So this Instructable is just to show people how they can save a piece of furniture rather than junk it. I highly doubt this would work on laminated MDF crap furniture, but if it is real wood it will. If you have particle board furniture consider breaking it down and using the almost wood for an indoor project.
Either way this is almost as good as bringing a Puppy home from the Shelter
NOTE: Saving a Puppy's Life is more Important!
Step 1: Supplies
Stain ( your preference, I used MINWAX Old American )
Foam brush ( By packs of them at the Dollar Store or HF for like a $1 )
Latex Gloves ( preferably non powdered ) I think a Box is like $7 more for Nitrile if you you are allergic to Latex
Safety Glasses ( Always use Proper PPE! )
Rags or Ripped up T-Shirts
Scott's Liquid Gold for final cleaning a day or two after stain technique
Step 2: The Quick Stain and Wipe
You do not have to do overlapping strokes or anything to that effect just make sure stain is over the whole area, I actually will dab extra in any nook or crevice or swirl the brush around the are to make sure I get into the nooks and crannies.
Now take the rag and wipe off in a circular motion, this should blend everything in as well as push extra stain into the crevices.
The Top shelf in the Picture has been done while the lower ones are still as where.
Not a good picture but you will see in the following , remember you will still see the scratches they will be darker than the wood not lighter which looks a lot better, IMHO.
Step 3: Comparison
I would normally coat the whole shelf ,as you want to do this job in sections because you are not really staining the proper way just correcting abuse.
If you were to do multiple parts then wipe it might cause issues. This piece had a poly ( or most likely lacquer of some sort ) that part won't readily take the stain you just want to get the crevices dark.
Step 4: Possible Issues
Step 5: Final Piece
Other than the Quick Stain technique described I will tighten all screws and then if still bolt tight select points and use a brad gun to secure this piece tight.
So before you decide to throw away some old piece of furniture Consider saving it. This job would take maybe 15 minutes had I not had to remove gloves and take pictures.
At the very least , take 15 minutes to do the job and then give it to the GOODWILL or something! With all the crap they make now, Proper wood items should be used and not forgotten ( IMHO )
Please wait a day or two then clean piece with Liquid Gold and a rag. No matter how much you rubbed it off initially it is possible that there will still be residue. This process will remove the residue and leave it nice and shiny!