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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Steps to Refinishing Wood Furniture

I have made many mistakes when refinishing furniture and I want to share my advice for a professional final product.

Tips and Tricks Video on Knox Fox Morning Show

Step #1- Clean furniture piece
I have skipped this before and created more work. Cleaning the piece will allow a shorter sanding job and allow you to better assess what grit sandpaper to use.

Step #2- Remove Existing Finish
If a lacquer or stain exists then sanding will be needed.  The job is tougher if you have a painted piece of furniture.  Depending on the thickness of the paint you may need to use a liquid paint stripped and scrap the paint off with a metal scrapper.  After paint is removed you may sand.

There are many sanding options.  You could use an electric sander, sanding block or sheets of sanding paper.  This is a preference but also may depend on your piece.  An antique detailed chair would need sand paper to get into the detail.  Always start with a low grit (lower by number) and ease into a finer (higher number) sand paper for a smoother finish.

Always use your hands to evaluate your sanding.  It may appear to be smooth but graze the entire surface before moving forward.

Lastly, clean your piece again.

Step #3.5 (Only if nessecary fix any scratches or holes)
If your piece has unwanted scratches, holes or knicks now if the time to use wood filler to create a smooth and even finish.  You won't regret this step.
 Step #3- Prime (If painting)
I have skipped this step and always regretted it.   Use a primer to allow the paint to last longer, better overall coverage, and actually saves you paint.

Step #4- Stain or Paint
This is the best part, choose your stain or paint color.  Always stain and paint with the grain in the wood.   Start with minimal paint/stain because you can always add more.  For stain you can use a foam brush or a rag or cloth.  Painting options include spray paint (be careful of drips), foam roller brush (my preference), bristle brush (careful of brush strokes), or a paint sprayer (I just got one that I want to try out).

Repeat for multiple coats as needed.

Step #5- Protective Coat (Optional)
I suggest a protective coat if the piece will be used on a daily basis.  You'll never regret it and might be upset it you don't.

Follow these steps for a professional refinish look every time.  Don't get discouraged if you make a mistake; practice makes perfect and you can always sand and start again.


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Amber Chavez said...

The most important thing is to clear furniture. I have painted an old cupboard and forgot to clean it. The result was not good. SO please do not make my mistake! I love your tips. They are really useful.

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Rose said...

Great post! I found it very useful. Love the final result. Thanks for the inspiration and the tips.

Steven L. Hunt said...

Thanks . Wood working is my winter pass time. I build most all my own furniture. These projects are gradually filling up an empty room.

Scott C. Henley said...

Looks great. I like this wooden project very much. It is really great idea to make our home furnished with woods. I love furniture. :)

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Tom Brady said...

Creative DIY!
I love it! I also have several DIY projects by myself from handtool. Thanks the author! I hope that you will have plenty of DIY projects anymore.

Suzanne T. Harris said...

I have made many mistakes when refinishing furniture, like you. It's a pity as I read your post too late

James said...

Thanks for sharing these woodworking tips here. I must admit, I did try to do the lazy route and ended up exerting twice the effort because of that.

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Jessica said...

Thank you for this tutorial, its been really helpful !