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Refinishing Solid Wood Furniture

Refinishing Wooden Furniture

There are many things that you can do to revitalize old wood furniture and give it a brand new life in your home. It can be cleaned, polished, waxed, or even painted. But if you want to achieve a whole new look, or recapture the elegance and sheen of its original appearance, then the best method will be to completely strip down the piece and refinish it like new.

Wood Furniture RefinishingThe first step will be to apply a quality stripping agent to the wood. This is a product that helps to loosen the bond between the lacquer and the surface of the piece. It can be applied using either a spray bottle or a brush, and should be left to interact with the stain for several minutes before proceeding. Often this will be a somewhat caustic substance, so take proper precautions to guard your respiratory system as you work.

Once you notice the stripping agent starting to loosen the lacquer, take a scraper and begin running it across the surface of the piece. Start out with slow, gentle, even strokes, and work your way to more vigorous movements, being careful not to push so hard that you damage the wood itself. Wipe the tool off occasionally with a clean rag so that you don’t end up smearing the coloring agent back on. It may be necessary to apply the stripper multiple times, repeating this process to get the majority off.

The next step is to apply mineral spirits to the newly cleaned wood using a fresh towel. This will help to wipe away any lacquer or stain that remains behind after you have performed the stripping. It will also deepen and moisten the material, giving it an almost lustrous look. However that is temporary, and indicates that the wood is wet, requiring you to wait for up to an hour before it returns to its dry state.

Sandpaper can then be used to smooth and even out any imperfections in the wood, and remove the last lingering vestiges of old stain and color. Start with a relatively coarse product (150 grit) to handle more obvious problems, then switch to 200 grit and higher products to smooth it out and get it soft, sleek, and primed for color treatments. When you’re done, use another clean, dry rag to wipe up any lingering sawdust.

There are many different colors of stain that can be used to finish a piece of wood furniture, and you don’t necessarily have to choose the same one that it originally had. To get a better idea of your choices, scan color charts at the store, or buy samples and try them out on scrap pieces. When you are ready, apply the lacquer using a clean rag or paper cloth, applying it in thin, even strokes.

As you work, wipe away any excess stain that accumulates in puddles or bubbles immediately. The idea is to apply it in very thin layers,  and then repeat the process until you have the desired depth of color. However it is important to let the stain fully dry between each step, and then to give the furnishing a full hour to completely set before adding a clear coat layer of polyurethane to seal everything in.

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