All You Need To Know Before Planning To Refinish Your Solid Wood Furniture

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We use wooden furniture in our living room, yard, deck, verandas, and bedrooms to give them a nicer look, which is an expression of our need to decorate our houses. And this furniture costs us a lot. One of the drawbacks of wooden furniture is that it loses its shine with time. But we cannot let our investment drown that way. Refinishing can rescue your furniture here. It brings back the furniture to its prime look. Besides, over the past several years, interest has been growing among the people in restoring antique and old wooden furniture, and it has become a popular hobby nowadays.

But for taking on an old furniture restoration project, your knowledge should be more than just the basics. There is a lot to consider, and you have to follow specific steps and factors. Stripping furniture may prove to be a difficult task. Apart from the huge physical labor requirement, you’ll also need to use several toxic chemicals, which pose various risks. The news which can relax you a bit is that stripping is not always necessary for restoring furniture’s prime look.

A good look at the furniture pieces will help you run a diagnostics process in your home, finding out the issues and determining the steps to be followed. While working with a wood furniture piece, you can reveal how your furniture will look in the absence of lacquer or varnish by applying minerals on the furniture surface. Wipe the surface one more time if it comes out with the desired look after applying mineral spirits. And the next step will be to apply a wipe-on finish of oil on the surface. But if the resulting look is not the one you wanted, you’ll need to think about some other measures.

Whether you’ve discovered a gem in the rough or you’re refinishing a family heirloom, the mentioned tips here for restoring wood furniture will lead you in the course. This guide will instruct you about the perfect time to take an item of antique furniture refinishing project and how to restore the wooden dressers, tables, chairs, etc., in your home.

Woodworking Tools

This is essential to have all the supplies in order before beginning the refinishing or restoration of your wooden furniture for the completion of the project in the most efficient manner. The supplies checklist given below is a helpful brochure for getting started with your next furniture restoring project. You can find them on

Lacquer thinner; paint stripper; paint scrapers; multiple grits sandpaper; dish soap, sponges, and towels; wood polyurethane/sealant/varnish; Epoxy putty; power sander; chemical-resistant eye goggles and gloves; drop cloths; wood stain or paint; wax coating product.

Some other handy supplies for the project:

A bucket containing clean water, enough clean clothes, and rags; natural bristle paint brushes; painter’s tape; clamps and glue for reinforcing and repairing furniture.

Selecting The Finish of Furniture

Determining the best finish for your furniture is among the important factors you are required to know when refinishing furniture. The options you generally get to choose are shellac, varnish, lacquer, wax, and penetrating resin. You can determine which one is best for you by asking yourself these simple questions:

How important is durability?

What type of look do you want to give to your furniture piece?

Among all the finishes mentioned above, both penetrating resin and varnish are taken as the most durable of all. You are getting the best result from varnish though it is a bit tough to use. In the case of penetrating resin, it sinks deep into the wood and creates a look that is almost the same as natural. Shellac is popular for letting the wood dry quickly, while oil offers a natural finish.

But, before all, you need to make sure that the knowledge is there about the applying technique along with the tools for a painting to apply that on your furniture regardless of which finish you have chosen to apply on the furniture piece. But it is better to have the service from a company with experience when you are working with an antique piece.

Inspection and Cleaning of The Furniture

You have to clean the piece of furniture before anything else. A sponge, dish soap, and warm water will help you in the process of removing dirt or debris if there is any. Use a cleaning cloth to make it dry.

Secondly, give a deep look all over the furniture to see if there exist any dings, dents, or repairs that might need additional processing in the refinishing process.

Dispel The Previous Finish

There are a couple of handy techniques for removing the old paint, but chemical strippers and sanding is used primarily. Stripping can also be done through heat guns. But the heat guns have a versatile use. They are also used as a supplement to some other techniques used for removing stubborn finish particularly.

Sanding Comes Next

Using either a sanding machine containing medium-grit sandpaper or palm sander, you’ll need to remove the remaining old finish and smooth it. Keep applying any of the two until the bare wood shows up. After that, apply fine-grit sandpaper of 200+ grit to get the desired smooth finish.

Process of Applying Wood Stripping Chemicals

Strippers are found in liquid form. Pastes, semi-pastes, or gels are known as the thicker formulations. Horizontal surfaces are the only place where you can apply the liquid strippers where thicker strippers give solutions for the vertical surfaces.

Chemical strippers can cause accidents if they are not handled properly. Use rubber gloves, eye protection, and ventilation while working with these substances.

Filling The Grain

Applying a sealant is the next step of refinishing the furniture. You have to use it now if it requires a filler to give a smoother effect. Cracks and grains existing on the wood piece determine which filler needed to be used. Before the staining process starts, you need a sealant following the filler. The sealant protects your wooden furniture and provides a base that allows staining the wood without leaving blotches or streaks.

It’s Your Choice: Paint or Sealer

When your sealant has dry, the next phase is to decide between staining or painting your furniture. Painting the furniture is the logical choice if the furniture’s existing color lost its appeal and you want to restore it. On the other hand, you will lean towards applying stain for the restoration of the antique furniture’s former glory.

After the completion of the restoration/refinishing project, you’ll need to protect and maintain the piece regularly. It includes regular cleaning and preventing damage. Enjoy your room’s view with the restored furniture!

author bio

Tom Bradly

Based on more than 15 years of personal, first-hand experience as a professional handyman and woodworker, Tom has authored over 1,000 articles about how to succeed in the handyman business. Tom teaches all the tricks of the trade that he’s learned, ranging from which tools he prefers to which woodworking plans he has had the most success with. His Woodworking Toolkit blog is regarded as one of the authorities about woodworking tools on the internet.

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