Stripping Furniture: Tips for Refinishing

Make old furniture look new again in a weekend!

If you've ever thought about stripping and refinishing an old piece of furniture you inherited from a loved one or just rescued from a dumpster, this article is for you!

Furniture refinishing is an easy and very satisfying DIY project. It's also a great way to furnish your house on the cheap. With just a little elbow grease and not too much money—$50 to $75 in supplies—you can easily remove old paint or other finish and give an old piece of furniture a new lease on life.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Choose the right stripper

Most stripping products work well on just about any type of finish. So, when you're shopping for one, it really comes down to two factors: speed and safety. Don't blindly accept marketing claims on the front of the bottle about how safe it is. Some "safe" strippers contain chemicals that are dangerous if you touch them with bare hands or inhale the fumes. Read the back of the bottle! That's where you'll find information about what chemicals it contains and what safety precautions you should take.

Strip Safely

Most stripping products require the use of eye, skin and lung protection. Wear splash-proof goggles, long sleeves and pants, chemical-resistant gloves and a respirator with new organic vapor cartridges. Keep a bucket of water with rags handy to wipe off stripper that gets on your skin. Work outside if at all possible. If you must work indoors, open as many windows and doors as you can.

Four types of strippers

Stripping Tools

Video: Tips for Refinishing Wood

Tip: Carpet your workbench

Tip: Brush it on thick

Tip: Strip in zones

Tip: Keep it wet

Tip: Use a box

Tip: Is it worth stripping?

Tip: Don't bother stripping furniture you plan to paint

Tip: Get rid of stain (or not)

Tip: Strip hardware the easy way

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