About Refinishing

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    • One look at that antique dresser and you might think, "One good coat of stripper and I'll have me a priceless heirloom to pass down to my children." Unfortunately, that is not the case. In most cases, there will be at least be a coat or two of sealer to remove before getting to the stain or paint underneath. Reading the product container thoroughly will help to avoid burns on the fingers, hands and forearms. All stripping solutions will have acids and abrasives that will cause blisters.

    Expert Insight

    • Strippers are very powerful solutions created for one thing: to eat away some kind of finish that needs to be removed. Be patient and allow for one coat of stripper for every coat of finish to be removed. Once you are down to the wood, there may still be some stain in the grain of the wood. Use 000 steel wool and rub fresh stripper into the grain, let it set a moment or two (look for the manufacturer's recommendation) and wipe with a clean, soft cloth. Once it is completely stripped, wipe it with a damp cloth to remove any residue of the stripper. Sand it in preparation for the new finish.


    • Although the toughest part of refinishing is the stripping, one reward it brings is the possibilities in applying the new finish. With all of the innovative products on the market today, there is no limit to what you can do with that antique dresser or chair. Be certain that the wood has been sanded and all the dust has been removed, and apply the new stain or paint as the manufacturer suggests. Remember, the idea is to give it features with your signature.

    The Facts

    • Using the correct tools, coupled with following safety precautions, will make the refinishing experience a pleasurable one. Remember, the stripping solution will burn the skin on contact, so wearing rubber gloves that are made specifically for this type of work will keep you protected. Do not use the gloves made for washing dishes, as this will not give adequate protection. Be certain to dispose of the used stripper in an approved container.

    Time Frame

    • Refinishing is another project that requires patience. In a world of push-button, instant service, waiting may be the hardest chore in refinishing. The stripping steps in refinishing are much easier if we don't expect more out of the stripper than what the product label says it will do. While it is not wise to let the stripper dry, it is equally useless to scrape it off too soon. If you're not certain how long the stripper has been working, try scraping a small bit of it to test its progress.

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