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How To Strip Wood Before Refinishing It

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Refinishing an old piece of furniture is a fun and cost effective way to breathe life into an old piece. Of course, the job can be messy and time consuming if you are not prepared for it. Perhaps the most demanding part of the job is removing the existing stain. The difficulty of this is hard to predict. It depends on the age of your piece, the type of wood, the stain type and brand, how it was applied and much more. Nonetheless, the two best ways to remove stain from wood are either with just power sanders or with wood stripping chemicals. This article explains the pros and cons of both approaches.

Using Stripping Chemicals

Wood stripping chemicals are easy to find a home improvement stores. Most claim that you just rub the chemicals, which is usually a gel, on the wood and then rub it off after letting it soak in for a little bit. Often, they promise that all of the existing stain will come right off of the wood after soaking for less than an hour. However, this is not always the case. Most stains will be applied in several coats. There may even be a primer coat that won't remove easily. In most cases, when you use chemicals, you end up having to use a power sander to remove the majority of the stain.

Using Power Sanders

It might be smarter and quicker to just skip the chemicals and go straight to sanding down your stain with a power sander. This can still be a time consuming process. You will likely need to change you paper several times. Also, you need to push down the sander with constant pressure to get most of the stain off. This is often still easier than using chemicals for a number of reasons. First of all, when you use chemicals and then try to sand the stain off, the wood is often gooey and dirty from the gel. This means that your sander paper is not very effective and it needs to be changed very frequently. Also, many people don't like using the chemicals because they are strong, dangerous to breathe in and harmful for the environment.

It is a good idea to have both the chemicals and the sander on hand. Try using just the sander first. If necessary, use some of the chemical stripper to help break down the stain. In the end, once your stain is removed, you can move forward with refinishing your piece. This is the more fun part of the job! Contact a company like Painting By Jerry Wind for professional tips.