Friday, February 17, 2012

wood WORK.

Rummaging and antiquing for old furniture is one of my favorite things. And finding a quality piece that just needs some love gets me really excited. I have had a couple of people ask lately how to refinish some amazing wood furniture, so I thought I would share it here on the bloggity.

First, it’s important to make sure that the time and effort you will be putting into refinishing your piece is really worth it. Is it made with quality material? If so, it should look great refinished to a natural wood finish. If not, you may want to consider painting the furniture or searching for a new piece. It may be that you will not know until you start sanding. That is a risk you will have to take.
For wood that was painted you will want to apply a chemical stripping agent. The product should be water-soluble so that cleanup is easy. Apply the product in small areas at a time and follow directions given on the label. The paint will bubble up and then you can use a plastic putty knife to scrap along the woodgrain. (If your product is “wash-away”, rinse the area down with water.)

Once the paint is lifted, or if the furniture was already a wood finish, it’s time to sand. A fine-grit sandpaper is best so that it doesn’t damage the raw wood. Like you did with scrapping, be sure to sand along the woodgrain. A power sander can be used on flat surfaces but hand sanding the corners and ornate designs is the best. Once you are down to the raw wood, wipe down the entire piece with a cloth.

If you plan to keep the furniture a wood finish, you can start the staining process. All stain products are different so make sure you follow the label. Always apply the stain following the grain and in even strokes. You can build up the color and intensity by applying multiple layers. Let the stain dry; I would give it 24 hours. Lastly, you will apply polyurethane to completely seal the furniture. Again, make sure you follow the directions on the product label. For a super, high-gloss finish apply a few coats.
If you are painting your piece, apply a primer in a thick coat and sand it with steel wool. Then you are ready to paint! For furniture, I always recommend a semi- or high-gloss finish. This will hold up best on furniture. Apply as many coats as necessary, as some colors will need more than others. Give plenty of drying time between each coat; I would say three to five hours. For a glossy finish, apply a clear polycrylic after your last coat has dried.

Mini/Quick tips:
-remove all hardware before you start
-if your furniture has deep scratches, fill them in with wood putty and sand it down before starting the stain or paint process
-wear gloves, especially when staining
-be patient! The piece will look great in the end and you can appreciate knowing that it was your hard work that got it there.