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Thread: Wood refinishing question - not vintage

  1. #1
    Super Member GEMRM's Avatar
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    Wood refinishing question - not vintage

    We have some 70's era pine furniture that I want to strip and refinish - no idea where to begin. Open to suggestions! Thanks!

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    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    Sandpaper is the beginning.... Sand then stain, paint or oil, what ever you plan to ( refinish) with. Refinishing furniture is a Job! Time consuming, lots of sanding.... Makes a person appreciate why it costs so much to have someone refinish for you. A very labor intensive project. Wear a dust mask!
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  3. #3
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    I would start with a water based stripper, it's low odor and they do work well if you give them time, if the old finish is really thick you may need to do the stripper twice, after that it takes some sanding but not a whole lot, you can use an electric orbital sander the go over that by hand, be sure to ALWAYS go WITH the grain, once you sand across the grain it takes a lot of work to fix. good luck, we'd like to see it.

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    Senior Member Feather3's Avatar
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    This is a project I'd do outside in warmer weather. Always use a Respirator Mask designed to keep you from inhaling the dust & fumes. I use the ones with canisters that screw on & have replacable filters. Goggles too to protect your eyes & stripping gloves.

    Try a water based stripper first. Sand with the grain. Last step wash down good with mineral spirts, wiping with the grain, to remove any oils/etc left on the wood. If they stained the wood first you may not be able to get it all out, even with sanding. I've refinished many dressers & bed frames dating to early 1900's. I've also stripped the wood doors, baseboards, staircase, window frames, etc in my 100 year old house. It's a lot of work, but the end result is worth it.

    Stores like Home Depot, Lowes, home supply/repair stores often have a brochure with suggestions on how to do projects, supplies, etc.

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    Since it is winter up where you are you may want to take it to a "stripper". There are companies that will "dip" you item and that will strip off the old varnish.

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    Super Member AZ Jane's Avatar
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    Google several videos on "how to". It is not "hard" but is time consuming.
    Better to do something imperfectly, than nothing perfectly.
    Done is better than perfect.

  7. #7
    Super Member mermaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltingcandy View Post
    Since it is winter up where you are you may want to take it to a "stripper". There are companies that will "dip" you item and that will strip off the old varnish.
    Be aware that dipping can open glued joints and weaken your pieces.

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    My DH brought me home a garage sale find---a big black chest. It was pretty ugly and I was less than thrilled! When I opened it I discovered that it was a cedar chest. Got to work with the stripper (STRIP-EZE back then) and after a week or so of hard work, ended up with a BEAUTIFUL cedar chest...The smell came back and we have it to this day.
    It will be worth it! Take your time.
    I did the work in our garage...but it is cold in Ontario now.....might want to wait until spring unless you have a heated garage.

  9. #9
    Super Member GEMRM's Avatar
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    Thank you all for the suggestions. The pieces are likely too long for a dip process. It is cold here, so it will be turn up the heat in the garage, yes, and the smaller pieces will come to the basement. Nothing will be done until after Christmas!

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    If it's painted, yes, a 'stripper' is needed. If it's just a dark wood finish and you want to take it back to it's original finish, you might try denatured alcohol. not rubbing alcohol but denatured alcohol. You can get it at the hardware store. Try a small corner an see if that does what you want. Put it on a rag and rub in a circular motion.

  11. #11
    pal
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    Please wait until you can do it outside - or at least leave your garage door open! I put down newspapers and then a plastic shower liner down to work on. You'll also need some kind of a bucket to put the paint scrapings into.

    I use stripper and then scrape the stripper and old paint off with a wide putty knife - then go over it again with very fine steel wool dipped in the stripper to get off anything that's left on the furniture. Start with an inconspicuous area, like the back of a leg to see what you've got.

    Good luck to you - I think you will be very pleased with the result!
    PACE - Positive Attitude Changes Everything

    "All things are literally better, lovlier, and more beloved for the imperfections that reflect the human effort that went into their making."

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    It all depends on what's on it and how bad/good shape the wood is in. I would google and check out different videos. DH stripped and refinished nearly every piece of wood furniture we have. We got our dresser (solid oak) for $25. It weighs a ton without the drawers. He made our kitchen table top and attached it to a different table bottom. Every thing outside on the carport.

  13. #13
    Senior Member barking-rabbit's Avatar
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    Some of the stripping products are very harmful. Ventilation is very important. Of course, the ones that are the ones that work the fastest. Some of the others if you paint it on then cover with plastic wrap to keep it from drying out take longer but safer.
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  14. #14
    Super Member MarionsQuilts's Avatar
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    Do you WANT the original wood to be there? Or do you want to repaint it, and are bringing it to its original state and then painting?

    If you are planning on repainting, you Annie Sloan Chalk Paint ... you don't need to sand / strip or anything, just paint right over it ... 2 coats does nicely!

    If this is what you want, and need more info, just ask ... I redid ALL the furniture in the house ... it was loads of fun! And the chalk paint is "natural" and odourless!

  15. #15
    Super Member MarionsQuilts's Avatar
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    Do you WANT the original wood to be there? Or do you want to repaint it, and are bringing it to its original state and then painting?

    If you are planning on repainting, you Annie Sloan Chalk Paint ... you don't need to sand / strip or anything, just paint right over it ... 2 coats does nicely!

    If this is what you want, and need more info, just ask ... I redid ALL the furniture in the house ... it was loads of fun!

  16. #16
    Junior Member M cubed's Avatar
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    Be aware that the humidity in your area and the house will have a direct effect on the finish you use. Cold weather and high humidity will delay (for a long time) the curing of whatever you use. This is, of course, after you have done your stripping and sanding. Most varnishes or urathanes do not do well in less that 70 degree temperatures, and paint will even take three times as long to dry and cure. When you are done, and the piece is ready you will be so proud of the work you did and rightly so. Have fun with it and please, show a picture when you are done.

  17. #17
    Super Member GEMRM's Avatar
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    My intent was to get it stripped back to the original pine, then stain and varnish it - I will have to do another pine piece to match. Will likely have a dark stain applied. I'll post pictures when I finish, but don't hold your breath! I won't be starting for awhile yet.

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