look for a stain that matches the color you’re trying to recreate. If two are close, go with the lighter one, as multiple coats may be applied.
  • Sand and clean a scrap piece of wood of the same species and grain pattern as the piece you’re trying to match. 
  • Test stain on the scrap piece of wood, then wait for it to dry completely.
  • If the color is close, you can add another coat or a few drops of a darker stain.
  • Complete with desired finish such as lacquer, varnish or oil-based finish.