Recycled Furniture

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Project by SPHinTampa posted 09-06-2010 07:17 PM 2153 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Recently purchased a rental home from the estate of an older lady that had not updated her furniture since the 60s. While moving the furniture out, noticed that the bedroom suite furniture was very solidly built so I decided to see if it could be updated – one step past using reclaimed lumber.

As you can see from the pictures, it was originally painted yellow over what appears to be red oak. I am hoping that it is red oak, because if it was mahogany and I did not just clear coat it, I will feel very guilty. Not sure if you can tell from pictures, but I would be interested in any guesses. I felt it was red oak with white pore filler based on the grain and colour. Stripper took away clear coat and yellow paint but left behind white coat on surface and pores. I am thinking that it was a wax based filler that the stripper did not touch … I had to sand away on surface. Could not get out of pores.

Project steps:
- Remove hardware
- Use 70% MEK based stripper to remove paint and surface coating. Required two coats of stripper.
- Neutralize with mineral spirits
- Sand out dings, dents and scratches using ROS with 120, 150, 180 grit paper
- Fix loose runners and mouldings
- 2 coats of minwax ebony stain
- 1 coat of spray shellac to keep stain from running into clear coat
- 3 coats of minwax poly, 2 gloss and final one satin
- Clean hardware with brass cleaner, Scuff sand with course steel wool, 3 coats of silver spray paint followed by 3 coats of spray poly

Lessons Learned
- I found a chemical I hate more than stain – stripper.
- Ventilation, mask, gloves and long sleeves are a must. I would wear a face mask vs goggles because I found that small bits of the stripper would get me when using the brush and it stings bad
- The stripper directions tell you to apply with one brush stroke in a single direction. I ignored on the first piece but used for the second – it makes a difference

-- Shawn, I ask in order to learn

5 comments so far

View clieb91's profile


3520 posts in 3960 days

#1 posted 09-06-2010 08:14 PM

Shawn, nice recycling job. I am pretty familiar with that type of furniture as it is still in my grandfathers bedroom. I do not though know that type of wood it was made from.
It finished pretty good as a darker set.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View Hippockets's profile


93 posts in 3132 days

#2 posted 09-06-2010 09:32 PM

Thanks for the posting and the idea of repainting. How do i remove the veneer off old furniture?

-- Bruce, Arnold MD

View WoodenFrog's profile


2737 posts in 2938 days

#3 posted 09-07-2010 01:32 AM

I don`t know what wood it is… but you made it look pretty!
Great job! Thanks for sharing.

-- Robert B. Sabina, Ohio.....

View zlatanv's profile


691 posts in 3259 days

#4 posted 09-07-2010 03:59 AM

Very nice refurb!

-- Z, Rockwall, TX

View SPHinTampa's profile


567 posts in 3711 days

#5 posted 09-07-2010 03:00 PM


I have only every removed veneer off a piece in sections to in order to try and replace it. I have used a heat gun to get sections to lift from the glue, at which point I have chiseled off and then replaced entire section. Since most veneered furniture has particleboard as a substrate, I have never stripped down a full piece to refinish.

I am not sure that you did not mean the varnish or surface coat … in which case, I used Jasco Extra Strength painter and varnish stripper (bought it at Lowes). Put on good protective gear, get an old paint brush and paint a thick coat of the stripper on all surfaces, using long strokes in a single direction. Let it sit for 30 mins and then scrap off using a plastic putty knife on flat surfaces or a wire brush for complex profiles. Neutralize stripper and remove the left over wax using mineral spirits and you are ready to sand.

-- Shawn, I ask in order to learn

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