Refinishing Wood Furniture │ DIY Tips

Although I have learned a lot about painting and refinishing furniture, I wasn’t always all that knowledgeable. When the protective finish has been removed to your satisfaction, wipe down the piece with mineral spirits (this will deactivate any remaining stripping product that may be in the grain). As my 4 year old and I opened drawers to see that they all functioned, I spotted the sold sign on top. To be fair, there are instances when you really don’t want to remove a finish, mainly on handmade primitive pieces 100+ years old.

Check patched spots to make sure they are not higher or lower than the furniture surface; make any necessary adjustments by either sanding more or refilling the area. For small projects, aerosol spray paint stripper is really convenient because it’s easy to control and won’t spill. The sellers of this dresser were in a hurry to move some furniture out of a rental house that they owned, and I spent a couple of hours helping them. Most old pine pieces were painted right away, so it’s rare that you’ll come across one you’ll want to strip and refinish.

By the way, chalk paint can be painted straight on, no sanding or undercoating – RESULT!! I got a good price on the table since at some point someone had stacked something heavy/sharp on top and dragged it off, leaving a couple scrapes through new paint, old paint, gesso base, all the way down to the original wood. With garage sale season now in full swing, here’s how to take wood furniture from trash to treasure while stepping lightly on the planet. Shellac or varnish will both work over most finishes but shellac should be used if the piece is an antique.

But of course, when I’m doing just the little detail areas, I’m not trying to get every last bit of finish off..I’m just trying to get the shine off so the paint will stick. Here’s a way to stop your plumb line from tangling: Wind it onto the reel of an old chalk-line holder. Some paint can remain, but you want your surface to be smooth and you don’t want it to have any gloss.

But I have to take the course to find out how to determine what other finishes were used on the piece of furniture. Refurbishing old furniture is often a more economical option than purchasing new furniture, Erickson said. Chalk paint dries within minutes, so by the time you paint the fronts of a few drawers the first one is ready for a second coat. I used a Q-Tip to fill the trenches with vaseline to protect them from the paint.

This is a product that gives you the look of hand painted French furniture with a velvety, matte finish. When the cans are ready to be thrown out, make sure the lids have been removed to let waste haulers know the paint is dry. Let the finish dry overnight and you’ll be ready to proudly display your furniture restoration project. It really makes you appreciate how much work and knowledge it takes to repair and restore old furniture. I hadn’t thought stripping stain would be so easy but now I think I’ll do that.

How to Apply a Penetrating Resin Furniture Finish Like varnish, penetrating resin is very durable to wear and tear. You don’t have to remove the paint/poly completely, you just want to rough it up enough that a new coat of paint will adhere to the surface. I realize you did this a few years ago but I came across your blog when searching for painting furniture. It really depends on what type of paint you use and how much you need, how many pieces you are doing etc. That brings up another pitfall: You can do a lot of damage to furniture if you use the wrong products, equipment or techniques. This way you will see exactly how the stain will appear once the furniture is refinished.


Bonding primers don’t require sanding, even if your piece is heavily varnished, but I do find giving the furniture a good scuffing with a medium (80 grit) sanding wedge not only helps clean off any debris, but gives your primer a better surface to cling too. Here’s a look at how he strips, seals, colors, and varnishes to give vintage woodwork a fresh face. Once a piece is stripped of old bad finishes and cleaned, the art of the refinisher really comes into play.

Stripping takes off the old layers to reveal the natural wood, which is the first step in restraining furniture. If you want to try a paint that does not require any topcoat sealing, give Fusion Mineral Paint a try. Since we have opened this company for over 40 years, we are extremely experienced when it comes to sanding any type of furniture and different wood.

I have thought about getting into antique furniture repair but it’s too intimidating for me. I keep thinking how I might return a piece of furniture in worse condition than I received it. The best thing about redoing wood furniture is you can get an amazing look by re-staining the top. You have your choice of several options, Minwax water based Polycrylic in satin or gloss, Varathane water based protectant in satin or gloss, or for a hand rubbed matte finish, choose a furniture wax protectant like Briwax, Minwax clear, SC Johnson, or Annie Sloan.

Since it was the paint of choice in Colonial America, it gives a more authentic look to older pieces of furniture. After the paint was completely dry, I sprayed a few coats of Minwax Polycrylic in Clear Satin to protect the chairs. The paint and primer in one would probably work ok, although I usually always apply a thin layer of plain primer first just to be sure no stains will peek through. It is your favourite chair, an antique you have had for as long as you can remember.

Paint and finish stripping chemicals are highly toxic, so it’s essential to set up a well-ventilated work area. Switch to a clean rag for a final pass over the furniture to make sure you wipe off any residue. I started out working with an antique dealer, he provided me with lots of items he had bought that turned out to need too much work for his restorer to leave a profit. How to Shellac Furniture Shellac is very easy to apply, but unfortunately, this furniture finish is not very durable. Before you paint any furniture, make sure your surface has been scuff sanded, tacked and cleaned to remove any musty smell. This will allow you to remove all of the paint before the chemical stripper dries.

Despite what you may read on the back of a can, if you want to do a really good job, some sanding will still be required after the old finish is removed by the stripper. I have vintage mid-century dressers that have veneer siding and I’ve been terrified to refinish them until now, thanks to this tutorial. Assessing Unfinished Furniture There are several things you should look out for when purchasing unfinished furniture, including the type of wood used, if the joints are secure, and if the piece is well sanded and ready for finishing. If you are nervous about using it again, I do recommend wax over painted furniture.

When you apply your new stain, the old stuff is still in some of the grain and you will get a blotchy finish. Not all refinishing experts are not experienced with refinishing antiques, so if it’s a valuable antique seek out someone with the appropriate experience. I actually have two old dressers (as in I got them 20 years ago and they were already second or third hand!) that have probably more than a dozen layers of paint (I only painted them once, but who knows about the previous owners) and I really wanted to bring them back to their woody glory, if possible.

How-to: Move the piece to an outdoor location or well-ventilated garage and remove any hardware. Finding furniture on the street is not uncommon here, in fact, there’s a service to call for the city to come pick up big items like mattresses and tables. It takes a LOT of sanding to remove old paint and stain, and I would get very weary of sanding if I had to do it manually.

If it’s just scratched up and missing small bits of veneer, you could get a set of furniture touch-up markers (Guardsman makes a set of 3, light, medium and dark) and just touch up the spots that need it with the shade closest to the wood (or fake wood). Most old wood doesn’t need it but if you do buy such a product, be sure it’s compatible with the varnish you use.