How to Refinish a Wood Chair

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    • 1). Cover your work area with plastic sheeting and newspaper to prevent the refinishing process from staining other furniture or the floor.

    • 2). Strip the chair down to the wood only. Remove any attached cushions or padding by removing the screws securing them in place. Set them aside to reinstall later.

    • 3). Repair any deep surface damage to the wood. Fill deep scratches or dents in the wood with wood filler, scraping the surface of the filler with a putty knife to level it with the surface of the wood. Allow the filler to dry completely for the length of time recommended by the filler's manufacturer.

    • 4). Remove the old finish or paint on the chair using a chemical stripper. Use a mild stripper to keep from damaging the wood. Put on safety goggles and gloves and in a well-ventilated room, brush the stripper onto the wood of the chair. Leave the stripper in place for the length of time suggested on the packaging. Remove the stripper, along with the old finish, by scraping the surface of the wood with a round-edged putty knife, taking care not to scratch or gouge the wood in the process. Remove the stripper from detailed or hard-to-reach areas by using steel wool. Examine the surface of the wood after removal. If paint or finish remains, repeat the process until you've removed it all.

    • 5). Clean the wood using a wood cleaner specially formulated for your wood type. Wash the surface completely to remove any stripper residue using a damp but not wet cloth. Do not saturate the wood, as that may bring up the wood grain, roughening the wood's surface. Allow the wood to dry completely for about two hours.

    • 6). Sand the chair with fine-grit sandpaper until it's smooth to the touch. Wipe the surface clean with a wax-embedded tack cloth to remove sanding residue.

    • 7). Brush the surface of the wood with a new layer of stain, working along the grain of the wood. An oil-based wood stain will create deep, rich colors in the wood, but has an unpleasant odor when applied. Allow the stain to dry to get a sense of the actual color. If you desire more depth of color, apply additional layers of stain, allowing each to dry for evaluation. Let the final layer of stain dry for 24 hours.

    • 8). Apply a top coat of polyurethane or lacquer to protect the stained wood from damage. Polyurethane is a clear plastic that comes in a variety of finish types depending on the final look desired, from matte and barely noticeable to glossy. Brush the polyurethane finish lightly onto the wood, following the wood grain. Wait the manufacturer-recommended drying time after application before handling the wood.

    • 9). Reinstall the cushions, screwing them back into place, and then use the restored chair as normal.

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