How to Refinish Wood Furniture
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How to Refinish Wood Furniture

Posted on Tuesday, February 14th, 2012 at 2:20 pm
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That wooden coffee table you picked up from Goodwill would look a whole lot better with some new paint on it.  Or, maybe it could use some new stain.  It isn’t incredibly difficult to accomplish either of those two improvements.  Doing it yourself will cost less than hiring a professional to do it for you.

The first thing you need to do is to decide how you want your piece of furniture to look when it is finished.  Do you want to paint it?  Or, would you rather stain it?  One way to decide is to take a look at the quality of the wood.  Paint covers blemishes.  Stain emphasizes the wood, (and can make blemishes stand out).

No matter what you decide, you will be starting out the same way.  You are going to have to remove the existing paint or varnish.  This will require sanding.  Start with some sandpaper that is a lower number, and then work your way to a higher number.  The higher the number, the finer the sandpaper.  You will want to start with an 80 or 100 grit sandpaper, and then switch to a 150 grit after you have managed to sand off a great deal of the paint or stain.

This can be done by hand, if you have no other way to accomplish it.  A faster, and less strenuous way to do this is to use an orbital sander.  Some of the smaller parts of the furniture, (like the trim in between drawers or along the bottom of the piece), may be necessary to do by hand.  It is a good idea to sand with the direction of the grain.

Did you want to paint your furniture?  If so, then the next step is to apply primer.  If you are intending to paint the furniture a light color, then you need a white or light grey primer.  Use a dark grey or black primer if the piece will be painted a darker color.  Apply the primer with a large paintbrush, using long strokes that go all the way across the piece.  Paint the primer with the direction of the grain.

Once the primer has completely dried, it is time to paint the furniture.  Again, you want to use a large brush, and make long strokes that go with the grain of the piece.  It may take more than one coat of paint in order to get a nice finish.

Did you want to stain your furniture?  Stain is less forgiving than paint is, so this is the more difficult of the two refinishing options.  First, you have to make sure you removed all of the old stain or paint. This may require the use of a chemical stripper.  I would advise doing this in a well ventilated area.

You will need some wood filler, which is also called wood putty.  This is used to fill in the little dents, nicks, and scratches that your piece of furniture has suffered.  Make sure the wood filler is the same color as the stain you want to apply.

After the putty has dried completely, it is time to stain the wood.  Liquid stain can be applied with a rag.  Always apply the stain with the grain of the wood, not against it.  Follow the direction on the package, for best results.


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