How to Refinish Mahogany Furniture

You’re in luck! Mahogany furniture is one of the easiest types of wood to refinish in the world! This guide will teach you how to stain, paint and refinish mahogany veneer and antique furniture. The objective is to recover the furniture to a beautiful reddish brown color that looks elegant and expensive. First let’s go over what mahogany furniture and where it came from.

What is Mahogany Furniture?

Mahogany furniture was first recognized by the queen of England in 1597. Its reddish brown color naturally gave it a fine cabinet wood look that the queen couldn’t help but fall in love with. Ever since it was first recognized it has been associated with expensive taste and elegance. Most of mahogany wood grows outside of the United States in Mexico and Guatemala.Refinishing mahogany furniture

Sometimes Mahogany is referred to as “Prima Vera” when it has more of a yellow hue. Butternut is another type of wood that is similar to mahogany, but it’s very hard to tell the difference.

Mahogany is well known for its strength and makes for excellent kitchen cabinets because it doesn’t easily warp. The natural color of mahogany is pinkish brown but you will almost always see it stained red to make it look more elegant.
In about 1647 mahogany began being traded for boats and crafts. It was a popular choice because of its immense strength. Are you ready to start refinishing mahogany furniture yet? Let’s Get started.

Refinishing Mahogany Furniture to a Dark Red Color

Even though dark red is not mahogany’s natural color it’s probably what you had in mind when you decided to refinish mahogany furniture. Bumps and dings should be filled with silex filler before starting the refinishing process. A 200 grit sandpaper should be perfect to sand down mahogany’s tough exterior. After sanding wipe the sawdust clean with a cloth or vaccum. Choose a stain that is transparent, something water aniline, to give mahogany furniture a deep rich reddish color. Try to avoid any “red colors and looks for stains that list “mahogany” as a color. Many like to spray a dye about one part cordovan and one part mahogany to help darken the stain as well. After dyeing cover the mahogany with a vinyl sealer wash coat and finish with a pigmented stain. Apply the pigment stain carefully so you don’t have to wipe later, the more clustered it is applied the more grainy and ugly it can get.

Another approach that has been seen to work is one of the simplest of all and only requires light, oil and time. Simply move the furniture outside and wipe with an oil of your choosing. Leave the furniture outside in the sun for two days before applying a light shellac stain. Let it sit for another day so the sun can do the work for you. The furniture will turn a nice deep mahogany red color before you even have time to finish with a recovering

Yet another approach is to use a gel stain like this one. Gel stains will apply more evenly and have been used with great results for a dark red color.
Recovering furniture with mahogany wood will be easy using any of these techniques. Goodluck!

2 thoughts on “How to Refinish Mahogany Furniture

  1. I do not like mahogany—does not go well with southwest design. Can it be stained walnut or hickory??

  2. In the second method, using oil and light, you mention light shellac stain. Is that a particular stain or is it shellac with stain? I have been unable to find any stain specific for shellac. I have seen an amber shellac. Also, regarding the oil, are you talking about a petroleum based?


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