Refinish Wood Furniture

The amount of work required greatly depends upon the desired finish as well as the existing state of the floor. Although I agree that the pores of the wood will retain some of the varnish solids, I’m not sure that’s such a bad thing. The purpose is to sand down the raised grain caused by the water and to remove any sharp areas. For the professional 99% of the time this is the only way, it is hard work but gives a far superior finish and if done with care will not damage the wood. First I use a long blade-scraper or filler knife and just go around and pull off any paint that is already loose and just waiting to fall off.

Although sanding removes a painted surface quickly and easily, it has one basic disadvantage – it also removes some of the wood surface underneath the paint. If you’re refinishing furniture, you’re almost certainly going to be using stain to achieve the color you desire and to reduce the contrasts between different wood varieties which may have been used in the construction of the furniture. It can’t be used over paint or other topcoats since it will soften and lift the finish.

I have spoken to the manufacturers who have confirmed this product is safe to use to strip acrylic paint. The longer the stain is allowed to penetrate, the darker the color will be. However, this only works to a certain extent. You can remove old paint and varnish in a couple of different ways, primarily by sanding and through the use of chemical strippers. I either use the Brown can if I am just stripping varnish, or the yellow can if I am stripping paint.

Pour a little white spirit into a dish and, using steel wool or scouring pad, work the spirit into the polish to dissolve it. Work in small areas at a time and, as the polish becomes softened, remove it. It is easiest to remove the bulk with a scraper, depositing it in an old paint can, then to use old rags to remove the rest. Stripping old varnish from the inside of a canoe is a messy job best done outdoors. Well, I read a lot of books and bothered a lot of people who work with old wood.

The speed of cure, efficiency of use, durability and beauty of these finishes quickly made them the finish of choice for furniture. Bought a new palm sander and bunch of discs last night, but after reading some old threads here on CW I think I will try heat gun approach instead. My personal take is that if the varnish is in good shape then I would light sand and apply a few more coats. Then, remove the excess filler with a plastic scraper or a smooth, round-edged putty knife. It’s also difficult to sand varnish from round or decoratively curved areas such as turned table legs. This removed far less wood than sanding would have, was a lot faster and didn’t create a lot of toxic varnish dust.

I gradually work my way down the canoe, lifting back plastic and replacing it as I go. By this time the varnish will be pretty much off and be a gucky mess in the bottom. To remove old paint or varnish, you could also strip it using a suitable proprietary chemical stripper. After applying hydrogen peroxide, cover the stain with a thick towel to block the light. This conditions the wood to accept the water-based products with less raised grain.

If you want to start with the stipper and miss out on the hot-air gun then it can be worth abrading the surface first before you apply the stipper as this helps it get into the varnish. Varnish builds up faster with fewer coats and requires a light scuffing between coats. This should be unnecessary if you’ve already used this technique when applying water-based stain.

If the wood is not going to be removed from the boat, I would use the heat gun/scraper method as I would not want to get chemicals all over the boat. There are actually three different ways that you can go about stripping paint and varnish. For a while early in the process, until you start getting down to the wood underneath the mess, you may feel that you have completely ruined the piece. Once the piece is free of the old finish and has had time to dry, you’re ready to sand the wood. Liquids are primarily for clean coatings and removing one or two layers of paint.

After the stripper goop is scraped off the wash is applied (the small garden sprayer could be used) and rubbed off with paper towels. The goal here is to lightly scuff the surface to create a rough pattern that grabs the oil or varnish. I brushed on a tiny bit of wood stripper, let it sit for about 10 minutes and then scrubbed it off with a wet SOS pad. Be careful not to hold the blowtorch or heat gun in one position for too long because it will cause the wood to burn and, possibly, catch on fire.

It is best suited for pieces of furniture that only have one existing layer of paint or varnish. Our goal is to provide information every old house owner should have to make their house look the best it can. Take care that you do not remove the lacquer from the area surrounding the glass unless you mean to do so. Paint or varnish can be sanded away with any type of power or hand sander (Fig.

The primary cause of degradation in both lacquer and varnish finishes is exposure to light and air, especially polluted air. I have improved upon my method and have a few furniture finishing tips to share with you. However, furniture and other items have been lacquered since prehistoric times in Asia using a slow drying non oil based formula that yielded a beautiful and durable finish. Having had success with the table along with the little voice in my head that kept telling me Just Do It” has me in the process of stripping another hand-me down piece. Citristrip Paint Remover Wash is a product meant for rinsing Citristrip when it can’t be hosed down.

Once that’s done, switch to a higher grit to get rid of any remaining stain or paint. This method is often perceived as easy and effective, however, it is very damaging to wood. It also attacks all living tissues slowly breaking down wood at a molecular level so can cause cracking and peeling of surface on damaged and old worm eaten timbers such as beams, especially if left in contact with the bare wood for extended periods.

Which you just can’t get the paint out of. So, apply one more coat (2nd coat) of Sanding Sealer, then purchase some acrylic paints in different shades of brown. As I mentioned earlier – stripping furniture is a messy job – the inside of the cabinet took a beating from the stripper. You can remove the dry varnish with something like Goo Gone and a dry Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. The first involves using a chemical paint or varnish remover to soften the painted surface.

Copper scouring pads or plastic cleaning pads can be forced into the carved areas to remove the old paint or varnish after it has been softened by paint remover. My teak is old and dirty looking so I thought I’d sand it down and re-varnish it so I’d have gleaming wood work on the cockpit seats and grab rails etc. Finishes that still adhere to the wood but even after cleaning are dull or worn, hazy or opaque, may possess the capacity to be revived and thus saved. I let the oil sit for 10 minutes, then buff off the excess with small rags cut from the same old sheets. Remove with a stripping knife or shavehook, using a stiff brush or coarse wire wool to scrub out difficult corners.

The more difficult but most time consuming would be to just sand it all down to bare wood again with a good palm sander and some heavy grit paper. After finishing the process, I wiped everything down with mineral spirits to remove any stripper residue. However, if you want to reuse the old hardware, dip it into paint remover for complete cleaning (Fig. I use an old pair of cheaters” and not my expensive prescription glasses for this job. You will also burn the wood and unless this is scraped off the paint will not stick to this charred surface. Also ideal for removing heavy paint build up on old floors before machine sanding as the aggressive floor machines should remove any staining.

Take care not to soak the wood or, worse, let a wet cleaning solution gather on the surface. Coarse wire wool dipped in Polycell Maximum Strength Paint Stripper may be required to move ingrained paint or varnish. Oil finishes are applied to the wood and allowed to soak for a certain amount of time. Once the stain has dried for 48 hours, I then applied the oil based Sanding Sealer.

The biggest problem with shavers is that you damage wood and create a very uneven surface that has to be sanded afterward… simply not a good idea. I would avoid polyurethane because it will not bond very well to an old finish. It’s easy to burn the wood if you get the gun too close, work a small area too much, etc. The heat gun removed all the layers of paint down to the original varnish finish.

These removers are sprayed on and create a foamy, clinging layer thick enough to remove several layers of paint. Experiment on a piece of wood in the color of your table to see if you like how the stain will look. Hiring a pro to repair, strip and finish this table would cost about $450, while you can do the work over a couple of weekends for around $60. That would be the best way to get the stripped wood look for on faux wood furniture. Oiled wood appears dull and dry, especially if it hasn’t been recoated for a long time. For more information on how to most successfully remove a finish, see our page on furniture stripping.

On the other hand, belt and disk sanders can remove finishes quickly, but since they’re capable of removing so much material, you must be very careful not to ruin the piece by sanding too deeply. This method is only applicable if your floor is relatively flat and in good condition, for example, Victorian pine or Edwardian oak parquet. I love the glass fronted cabinet, but not the aged stain that has taken on an orange hue over the years.