Old furniture that has become worn and surface-damaged, you can restore and refinish to bring it back to life and use in your home. Here are some instructions to help you refinish or repaint old furniture to make it beautiful again.
Working With Finish Removers
Be sure to wear the appropriate long-sleeved shirt and pants, gloves, and eye protection, as strippers can burn your skin when they come in contact with it. Also work in a well-ventilated area, such as your garage with the door open, to help eliminate the fumes. A stripper made of methylene chloride works quickly to lift up old furniture finish.
Apply the stripper thickly onto your furniture and let it sit until the finish has bubbled from the surface of the furniture. Use a putty knife to scrape the finish off and discard it into a trash can. Wipe the surface of the now-stripped wood with a clean cloth to remove any remaining chemicals.
If you want to remove a darker stain from the wood to reapply a new color, use a medium-to fine-grit sandpaper to remove the top layer of wood along with the stain. Be sure to sand the furniture, following the grain of the wood, otherwise your furniture will be damaged with scratches across its surface. Vacuum any remaining sanding dust before applying new stain.
Removing Finish on Furniture With Wood-Carvings
Furniture that has any type of intricate or ornate carved designs upon its surface can be tricky when you're removing the finish with a stripper. Unless you are working on furniture with all flat surfaces, you will need to use the right tools to remove the finish and stain from within these crevices and cracks.
After you apply the stripper to your furniture and have scraped the finish off with your putty knife, to get into each crevice, use the end of a flat head screwdriver to carefully lift up the softened finish. For more delicate areas, use a smaller Philips head screwdriver that you have wrapped with a cloth to protect the edges of the wood in the crevice. Work the covered head of the screwdriver down into the crack to lift up the finish.
Resurfacing Painted Furniture
Furniture that has been painted, the paint can be removed using paint stripper, just as you can remove the finish on furniture. For outdoor furniture that has been painted, you can use a pressure washer with a high-pressure tip to strip the paint and any dirt from the exterior of the furniture. Stand several feet from the furniture and move the end of the pressure washer back and forth over the furniture. Be sure to allow the furniture to dry fully before reapplying new finish.
If you plan to paint over your painted furniture, you can sand off any peeling paint to make the surface smooth, wipe down the other areas to remove dirt and dust, then apply the new paint over the old surface.