Refinishing Old Furniture: An Overview

wooden tableRepurposing old furniture presents countless creative possibilities. Wooden furniture pieces such as tables, chairs, dressers, coffee tables and more can be revitalized with fresh paint or stain and breathe new life into a space. Whether you are repurposing a piece of your own furniture or purchasing an older piece that you will be refinishing, ensure that it is structurally sound and of sufficient quality to justify refinishing. A quality piece of furniture can last a lifetime, and may need a simple refinishing if it is looking worse for wear.

First you will need to strip the old finish or paint to prepare the wood for refinishing. This is commonly accomplished using a combination of chemical paint strippers and sanding. This stage of the process will likely take you longer than applying the new finish to the piece. Be sure to follow any safety precautions on the container when using paint strippers, such as wearing gloves and ensuring proper ventilation. Spending the time it takes to properly prepare the furniture piece is an important step that will affect the final result. This is also a good stage to tighten any screws or repair any other fasteners on the piece that have loosened with time.

The amount of sanding needed will depend on the condition of the piece and how well you were able to remove the finish. Start out with a coarser sandpaper to remove any remaining finish, and follow up with a finer grit sandpaper to smooth the wood, taking care to sand in the direction of the wood grain. Sanding is an important step that should not be rushed through, because any imperfections will be visible once the piece is stained or painted. If you will be using a grain filler, sand the piece again after the filler is applied for a smooth finish.

Any other preparations that need to be made to the wood will vary depending on the type of stain or paint to be applied. Be sure to read the container on the stain or paint that you intend to use on the piece. It will specify any preparations that are necessary to give you the highest quality end result. Be sure stain is dry before applying the finish of your choice.

If you are a beginner and hesitant about taking on a large furniture project, you may want to start with a small piece of furniture to get some practice before moving on to larger projects. Refinishing furniture can often take more work than originally anticipated, but the result is a piece of furniture that brings a source of pride and beauty to any room.

About the Author: Dave Murphy is the founder and president of Good Wood, Inc., provider of the best hardwood dowels on the market. They offer wooden balls, wood knobs, wooden toy parts, custom wood parts and more. They offer safe wood finishing, wood turning and can import from off-shore when necessary. Visit for all of your wood product needs.

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