Freshen up Your Decor by Refinishing Furniture
Hosts Pat Simpson and Amanda Rosseter provide even the most novice do-it-yourselfer step-by-step instruction with the help of refinishing expert Harry Wicks.
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If saving money is important to you, then refinishing furniture is a great way to breathe new life into your existing décor or provide aging furniture with a fresh look.
Materials and Tools:
Safe, water-based, gel paint stripper
Bucket of water
Various sizes of putty knives
150 grit sandpaper
220 or 240 grit sandpaper
Stripping pads with handle
Optional: (depending on the paint stripper)
Before starting a refinishing project, consider the following points of preparation:
- Choose a well-ventilated location either outside or indoors with good lighting.
- Place a plastic drop cloth under your furniture and cover the surrounding area with newspaper to prevent messy spills.
- The ideal temperature for refinishing is 50 degrees or above.
- It's best to refinish furniture in the morning because there is less dust in the air.
- Most paint strippers are volatile, so don’t use them in a room with sparking equipment or near anyone lighting a cigarette. Many new, water-based strippers clean up easily and are non-flammable options.
- Always read the product label before starting the project.
- Eye protection is very important, especially when working at eye level. To prevent any chemicals from splattering in your face, wear protective goggles.
- Use a covered metal container such as a paint can to put the paint stripper waste in, and dispose of these materials according to local waster regulations. If it's a lead based paint, disposal is especially critical.
1. Shake up the paint stripper to mix the contents well.
2. Pour half of the container into a bucket of water.
3. Apply the stripper heavily with a paintbrush (figure A). Avoid brushing the stripper out into thin layers.
4. Let the stripper breakdown the paint for about two to four hours. If the climate is dry, you can slow down the evaporation time by covering the chair in plastic or aluminum foil. Or, if the paint it resisting the stripper, apply a second coat to soften the stubborn sections.
5. Wearing rubber gloves, use a putty knife to gently scrape away the paint. Be careful not to gouge the softened wood.
6. Once you’ve stripped an area, add paint stripper to a pad and rub the wood in a circular motion.
7. When the paint has been removed, sand the wood with the sanding sponge.
8. Use an awl and hammer to push the nails below the wood surface and finish the nails with wood putty. Apply the wood putty with either your fingers or a putty knife. For those tough to reach crevices, use pattern files. If you are using power-sanding tools, wear a respirator to prevent inhaling the wood dust. Respirators are not necessary for hand sanding.
9. Dust off the furniture with a foxtail or soft bristle brush to remove the sanding residue.
10. Wipe down the wood grain with a tack cloth to lift away stubborn dirt.
11. Stir the stain to mix well. Do not shake the stain, unless the manufacturer's directions say to do so.
12. When you are ready to stain, leave the most visually exposed areas of the furniture such as the seat of a chair for last. If you accidentally touch the wet areas, there will be a mark.
13. Apply the stain with a brush, and wipe it off after one minute. Other stains may require 10 to 15 minutes before wiping, so be sure to check the product label for the correct procedure
14. Stain one section at a time (figure B), and allow each area to dry overnight.
15. Use a 220 to 240 grit sand paper to smooth out any rough areas. Then, lightly clean the area with a tack cloth.
16. Apply the first coat of poly-acrylic finish with synthetic brushes in a fairly thick coat. Brush the finish out in one direction, and never paint using back and forth strokes.
17. Let the finish dry for about four hours. Repeat the sanding and tacking process again before applying the second and third coats of poly-acrylic finish.
18. Because this poly-acrylic finish is water-based, it's easy to clean up and dries quickly.
Kitchen sink spray nozzles can easily get clogged with iron or sulfur build-up. A quick way to repair clogged sprayers is to run the faucet water into the face of the sprayer, and rub the sprayer screen with a toothbrush (figure C). If that doesn’t work, buy a new replacement head. Rather than calling a plumber that can run you anywhere from $40 to $55 on a service call, it's more cost effective to replace the broken sprayer yourself. Kitchen sprayers are sold at most hardware stores and are very affordable. At about $9.95, replacement sprayers are often sold with washer and hose replacements, too. Unscrew the old sprayer, and replace it with the new head tightly to secure it in place.
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