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                                      Share Your Projects with Us

                                      Are you proud of a special wood finishing project? Want to share your achievement with others? Submit your project on any of the social media channels listed below. We love to see your work!

                                      For a little inspiration, visit the Past Winners page in this section. It showcases projects and stories submitted by winners of past Minwax® contests. For the latests information on current and upcoming new contests, please check out the Minwax® Facebook page.

                                      Past Winners

                                       Ryan Kent’s Antique-Style Barrell-Top Chest
                                      • Ryan Kent’s Antique-Style Barrell-Top Chest
                                      • Dennis Briell’s Restored Chair from 1945
                                      • Sabrina Pack’s Kitchen Cabinets Makeover
                                      • Daniel Blackmon’s Woodworking Passion
                                      • John Gordon’s New Life for an Old Table
                                      • Kate Eshoo’s Salvaged Dresser
                                      • James & Gladys Feeley’s Refinished Kitchen
                                      • Jeff Berman’s Rescued Wood Desk
                                      • Billy Strong’s Retirement Chest
                                      • Larry Yaskulka’s Rocking Bulldozer
                                      • Mike Mathis’s Custom Guitar
                                      • Lou Justin’s Hardwood Floor Inlay
                                      • Anthony Squadroni’s Artwork
                                      • Ron Applegate’s Copycat Table
                                      • Ron Householder’s Juniper Bed
                                      • Frances Ann Tyler Sims’s Faux Finishes
                                      • Robert J. Powell’s Nursery Furniture
                                      • Andy MacLaurin’s Lightbox
                                      • Tony Lenne’s Quiltrack
                                      • Bill & Louise McKinnon’s Recreation Room
                                      • Alan and John Slade’s Home Entertainment Center
                                      • Jim Fasciotti’s Bent Wood Armoire
                                      • Patricia Eckardt’s Refinished Desk
                                      • Daniel Caron’s Antique High Boy Dresser
                                      • DeSantis Designs’ Office Extraordinaire
                                      • Mark and Barbara Malavet’s Bedroom Furniture Reborn
                                      • Andrew Bodfish’s Home Office Desk
                                      • Ronald Reifer’s 1937 Wood Car
                                      • James Evans’ 1937 Indian Chief
                                      • Nick Scarpa’s Slop Sink

                                      Ryan Kent’s Antique-Style Barrel-Top Chest

                                      Dear Minwax,

                                      I wanted to craft something unique and special for my brother’s wedding. I knew it had to outlast its initial purpose to be worthy and I wanted a beautiful, functional, and long-lasting result. So, I decided to make a treasure chest for gift table at the wedding reception.

                                      I began by building an antique-style barrel-top chest with pine. Slowly, I pieced the chest together into two main sections and riveted the lid together in brass. Once in place I carved, shaped, and smoothed out the drop-slot (for cards/cash and such). Then after sanding all the wood I began the artwork design that would ultimately be hand-engraved. Hours and hours of work later I had conjured, mapped, drawn, carved, chipped, and filed my way to a polished look.

                                      After cleaning the surface, I used Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner to treat the two sections, followed by two coats of Minwax Wood Finish Gunstock (stirred, not shaken). Both were applied with a foam brush, but it gave me mixed results. Next time I plan to use a Minwax Wood Finish Stain Brush that matches the quality of the product and project I’m working with.

                                      Following the directions on the label, I discarded all my brushes and picked up a new Minwax Polyurethane 1- ½" Brush to use with my Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane Clear Gloss. Between the two coats and dry time, I fell in love with how great the brush was. Smooth, even, perfect the way I wanted. Clean-up was a breeze with a little paint thinner.

                                      Last of all I put the custom brass hardware and fittings in place. A lid support, hinges, chest straps, corner caps, handles, and a keyed safety latch to keep its future contents safe.

                                      Their reaction at the reception was of shock and disbelief with genuine gratitude. The smiles and joy made every ounce of effort worth it. Making that moment happen required the best. To make the best quality I put in the time. I invested in that quality when I finished with Minwax.

                                      Thank you for helping me draw out my finest work.

                                      Ryan Kent
                                      Morton, IL

                                      Minwax® Products Used

                                      Dennis Briell’s Restored Chair from 1945

                                      Dear Minwax,

                                      I was searching for a chair to put near my front door and wanted something well-built and sturdy, and at the same time good looking. I spotted this chair for sale online and recognized the possibilities. I drove from New York metro to Philadelphia, PA and struck a deal. I paid $65 dollars for the chair. Most of the damage the chair had was from the owner leaving it on his front porch, exposed to the elements. The chair is made from solid walnut by the Gunlocke Chair Co. in Wayland, NY and marked “manufactured in 1945”.

                                      I have refinished bedroom furniture and several cedar hope chests before, but this project was the one that I have enjoyed the most. I am not a pro, but a person who takes project out to the back yard, puts it up on a picnic table, and goes to work. The back of the chair, where the arms and the back come together, had separated and warped. I filled the void between them with wood worker’s glue and then sanded the wood to look like it came from the factory.

                                      It took about 20 hours to fix the arms and strip off the old finish. I sanded and used scrapers to remove the old finish. I then treated the chair with Minwax® pre-stain conditioner and stained with the Minwax® Wood Finish stain in Dark Walnut. The final finish was Minwax Wipe-on Poly. It was the first time I used it, and I will be using it again. I applied four coats following the directions on the can.

                                      My advice to anyone taking on a wood refinishing project is to take your time and know what products you are going to need before you start. Also, do not jump around what area you are working on. If you start on a leg, then finish the work needed on that leg before moving on to another area. Always remember: nobody knows how much time you spend finishing a project, but if done correctly, you will have a thing of beauty that will last for years.

                                      Best regards,

                                      Dennis Briell
                                      West Haverstraw, NY

                                      Minwax® Products Used

                                      Sabrina Pack’s Kitchen Cabinets Makeover

                                      Dear Minwax,

                                      When we first looked at our new home, I did not like anything about the kitchen. Especially the color of stain on the cabinets. It really dated the house and gave a dull feeling. Knowing that replacing the cabinets would be a high expense, I did nothing. One day while I was in town at the local hardware store, I came across the Minwax stains. When a salesman approached me, I asked if he knew anything about Minwax Gel Stain. He said, “I think I heard you just clean the wood and then apply with a brush.” Me being a daredevil, I decided to try it. Seemed easy enough even for a novice like me.

                                      When I came home, I prepared by removing all doors and drawers from the kitchen. I wiped all surfaces with warm water and a clean rag, then allowed to dry. I chose to use the Minwax Gel Stain in the Walnut finish. I stirred the product as directed. It looked very thick and I thought I would end up using several cans. I started with the cabinet base and, using a 1-½ inch paint brush, applied an even coat of the gel stain with long strokes in straight lines. I was impressed with how little stain it took to cover a large area. It went on very easy and was simple to achieve the color I wanted. Once the base cabinets were finished, I moved onto the top. What a change had been made so far! My husband and I were in awe and I still had a long way to go.

                                      I slowed down a lot once I started the cabinet doors. The doors are not smooth finished plain pieces of wood like the cabinet pieces. I had to take my time to get the sides and crevices in the molding pieces. After about 8 hours, I was able to stop for the evening. On day two, I applied the second coat. This time it went faster and I just brushed over a coat to give some richness and dimension. I let it dry overnight and then applied two coats of Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane in Semi-Gloss. I let the polyurethane dry overnight and the next morning was going to see if it all paid off. I eagerly woke up like a kid on Christmas excited to put my kitchen back together. It was beautiful. My back hurt, my hand was possibly in a permanent clutched position, but it was all worth it.

                                      I was pleased with the ease of use and outcome with the Minwax products. I have told everyone I can how wonderful they are. Thank you so much!

                                      Best regards,

                                      Sabrina Pack
                                      Midlothian, TX

                                      Minwax® Products Used

                                      Daniel Blackmon’s Woodworking Passion

                                      Dear Minwax,

                                      I designed and built this desk and matching clock for my wife Janet. The carvings were done on a Carvewright machine – a computer controlled hobby carving machine. First, I designed them on a virtual piece of wood on the computer. Then I uploaded the information from the designer program to a memory card and placed it in the machine. The machine carves the design on real wood!

                                      My wife helped with the staining of the carved areas. We used Minwax Gel Stain in Aged Oak to make the carvings stand out. We chose the Gel Stain so it wouldn’t soak into the endgrain around the carved area (the desk is made from red oak, which is a porous wood). Here’s the tip: always use Gel Stain on areas where you don’t want the stain bleeding into other parts of the project, such as end grain.

                                      After staining the carvings, we applied 3 coats of Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane semi-gloss over the entire piece, sanding between the coats. The poly finish really brings out the beauty of the red oak wood!

                                      Best regards,

                                      Daniel Blackmon
                                      Holden, MO

                                      Minwax® Products Used

                                      John Gordon’s New Life for an Old Table

                                      Dear Minwax,

                                      I found an older oak table at a yard sale and used Minwax stains to create this beautiful remake. Someone’s trash became our treasure!

                                      The table top is Sangria custom-mixed Water Based Wood Stain by Minwax. The trim, base and leaf are Minwax Wood Finish Stain in Ebony. We decided to accent the outside circle of the table top with the ebony color to give it a unique contrast. We keep a shine on it with occasional Tung Oil. Added chairs from a furniture outlet store to complete our new dining room table.

                                      WE LOVE IT!

                                      Best regards,

                                      John Gordon
                                      Richey, FL

                                      Minwax® Products Used

                                      Kate Eshoo’s Salvaged Dresser

                                      Dear Minwax,

                                      I was at the Goodwill store with my sister-in-law the other day and she spotted a very abused dresser. She very much wanted a dresser for my nephews who share a room, and she was particularly fond of the “piratey” hardware. Unfortunately, it looked like a hunk of junk. Aunty to the rescue! I promised I could bring it back to life. Daring me, she plunked down the $15 listed on the price tag.

                                      Accepting her dare, I bought the following supplies: Minwax Water Based Wood Stain in Antique Red ($8), some medium grade sandpaper ($3), and one new pull in chrome for $3 (which I later spray painted to match the existing hardware).

                                      First step: Get rid of hideous water marks and stains all over top of dresser. Did you know that mayonnaise takes out water marks on wood? I’ve used this trick before when “oops” you leave your water glass on wood and it leaves a ring. Mayonnaise usually gets it out in just a few hours.

                                      Second step: Get rid of disgusting burn mark on top of dresser. I gently sanded it out using medium grade sand paper, working with the wood grain, not against it. After getting rid of the burn mark, I then gently sanded the rest of the dresser before applying the stain.

                                      Third step: Apply water-based stain to sanded wood top and drawers. This was unbelievable to me, how one coat of Minwax stain completely changed the piece. It was so easy! I used a sponge, and followed the directions on the can. You can see in the photo how the stain dramatically changes the raw unhealthy wood into an even smooth surface. The stain transformed the dresser to make it look like new cherry wood. Unbelievable what a little elbow grease and a can of stain can do!

                                      Final step: Apply one coat of Minwax Wipe-On Poly to top for protection. Reattach hardware.

                                      You can imagine what a dresser like this would cost in a furniture store. My 9-year-old and 7-year-old pirate-loving nephews are going to love it!

                                      Best regards,

                                      Kate Eshoo
                                      Petaluma, CA

                                      Minwax® Products Used

                                      James & Gladys Feeley’s Refinished Kitchen

                                      Dear Minwax,

                                      This project started with an ugly white-washed kitchen. At first, my goal was to just sand the cabinets a little and paint them an antique white, but after I stripped one of the cabinet doors, I realized that they were a beautiful Maple. I worked at an antique store during my high school years, and I will never paint over beautiful solid wood. So, I began stripping the whole kitchen.

                                      I really didn’t know how much work this would require, but let’s just say that half-way through, I was ready to give up. If it wasn’t for my Fiancé Gladys kicking my butt, and also lending a hand during the staining, I would probably still be working on it. By the end of the project we were married. You could say that Minwax played a part in bringing us together.

                                      We chose Minwax Sedona Red stain color because we wanted a rich Cherry finish look, and Sedona Red was the reddest of all your stains. Although we had to apply three coats to get the desired results, we feel each time we look at the kitchen, it was well worth the time and effort. We are very proud of the outcome, and some of our neighbors cannot believe that we did it ourselves.

                                      My tips for do-it-yourselfers are:

                                      1. The cleaner you strip the wood the easier the rest of the project is. I started with a thick gooey stripper at first, and finished with Minwax Antique Furniture Refinisher and (0000) steel wool. This cleans the remnants of the initial strip, and prepares the wood for staining with minimal sanding needed.
                                      2. When sanding soft woods like Maple, do not use an electric palm sander. I learned the hard way… the first coat of stain revealed lots of electric sanding marks. I had to go back and hand sand many of the doors again. I recommend hand sanding everything. It’s not that difficult if you use Minwax Antique Furniture Refinisher with steel wool to clean the wood first.
                                      3. Of course, even after hand sanding, Maple is still a difficult wood to stain. That’s why, with soft woods, you should use Minwax Pre-stain Wood Conditioner. I didn’t know about it, until my sister’s husband told me about it. He had put new Pine base boards and door moldings in their home, and he used Minwax Pre-stain Wood Conditioner before staining. It softens and hides a lot of the wood’s blemishes and inconsistencies.
                                      4. We finished the project with Minwax Polyurethane. I tried both the brush-on and the wipe-on, and I think both have its strengths. The brush-on was good for the doors when they were laying flat. You could apply it a little thick, and let it dry like that. The wipe-on is good for vertical surfaces when you want to keep drips to a minimum.

                                      Our next goal is to have granite counter tops installed, but we’re still saving our money for that. I’m refinishing the master bathroom vanity now… exclusively with Minwax products of course.

                                      Very Best Regards,
                                      James & Gladys Feeley
                                      Chula Vista, CA

                                      Minwax® Products Used

                                      Jeff Berman’s Rescued Wood Desk

                                      Dear Minwax,

                                      I recently taught myself how to refinish fine wood furniture. I had an old desk that was in desperate need of refinishing. After preparing the wood, my friend recommended I use all Minwax products for the best results. Since the desk was a mix of solid wood types, I started with Minwax pre-stain wood conditioner to ensure even staining. The stain I used was Minwax oil-based red mahogany, followed by Minwax fast-drying oil-based polyurethane. I finished the project off with a Minwax wipe-on poly for that hand rubbed look. The desk now looks fantastic and I look forward to enjoying it for many years.

                                      Jeffrey Berman
                                      San Francisco, CA

                                      Minwax® Products Used

                                      Billy Strong’s Retirement Chest

                                      Dear Minwax,

                                      Here is a retirement chest I built for a very good friend of mine who is retiring from the Navy after 23 years of service. It was an honor to build this chest for him. The chest is constructed of Ash, Texas Pecan, and Mappa Burl veneer. The joints are all mortise and integral tenon. The finish is your Minwax Dark Walnut stain, Helmsman Spar varnish, and Minwax furniture polish. Thank you for delivering such a great product as its use and reliablility are superb.

                                      Billy Strong
                                      Ingleside, TX

                                      Minwax® Products Used

                                      Larry Yaskulka’s Rocking Bulldozer

                                      Dear Minwax,

                                      I am the proud grandfather of 6 grandchildren. For each of their first birthdays I like to make them something special, this particular project had a little extra. I am a construction super and was watching a bulldozer rocking back and forth as it moved the dirt. I thought that would be a good idea for a rocking toy, so I took some pictures then made a prototype out of scrap materials and then proceeded to make the attached finished toy. The woods used where Wenge, Yellow Heart, Cherry, & Purple Heat.

                                      I used your sanding sealer (which saves a great deal of tedious sanding time) and then brush applied 4 coats of your high gloss water based poly. I wish I knew about the Wipe-On when I finished it. I think your products are super. Keep up the good work.

                                      Larry Yaskulka
                                      Manchester, NJ

                                      Minwax® Products Used

                                      Mike Mathis’ Custom Guitar

                                      Dear Minwax,

                                      This is a custom guitar I made. The body is ash and it has a maple neck. All the parts on it are gold plated. The finish was completed with only Minwax Products. Thank You for these great products.

                                      I used Golden Pecan Wood Finish™ stain with Clear Brushing Lacquer. The body was stained with Golden Pecan Wood Finish™ stain after torching the wood grain and finished with 15 coats of Minwax Wipe-On Poly.

                                      Mike Mathis
                                      Sherwood, AR

                                      Minwax® Products Used

                                      Lou Justin’s Hardwood Floor Inlay

                                      Dear Minwax,

                                      My First project is a 25" floor medallion. I figured out a way to make “tessellated” free form tiles using custom router templates that I make in my shop. When I create project from a single wood species I usually stain and urethane. This projects I used Oak, Walnut, Cherry and Hard Maple. Therefore, I just decided to add a urethane finish and not mess with contrasting wood colors. I am really bad when it comes to final finish. I used Minwax Wipe On Poly! I think you should call it “urethane for dummies”. I would have tried it sooner! It’s the easiest and most foolproof urethane I ever used!

                                      Lou Justin
                                      Holly, MI

                                      Minwax® Products Used

                                      Anthony Squadroni’s Artwork

                                      Dear Minwax,

                                      I am writing to you because in all of your advertisements I have never seen or heard of anyone using your wonderful product in the way that I do. I know people use it for woodworking and crafts. I have a unique art form that uses many of your stains after etching my creation in pencil. Quite often people think the work is inlayed.

                                      All of my artwork is done on maple panels. After drawing the subject matter in pencil, it is then etched into the wood which prevents the stains from running together. Quite often I mix Minwax stains to create different hues/shades, then I spray one coat of Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane aerosol in clear gloss, then hand-rub three coats of Minwax Wipe-On Poly in clear gloss. Some of the Minwax Wood Finish™ colors I use are: 209, 210B, 215, 223, and 224.

                                      Anthony Squadroni
                                      Warren Center, PA

                                      Minwax® Products Used

                                      Ron Applegate’s Copycat Table

                                      Dear Minwax,

                                      A woodworker at heart and employed by General Motors for 36 years, when retirement last year provided Ron Applegate with the time to spend in his workshop, he was raring to go. While finishing up the last of projects requested by wife Sue, Christmas present requests were made by his daughters. Not just simple requests, but large furniture type requests.

                                      One of his daughters requested a piece she’d seen in a high-end furniture store. After reviewing the piece, an apothecary table, Ron made modifications and began working. Although the piece in the store was pine, Ron used solid oak. To retain the natural colors and grain, he used Minwax® Wood Finish™ to provide the long-lasting wood tone color.

                                      With a five-year-old grandson crashing cars and construction equipment into it, Ron knew it had to be durable as well as beautiful. According to Cathy, Ron said that, after construction of the table, “he

                                      1. prepped it
                                      2. applied a coating of the wood hardener
                                      3. lightly sanded
                                      4. applied another coat of hardener
                                      5. more light sanding.

                                      He then stained and used four coats of polyurethane. He used the wood hardener to ‘join the grain’ and make it as durable as possible.” She notes, “Actually, so far so good as construction equipment and a coffee cup has been dropped on it, juice spilled and the use of pencils without anything under the paper.”

                                      Minwax® Products Used

                                      Ron Householder’s Juniper Bed

                                      Dear Minwax,

                                      I searched for a long time for the character pieces of western juniper, then spent about one month making the pieces fit together. I also sanded them down to a final finish with 220 grit paper.

                                      Minwax® Products Used

                                      Frances Ann Tyler Sims’s Faux Finishes

                                      Dear Minwax,

                                      I used two colors of Gel Stain in a very simple two-step process to create a faux wood finish for small furniture items such as tables. I have found Gel Stain to be ideal for other type of faux finishes, not just wood.

                                      I used Gel Stain in Antique Maple and Walnut to create a faux brick on my living room wall. I used the stains to create a faux wood and stone finish on my fireplace. What a great product!

                                      I bought a can of Minwax Gel Stain in antique maple on the clearance rack at Home Depot last year. I was not sure what I was going to use it for but I am not one to resist a bargain.

                                      Initially I used it for antiquing and restoring faded wood surfaces and it did an excellent job. The consistency is wonderful and it has the ability to soften the finish of other faux finishes. I really wanted to try wood graining but was daunted by the expense of the tools as well as the artist oils usually recommended. I was also concerned about the end results. Would I go through this expense only to have my project look horrendous? Additionally the wood graining tools gave too much of an artificial wood effect.

                                      Although I am a former teacher and quilt artist, I recently began making my own furniture from particleboard that really pushed me into trying wood graining. I bought a can of walnut gel stain and started working.

                                      I came up with a very simple two step process which would be hard for anyone to mess up and with very pleasing results. I have also not used any special tools. I rent a room in an antiques and collectables mall where I sell many of the things that I make including my quilts. I recently began making and selling tables there and have sold out twice. They may be in a gallery show shortly as well. Additionally, I did a faux brick wall and a faux wood and stone fireplace in my home with gel stain.

                                      I have included some photos of a small portion of my gel stain projects in various stages of completion. The most amazing thing is that all of it was done with the same cans of gel stain!

                                      I bought some more gel stain and have already started more projects since the photos were taken. I wonder if gel stain in other colors is being considered? I can only imagine what effect could be created if colors such as blue and red could be included.

                                      Thanks for making a great product!
                                      Frances Ann Tyler Sims
                                      Detroit, MI

                                      Minwax® Products Used

                                      Minwax® Gel Stain
                                      Antique Maple
                                      Antique Maple

                                      Robert J. Powell’s Nursery Furniture

                                      Dear Minwax,

                                      My daughter requested nursery furniture for her new baby. The style crib and dresser she wanted were from different manufacturers and only available in different species with different finishes. The dilemma fell to “GrandPop” to build the two pieces with matching wood and finish. I drew out plans using “Cad Key”. The crib was finished before the baby was born and the dresser was finished two months later.

                                      Minwax® Products Used

                                      Andy MacLaurin’s Lightbox

                                      Dear Minwax,

                                      My daughter Mira was born on June 6, 2002. I made her this lightbox using birch plywood, plastic transparent paneling and fluorescent lights. I decided to make the box brightly colored because I thought it would attract my baby girl’s eyes. I used Minwax stain instead of paint to allow the wood’s grain to show as much as possible. I used Minwax Water Based Wood Stain, Cherry Blossom tint to achieve the beautiful color. The color idea of purple came to me because my daughter’s full name is Mira Violet Jean MacLaurin. With the purplish stain, the box also incorporates the “Violet” part of her name.

                                      Andy MacLaurin
                                      Austin, TX

                                      Minwax® Products Used

                                      Tony Lenne’s Quiltrack

                                      Dear Minwax,

                                      While cleaning at her father’s home, my wife found a quilt which belonged to her grandmother. We had just finished remodeling the living room and she wanted to display this family heirloom. She looked at several area craft shows but was unable to find a rack she liked.

                                      My father is an excellent carpenter, though not by trade. Although I have not inherited his patience, he has shared his wood working skills with me. So I proudly announced to my wife that I would build her a rack.

                                      We started by combining several different features she had seen into a single drawing. Then using a cardboard template, I cut out the parts for the rack. I chose yellow pine with which to work. The rack was then dowelled and glued together. Following the final sanding, we then went shopping for the stain.

                                      I like to use Minwax® Wood Finish™ to stain my projects. For the rack she chose Minwax® Wood Finish™ #245 Golden Pecan. It penetrates the wood evenly and turns an inexpensive piece of wood into a thing of beauty. I sealed the rack with Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane. I used the clear satin finish.

                                      I had purchased a Minwax® brush for the first time, and found it worked well in applying the Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane.

                                      Thanks for producing the quality products you do, and for honoring my project this month.

                                      Tony Lenne

                                      Minwax® Products Used

                                      Bill & Louise McKinnon’s Recreation Room

                                      Dear Minwax,

                                      We are enclosing pictures of a successful project we hope you will include in your Wood Finishing Showcase. The renovation of our recreation room took over 5 years to complete, but with a little help from Minwax® and a lot of help from our friends, we believe the results are spectacular!

                                      The inspiration for taking on such a daunting task came from a local tragedy in our hometown. A beautiful historic building was allegedly torched by some mischievous youngsters one day and it pretty much burned to the ground! In touring the building after the devastating fire, we were able to salvage only a few things, including some antique oak paneling and oak doors, which had been used to decorate an office space used for “secretarial pools” during the 1920’s.

                                      The doors were real gems, and we salvaged a total of six. Each one was at least two inches in thickness, with colorful stained glass windows on the top third of the door and louvered vents at the kick plate. The oak paneling was also quite original, even though it was blackened with soot from the fire.

                                      First, we stripped down the doors and the paneling to remove all charred paint and varnish, using Formby’s® Furniture Refinisher. Secondly, we sanded everything down thoroughly using a variety of sandpaper, from coarse to fine grades. Then, we filled the jagged and charred edges using Minwax® High Performance Wood Hardener and Minwax® High Performance Wood Filler. And, finally, we stained the doors and the paneling with Minwax® Wood Finish™ Red Mahogany and top-coated with Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane, satin sheen.

                                      Minwax® Products Used

                                      Alan and John Slade’s Home Entertainment Center

                                      Dear Minwax,

                                      After many years of trying to find a suitable home for our television and stereo equipment, we decided to design and build our own. After removing an existing wall, we built the cabinetry out of a medium-density hardboard (joined with biscuits) laminated with 1/16" cherry wood. We bought oak doors for the panel centers and laminated them with more cherry wood. We then stained the wood with a blend of 2 quarts of Minwax® Wood Finish™ Red Oak 215 and 1½ pints of Minwax® Wood Finish™ Cherry 235 stains to give it just the right color for us. We completed the job with two coats of Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane. We sure are thrilled with the finished project!

                                      John A. Slade

                                      Minwax® Products Used

                                      Jim Fasciotti’s Bent Wood Armoire

                                      Dear Minwax,

                                      I chose an oval door, bent wood project due to its uniqueness and because I had not done anything similar to it in the past. I used the Kerf technique to bend the wood and fashioned the oval opening and door using a router jig I made for this project. I finished the armoire with Minwax® Wood Finish™ Penetrating Stain in Red Mahogany 225, followed by a protective coat of Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane. I applied both with spray gun set at 25 psi.

                                      Jim Fasciotti

                                      Minwax® Products Used

                                      Patricia Eckardt’s Refinished Desk

                                      Dear Minwax,

                                      My Ancestor’s Legacy

                                      My great grandfather, Karl Schaum, who was born in Germany in 1868, made this desk. My earliest memories of this desk are my grandfather sitting at it, and settling household affairs. I grew up with this desk, it is a large part of my childhood, and it reminds me of the loving grandparents I had.

                                      My uncle gave the desk to me, and my fondest desire was to restore it. The ancestor that I had spent the last few years researching made this; it was part of my past and my present and my future. With each stroke of steel wool, the memories drifted back of my grandfather and my childhood. I wondered if my grandfather would be pleased that his desk, his father’s desk, was being restored.

                                      I worked with love, and tears, and memories, on this, my greatest treasure. When I took the drawers out to redo, I saw my great grandfather’s writing on the bottom, his measurements for a “perfect fit”. I noticed that the back was solid mahogany, a treasure in itself.

                                      After hours of sanding and stripping, it was time for the big day, and I was terrified. I had spent hours on this and wanted it to be perfect. I was so afraid that I was going to spoil it, and it would be ruined. I used Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner on it first, to seal the wood. With the first stroke of applying it I saw that my fears were unjustified. I saw the beautiful grain of the wood come alive again. My desk was starting to look good, and with the application of Conditioner my confidence was restored in the project. When I applied the Minwax® Wood Finish™ Dark Walnut Stain, I knew that all my time and effort was not in vain. I was filled with deep emotion; everything was going to be fine.

                                      To complete the project, I used Minwax® Paste Finishing Wax to seal the wood and further bring out it’s luster. The Wax did a great job, and the wood is as smooth as glass. It just seemed to bring out even more of the woods highlights. I like using the Paste Wax rather than other products, there is a certain sense of putting on the “finishing” touches with it, and then when you rub it off, it’s like getting an added bonus, that great shine, and the knowledge that it is protected.

                                      My husband scoured the internet for the perfect hardware for it. After purchasing just the right light for the inside of the desk, everything was perfect. This was a masterpiece to me, a priceless treasure. How can you put a price on your past? What price can be placed on hearing your grandfather calling your name in your heart? There are no words to share with you to express how I feel about this desk and this project.

                                      I have in the past few months just walked over to it and touched it, and felt such joy. When I've sat at my desk writing, I know my ancestors have touched the same spot. I have said to my husband countless times, “I just love my desk”. I feel such a connection with this piece of wood; it is the soul of my ancestors, and a piece of my heart.

                                      Patricia Eckardt

                                      Minwax® Products Used

                                      Daniel Caron’s Antique High Boy Dresser

                                      The previous owner of this bedroom set tried to “antique” the finish some 20 years ago. Daniel Caron decided to strip the pieces to bare wood and refinish them. Daniel chose to use Minwax® PolyShades® for beautiful wood tone color and durable polyurethane protection in one step. The bedroom set was finished with PolyShades® Classic Oak Gloss 470. One look at the before and after photos of this handsome High Boy shows that Daniel made a wise choice.

                                      Minwax® Products Used

                                      DeSantis Designs’ Office Extraordinaire

                                      While it is unusual to feature a commercial entry into the Wood Finishing Showcase, this submission was so beautiful that we couldn’t resist. DeSantis Designs in Herndon Virginia finished the Levine Library by first applying Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner and then staining the Mahogany solids and veneer with Minwax® Wood Finish™ Cherry, Dark Walnut and Ebony. Contrasting stain colors were used on the doors and drawers to create a panel illusion. The glorious results speak for themselves.

                                      Minwax® Products Used

                                      Mark and Barbara Malavet’s Bedroom Furniture Reborn

                                      Dear Minwax,

                                      When I was a young boy, this is the furniture that my parents bought me for my bedroom. At the time furniture was not the most important thing in my life. Through the years it served its purpose and lasted into my adulthood. When I got married, like many newlyweds, this became part of our first bedroom set. Now as a father of three young children, the furniture has moved into our daughters’ bedroom.

                                      Through the years refinishing the furniture has always crossed my mind, and now that it has gone to my daughters I decided to take on the project. First, the furniture needed some repair, like replacing the tracks for some of the drawers. Next I thoroughly sanded the dressers. With great anticipation, the process of staining was about to begin. It was highly recommended that we use Minwax® Water Based Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner… right away I started to see the results of the sanding as the natural beauty of the wood starts to show itself off. Next we wanted a more youthful modern look so we stained the top surface with the Minwax® Water Based Wood Stain Decorator Tint color Dusty Rose which was so easy to apply that kids got in on the act! They stained the knobs of the dresser “all by themselves”. For the rest of the surfaces we applied 3 coats of Minwax® Water Based Wood Stain White Oak. The project was then completed with 3 coats of Minwax® Polycrylic™ clear finish.

                                      Well, by using Minwax® products, a little elbow grease and a couple of new knobs, my daughters are very happy with their “new” furniture that their dad “made for them. I also have the feeling that this furniture that I didn’t think much of as a kid has a whole new meaning to a new generation. Not bad for a company that “Makes and Keeps Wood Beautiful”.

                                      Minwax® Products Used

                                      Andrew Bodfish’s Home Office Desk

                                      Dear Minwax,

                                      This project is a home office desk that I designed and built. I had searched for just the right desk design for a long time, one that I could use for my computer or just for writing. I didn’t like a lot of the designs I came across because they didn’t disguise the computer very well or were just too small. So armed with CAD software and a good wood working background I set out and designed a desk with all of the features and looks that I required.

                                      The desk is made primarily with red oak solids. The top is accented with solid walnut to provide some contrast with the oak panels. Back and inside panels are plywood veneer. All visible side and front panels are raised oak solid. The left side houses two file drawers. The right side houses the computer console and printer. The keyboard and mouse pull out from behind a swing up panel in the middle. When the desk is closed up, only the monitor remains sitting on the top. All computer cables are routed through a double wall back panel and into the right side. This makes most of the cable inconspicuous.

                                      After four months of construction came the final task, what type of finish? I have used Minwax products in the past with great results and decided to do the same with this project. I reviewed several color choices and decided to go with one coat of Minwax® Wood Finish™ Golden Oak. I followed with three coats of Minwax® Polycrylic™ Clear Semi-Gloss. I prefer the Polycrylic because of its fast drying time and soap & water clean up. The results were very pleasing.

                                      Minwax® Products Used

                                      Ronald Reifer’s 1937 Wood Car

                                      Dear Minwax,

                                      It all started with a wind storm. A couple of shingles blew off the barn and it leaked right on top of some old Popular Mechanics magazines. Sorting out the wet ones I came across a copy of one that had a wood car make on a Volkswagen chassis, (other than wood it doesn’t look like mine because the engine was in the back). They did mention that if you built it you’d have to design your own.

                                      I started with a front clip off a 78 Trans Am. Rebuilt the motor, found a 350 tubo transmission and then a positraction rear end from an 83 Trans Am. I used the solid frame from a Dodge D-50 pickup (mini truck) When that was completed I bolted two 2X6’s on either side from the front to the rear. The passenger compartment is ½ inch Baltic birch plywood with ¼inch luan glued and fastened in place. The front, hood and the trunk are made like a model airplane structure using oak. The bumpers are solid oak fastened with steel braces to the frame. The surround of the grill is the end hand rail off an old shuffle board table (I made a fireplace surround out of the table) The back tail lights are from an old Thunderbird, so is the instrument cluster. The steering wheel is off my bass boat (I have another one).

                                      The stain is Minwax® Wood Finish™ Golden Pecan. The top coat is Minwax® Helmsman® Spar Urethane gloss. If you look real close I do have a couple of sags on the side panels but no one even in the “Coopersville Days” (in memory of Del Shannon), the second largest car show in Michigan, noticed. Every one says what a beautiful finish. There is so much wood with that rich look it’s like my grass if I miss a blade or two cutting no one sees it but me.

                                      Minwax® Products Used

                                      James Evans’ 1937 Indian Chief

                                      Dear Minwax,

                                      Dear folks at Minwax, my name is James Evans and I love working with wood. The photos are my latest art project, the 1937 Indian Chief, “The Wooden Indian.”

                                      I am someone who has always admired American Indians and motorcycles&helip; what a combination. The year of 2001 is the centennial year of America’s first motorcycle, what timing. The project took three years to build, and I’ll tell you this Indian does not have anything but Minwax® Wood Finish® Cherry and a number of coats of Minwax® Helmsman® Spar Urethane. This combination brought out the beautiful luster of the wood. This Indian is built of bent and laminated spruce, yellow pine and birch.

                                      I chose to use the Helmsman® Spar Urethane in varying sheens on the motorcycle. The fenders, gas tank, frame and toolbox are high gloss. The tires, motor, transmission and saddle are satin finish. Finally, I used the semi-gloss on the chain case & handle bars. From the satin to semi-gloss to high gloss, Helmsman’s the BEST! If this sounds like an advertisement, well it sure could be!

                                      Thank You,

                                      Minwax® Products Used

                                      Nick Scarpa’s Slop Sink

                                      Dear Minwax,

                                      Our first floor laundry room is the entry to the house from both the garage and the back deck. My wife, Gail, hated the look of the slop sink that greeted us upon entry to the house.

                                      Taking inspiration from a Shaker style dry sink Gail had purchased several years ago in Lancaster, PA, I decided to try my hand at making a surround for the slop sink. Being a beginner woodworker with only basic tools, the simple elegance of the Shaker style appealed to me.

                                      After a weekend of cutting, routing, sanding and assembling, I was ready to begin finishing. Because the pine used is soft, I used Minwax& Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner to allow even penetration of the stain. For color, we decided upon Minwax® Wood Finish™ #245 Golden Pecan. This gave the wood a nice country glow. For the finishing touch, I sealed the piece with clear satin Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane.

                                      Gail now thinks the room has a “finished” look!

                                      Minwax® Products Used

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