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Best way to refinish...?

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Forum topic by jaysonic posted 09-16-2012 04:05 AM 1388 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jaysonic

219 posts in 1605 days


09-16-2012 04:05 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Can anyone tell me the best way to strip the stain and finish off something? I found an amazing, really old, dresser, but I want to re-finish it. I think it’s top coat is wax based. I’ve been going at it for a few hours now with my palm sander (don’t have a belt sander) and I still have a long way to go. It’s kind of eating up the sand paper too. Does anyone have any suggestions? I just tried rubbing one of the bottom styles with some paint thinner to see if it’ll help, I’m doubtful though.


14 replies so far

View kizerpea's profile

kizerpea

774 posts in 1830 days


#1 posted 09-16-2012 10:55 AM

i use BIX you can find it at lowes..need some gloves to an a scraper..

-- IF YOUR NOT MAKING DUST...YOU ARE COLLECTING IT! SOUTH CAROLINA.

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2324 posts in 1759 days


#2 posted 09-16-2012 01:05 PM

If it’s paint you need gel stripper and a putty knife to get most of it off, followed by a liquid stripper dipped in steel wool to get off the residue. If it’s just varnish you can use the liguid stripper and fine steel wool – dip the steel wool in the stripper that is in a tin can and just start rubbing and watch it dissolve away. If shellac based then alcohol will dissolve it. I try not to use sandpaper at all on old piece because what you end up with is a new-looking old piece and you loose a lot of the character.

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

7172 posts in 2040 days


#3 posted 09-16-2012 03:51 PM

Get a quote from your local refinishing company, or restoration company.
They have chemicals and can do an efficient job while you can spare yourself and save up for the finishing part of the project.

View Gshepherd's profile

Gshepherd

1727 posts in 1664 days


#4 posted 09-16-2012 07:27 PM

Look at getting the book Methods of Work (Finishing) by Jim Richey. Lots of great tips and advice on numerous finishing jobs. The 11 to 15 bucks you will pay for it will save you hundreds down the road if not more.

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

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a1Jim

115202 posts in 3040 days


#5 posted 09-16-2012 08:02 PM

Chemical strippers will usually do a good job, but I recommend doing a light sanding to help the stripper do its thing. Some things to think about whether to sand or not is whether the furniture has veneer on it or not,as I’m sure you know can sand all the way through a veneer fairly easy. Dhazelton’s approach is a good one only if you are not going to use any water base finishes once your have it stripped and ready for finish,the problem being is if you using steel wool and water base finishes you end up with a bunch of rust spots all over your refinish job. One other point is if you use a chemical stripper make sure you wipe down the whole piece of furniture twice with naphtha ,this will take away any contaminates you will have on the furniture your refinishing. If you want advise on finishing from expert e-mail Charles Neil he will gladly help you. charles.cnw@hotmail.com

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View huff's profile

huff

2828 posts in 2748 days


#6 posted 09-16-2012 08:39 PM

I’m getting from your post that your piece of furniture is stained and finished; not painted. If that’s the case, I would use a liquid stripper like Kutzit. I personally like Kutzit, because it works fast when removing stains and most clear finishes. Your urethane finishes can be a pain, but most of the time as long as you keep your stripper wet it will break down the old finish.

You can start by brushing some stripper on the surface(again, make sure you keep it wet and not just let it dry on the surface), you should be able to scrape the worst of the finish off. Don’t worry about trying to get all the finish off to start with.

Once you have the entire piece stripped the first time. Do the process over again. This time, put some stripper in a can and take some med. steel wool and work the stripper with the steel wool. This should pretty much break down the rest of the old finish and you can wipe it off with an old rag.

If you do this same procedure again, starting with clean stripper and clean steel wool, this time you will be able to get the final finish gone. You can use a tooth brush or stiff bristle brush to clean up any details that’s hard to clean out with just the steel wool.

When you are done stripping your piece, you should wash it down good with something like lacquer thinner. All strippers have wax in them to help retard the drying process of the stripper, so you want to make sure you wash any residue left from the stripper.

Try not to sand any more than necessary because there will always be some color from the original stain left in the wood and the more you sand an area, the lighter it will become and that can be a real problem trying to blend the color all together.

Now you should be able to stain and finish to whatever you want for the final look. It’s a lot of hard work, but very rewarding when done. Good luck and let us know how things turn out.

-- John @ http://www.thehuffordfurnituregroup.com

View jaysonic's profile

jaysonic

219 posts in 1605 days


#7 posted 09-16-2012 08:59 PM

Wow, thank you all so much, for your help and the resources! I tried the steel wool the other night, I’ll give it another go, I didn’t really like the finish it was leaving, I’ll have to sand it again.

Huff – you said,”Try not to sand any more than necessary because there will always be some color from the original stain left in the wood and the more you sand an area, the lighter it will become and that can be a real problem trying to blend the color all together,” thank you for this! I noticed this last night, and decided to “come back” to it later, thinking, I was just tired of sanding in one area, hahah!

Thanks a1Jim for your input, as well as the email for Charles Neil. I am continually amazed at the willingness to help from everyone on LJ’s.

Just for your guys curiosity, here’s the piece:

The mirror swivels too, it’s really nice. The drawer slides are all broken though, so I’ll have a little work to do. This piece actually came from a house repo.

View huff's profile

huff

2828 posts in 2748 days


#8 posted 09-16-2012 09:20 PM

That will make a great piece when finished!

a1 Jim was right about cautioning you about veneers. This piece looks like the top, base for the mirror and the drawer fronts are veneered, which means the side panels are too. Just take your time and work on a section at a time and before you know it you will have it.

BTW. don’t panic because it’s veneer. It should strip just fine and you will probably be surprised how pretty the original veneer is.
When you get it stripped, check your veneer for any loose spots. If you find any, you should be able to glue any loose veneer back down before you finish.

-- John @ http://www.thehuffordfurnituregroup.com

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 1824 days


#9 posted 09-16-2012 11:18 PM

Sanding is the worst thing to do. The finish should be removed with a chemical stripper, either methylene chloride based or citrus based. Then washed down with paint thinner or naptha, after which it can be stained if desired and clear coated with poly.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View jaysonic's profile

jaysonic

219 posts in 1605 days


#10 posted 09-17-2012 12:45 AM

Clint, why is sanding the worst thing?

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 1824 days


#11 posted 09-17-2012 04:06 AM

Sanding destroys the natural patina that the wood has acquired. After stripping I use nothing but maroon scotchbrite to aid in washing and after the wood is dry to smooth it before staining and/or clear coating.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View lunn's profile

lunn

215 posts in 1772 days


#12 posted 09-17-2012 10:49 AM

I agree with huff Kutzit !!!!!!. and the way he does it. Never sand.

-- What started as a hobbie is now a full time JOB!

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

2410 posts in 1977 days


#13 posted 09-17-2012 10:52 AM

And one last thing, never try to wash it clean with any water based product. You can curl and lift the veneer, and ruin patina. Use lacquer thinner.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

View Earlextech's profile

Earlextech

1159 posts in 2153 days


#14 posted 09-17-2012 01:57 PM

Soy-Gel is a nontoxic, no harmful chemicals, stripper that does a great job removing top coats, but dosen’t touch the stain underneath. No gloves, no mask, still a big mess but no burning sensation afterwards.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

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