Remodelaholic | Step by Step: How to Refinish Wood Furniture
As messy as it is, sometimes stripping off an old, unwanted finish is unavoidable, especially if we want to appreciate the beauty of the grain hidden beneath a layer of paint or dark tinted varnish. If you would like to see how I tackled this stripping job, just read on. I could see on the arm where the dark tinted varnish almost like a paint had worn away, revealing the beautiful oak grain, so I knew this would be worth the effort. As you can see, it begins to loosen the old finish almost immediately. What a pretty sight! The old finish is practically sliding off the wood, making my job much easier.
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Flea markets and garage sales sometimes offer good buys in used furniture, but the finish on the furniture often needs improvement. Although some do-it-yourselfers believe the presence of a soiled or deteriorated finish requires a complete stripping of the old finish and application of a new one, restoring an existing finish is frequently possible with much less work and in a fraction of the time needed for complete refinishing. Two alternative techniques, cleaning and rejuvenating, should be considered before full refinishing is attempted. Like stripping, either cleaning or rejuvenating should be done outdoors, since flammable solvents with strong vapors are used. Rubber gloves, goggles and protective clothing should always be used, and a respirator-type face mask is a good extra precaution.