How to Refinish Wood

Wood Furniture Refinishing

Maybe you are looking to buy some second hand tables, chairs, or other wooden kitchen furniture to refinish.

Glasses On Dining Room Table

Perhaps, you are getting into the antique business and you want to improve the appearance of a piece you got at an auction for a steal. Or, maybe you are just tired of the looks of one of your personal kitchen items like a table or a hutch. If so, knowing how to strip, sand, and stain (a.k.a. refinishing) wood is good knowledge to have. This post will cover those three steps and include tips along the way.

Remove the Old Finish From the Piece

Choosing a quality stripper to use for removing the old finish is a good idea. You want your job to be as easy as possible and when the stripper does most of the work, that works toward your goal. You need to choose the right applicator for your project. Being able to apply the stripper easily and evenly will help you remove it with the least amount of effort.

After giving the stripper some time to do its job, begin scraping the old finish from the furniture piece with a putty knife or other flat, stiff tool. Going with the grain makes the most sense here since your do not want to mar the surface. Once you’ve gotten the old finish off, it is time to complete this step by cleaning the surface.

The residual stripper that has remained on the furniture needs to be removed. So, after it has dried, use mineral spirits to clean the item fro any stripper that may be left on the item. This will prepare the surface for the application of the new finish. Once you have cleaned the stripper off the item, it is time to move on to the next step.

Sanding the Wood In Preparation For the New Finish

Sanding is the second step (or phase) in the refinishing process. You can sand the piece with sandpaper by hand, however a palm sander will make the process go faster. You may be familiar with the proper sanding technique, but if not you can Google how to sand wood for a smooth finish. I will briefly highlight how the process works. You sand the whole item with sand paper with a low grit and then repeat the sanding with a higher grit sandpaper. Each time your change to a higher grit, the surface will be smoother. You can continue sanding until you are satisfied with the smoothness of the finish.

Wipe down the entire to remove any dust that is left from the sanding. Starting with a dust free surface will compliment the next step, adding the new finish.

Applying the New Finish

The finishing process for a piece of furniture that you have removed the old finish from consists of two parts. 1) Applying stain, and 2) Adding clear coat to the piece.

Putting the stain on the furniture is fairly straight forward. You simply, wipe it on with an old but clean cloth. Wiping with the grain is recommended to avoid streaking. You can put as many coats of stain on the item as you want. Just be sure to let each coat dry before adding the next.

After you have applied the stain evenly to your new “old” kitchen furniture and you are happy with the color, you are ready to continue. Spray on the clear coat to seal up the surface of the piece. As with all the other application steps, apply the clear coat evenly to the furniture. Doing so will result in a nice, even finish that will add a sheen and protect the stain that you have applied.

Once the clear coat is dried, you are ready to begin using your new furniture in your kitchen. You did it! Now, sit back and look at the results of your hard work while you sip a hot beverage of your choosing.

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