How to refinish rosewood, was the first question I asked myself when I realized what this stereo console was made of. I saw it in the front of a thrift store but walked right by it because the rosewood had UV faded and turned a very dull brown, like an uninteresting walnut. On the way out I took a closer look and found that the insides of this Packard Bell stereo had not been exposed to the same amount of UV the outside had been. I gave this piece a thorough inspection for any damage beyond the finish. All the veneer was in tact with no major blemishes. I decided that even if the stereo did not work it would make a great piece for storage, so I brought it home.

How to Refinish Rosewood

In found condition

UV faded rosewood

The top was in especially bad shape.

mid century rosewood

Inside of the speaker door, obviously rosewood.

rosewood credenza

Inside lid of the record player

restore rosewood

The finish on the top was so bad it was almost flaking off. I decided to skip any chemical stripper and went right to sanding.

rosewood restoration

Pretty crazy what was hiding under there.

I forgot to mention that the back was completely finished as well. The plug and wiring came out of the bottom middle so that it could be placed in the middle of the room. The insides and back were so well preserved that I did not want to refinish the entire inside and out. I chose to just refinish the exterior minus the back.

faded rosewood

Here it is all sanded.

is this rosewood

Another “all sanded” shot.

rosewood veneer restoration

As you can see, there was a stark contrast as to what it was and what I had done to it.

I knew I would have to stain the rosewood if I wanted to match the inside and back of the stereo. I was also quite nervous because I knew I could mess this whole thing up with the wrong stain. There looked to be some deep reds and almost purples in the original finish. I choose a deep red stain and just went for it.

staining rosewood

Here it is all stained.

amazing rosewood grain

For a finish coat I decided to use Shellac. I knew I needed to build up some depth to really let this rosewood shine. I put on a total of about 8 or 9 coats.

finishing rosewood shellac

All finished. The Shellac was quite glossy so I knocked it down with some 0000 steal wool and it was perfect.

mid century restoration

mid century stereo

Packard Bell stereo

rosewood furniture restoration

revitalizing rosewood

My amateur rosewood refinish turned out pretty well. I failed to mention that every component in the stereo worked and it sounded great!