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Best Way to Strip Furniture

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One of the first steps in your furniture refinishing project is to strip the old wooden furniture of its prior coatings.  All paint, lacquer, or varnish needs to be thoroughly removed before you can successfully apply a fresh stain or other finish.  In fact, if you skip this step or try to rush it, you won’t achieve the results you want.  So, what is the best way to strip your antique furniture?

  1. Supplies – Find the right stripping agent for your furniture. Even if the label says the product is “safe,” be sure to read the chemical makeup and any fine print to understand exactly what the product will do, how to use it, and what applicators are needed.  We recommend not skimping on the quality of the chemical, and carefully reading about the contents to be sure you’re getting not only the most effective solution, but also one that is safe, not just for you (since you’ll be handling it), but also for the furniture itself.  Anything too harsh can weaken joints, strip more than just the topcoat, or otherwise damage the furniture’s makeup.
  2. Safety – Stay safe during your DIY furniture refinishing by wearing the right protective gear. Anytime you apply harsh chemicals, such as in the stripping step, wear goggles or other protective eye covering to prevent chemical spray or spatter from getting into your eyes.  We also recommend wearing long sleeves and generally exposing as little of your skin as possible to being splashed by harsh chemicals like those found in most furniture strippers.  Also wear protective gloves to keep your hands and fingers from being exposed to potentially caustic chemicals.  You should wear gloves that specifically protect against the chemicals in the stripping agent.  Likewise, wear a respirator to keep from breathing in harmful fumes while you work.  Other protective gear can be worn in addition to these items, but eye coverings, gloves, and a respirator are imperative in protecting yourself while you refinish your furniture.
  3. Time – Thoroughly and safely stripping all paint and stain from your furniture takes time! Set aside the time to prep for the work, apply the material, let it sit, dwell, cure, etc.  You may want to set aside extra time in case any part of the process needs to be repeated.
  4. Elbow Grease – Your furniture stripping project won’t get far without good old fashioned elbow grease. Once you have the right materials and set aside the time for the job, dig in!  Be sure to apply the stripper according to the instructions, allow it to “dwell” for the time needed, and use the right tools and method for removal, all of which should be listed on the container.  Don’t try to cut corners, and don’t give less than 100%.  A great DIY furniture refinishing job starts with a thorough stripping and removal of the old coats, and elbow grease will get it done!

Furniture refinishing is tricky work, and seems to never go quite as planned for most DIY refinishers.  This is one of the reasons so many Jacksonville, Riverside, Ortega, and Mandarin homeowners call on Jax Furniture Refinishing & Upholstering to take care of their furniture restoration projects!  There are many good local furniture refinishers, but Jax Furniture is the best antique restoration company trusted by homeowners throughout the area.  Our craftsmen are true professionals and know what the job calls for, but beyond that, each of us has a passion for fine furniture and attention to detail.  If you trust your wood or upholstered furniture to us for a repair or restoration, you’ll love the results!