Category: Woodworking

sanding woodHere’s how to prepare that old piece of furniture for refinishing. You can take an old chest or table and turn it into a beautiful new looking piece of furniture to be proud of.

Some people have turned furniture  refinishing furniture into a money making business. It can be fun to try your hand and see what you can do.

If you have a piece of old furniture you would like to prepare for refinishing it’s not hard to do. With proper refinishing your old chest of drawers or table can be a piece of furniture to be proud of.

In fact when you get started you might decide to do a whole room full of furniture. It can be habit forming. You might even visit yard sales and thrift shops and make a business from selling refinished furniture. But first you must prepare the piece for refinishing.

Try to use a dust free room with good ventilation to prepare for your refinishing project, and wear gloves. You can work outside under a shade tree in warm weather. Cover the area with newspapers or a drop cloth to protect the floor. When finished dispose of your toxic material properly, and don’t wash oily rags in your washer. They might start a fire.

1. First repair any cracks in the wood.

2.Remove handles and knobs but not the hinges.

3.Clean the wood. Use vinegar if the wood is only slightly dirty. Use detergent and warm water if very dirty. One tip here is to use saddle soap. It is a lighter cleaner than commercial detergents and works great. You can find some at Sponge the entire surface with solution and scrub with a stiff brush. Rinse and dry with a cloth or towel.

4.When dry, strip the paint. There are different ways to do this but your best bet as a novice is a chemical paint remover. Read all directions carefully. Brush on the paint remover and do not splash or splatter it. Leave the room until it bubbles up, then scrape off paint with a stripping knife. Apply caustic soda with a sponge and rub it in until the paint becomes frothy and dissolves.

The disposal information will be on the label. These are volatile chemicals. Do not allow smoking or lighted matches. You may need more than one treatment to remove all the old paint.

5.Remove the varnish. The old finish will have to be taken off before you add a new finish. First, rub turpentine or a small amount of denatured alcohol into the wood with fine steel wool. Use a small brush to reach into carvings and crevices.

Commercial wood strippers can also be effective. You may need more than one treatment.

6.Now, sand the wood. Stripping causes wood to raise, making sanding necessary. When wood is dry, sand the entire surface of wood, using a piece of course sandpaper wrapped in a sanding block. Sand in the direction of the grain, and be careful not to dull edges or scratch glass or metal parts. When you are finished, sand again with a fine grade of sandpaper.

7.Unless you like a natural rough texture, fill in the pores. Use ready made wood filler, or make your own with plaster of Paris applied in circles and against the grain so it wedges into the new wood. Then rub along the wood grain to smooth it, and let the pieces dry.

My next article will be staining and refinishing wood furniture.

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