What kind of stain and polish can I use for painting my unfinished wood furniture?

Asked by Connie
Pompano Beach, FL

I bought unfinished furniture from "woodyou" (unfinished means no paints). I am concerned about Indoor Air Quality. What brand of stain and polish should I buy and where to buy? This is my first time to do this job. Thanks for help.


Molly McCabe, AKBD, CGP, CAPS

Answered by Molly McCabe, AKBD, CGP, CAPS

Bainbridge Island, WA

A Kitchen That Works LLC

February 4, 2013

I am going to assume that you are using the word polish to describe a sealant or finish.

Given that finishing furniture is a new venture for you, I would suggest that you take the easy route and go with an all in one product rather than applying a stain followed by a urethane finish.

  • Minwax has a low VOC product called PolyShades that is a stain and finish in one and comes in a variety of colors.
  • I have not used this product myself.
  • However, Minwax is widely distributed in the US and should be easy for you to source in Pompano Beach.

If you are feeling more adventurous or would really like to be able to control the color, you could consider using:

This combination can get tricky as the water based polyurethane can reactivate the water base in the aniline dye, potentially creating an undesirable bleeding effect.

Additionally, some studies have suggested that there is a link between exposure to aniline dyes and bladder cancer but with proper protection such as gloves and using a pre-mixed dye rather than mixing your own power based aniline you should be adequately protected from exposure.

Good luck with your project!

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