How do I remove a finish I messed up?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by David posted 03-26-2010 07:12 PM 1086 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View David's profile


110 posts in 3311 days

03-26-2010 07:12 PM

I recently completed a box that i finished with a tung oil mixture (1/3 tung, 1/3 varnish and 1/3 thinner) that didn’t come out good at all. I believe i applied too much finish and didn’t wipe off properly. So, I need to remove the finish and start anew. I’ve sanded it quite a bit but can’t get all of it out in the corners. What would be the best way to remove the rest of the old finish?

Thank you fellow lumberjocks!


-- dcutter

6 replies so far

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3072 days

#1 posted 03-26-2010 07:49 PM

In my humble opinion, finish removal is best accomplished through a card scraper. This helps prevent any issues with clogging sandpaper and scratching the project. For the corners and any profiled edges, you might want to look at those small foam profile sponges that help contour the sandpaper without rounding any edges. If you don’t have any of those, some sanding sponges might do the trick. They are available at most of your big box stores.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Thomas Keefe's profile

Thomas Keefe

131 posts in 3372 days

#2 posted 03-26-2010 08:08 PM

Here is a way to sand close into a corner:

Attach some sand paper with adhesive back to a fairly flexible putty knife. This will go right into a 90 degree
corner. The stiffness of the blade allows you to put some pressure behind the sandpaper so you get good

Scraping in corners is difficult (for me).


View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 3004 days

#3 posted 03-26-2010 08:16 PM

I use a razorblade to scrape in fine corners.

I recently put a coat of tung oil on a project then used varnish. I didn’t let the oil dry completely & the oil & varnish created an ugly White pasty concoction. had to scrape it all away.

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View russv's profile


262 posts in 3133 days

#4 posted 03-26-2010 10:36 PM

a multi blade scaper might help
one example


-- where to go because you don't want no stinking plastic!

View David's profile


110 posts in 3311 days

#5 posted 03-26-2010 10:39 PM

yes – i have white pasty gunk too that is tough to sand off.

will try the scraper and razor blade technique.

thanks all!

-- dcutter

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3250 days

#6 posted 03-26-2010 11:11 PM

I have removed a lot of finish over the years using lacquer thinner with a brush, usually an old paint brush. Apply it liberally. The brush will help in the corners. A new finish like that should rinse clean fairly quickly. Light sanding should be all you need at that point.

The other methods will certainly work too.


Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics