Traditional furniture refinishing can be intimidating. But it can also be extremely rewarding! Feel like DIY-ing it? Check out our refinishing tips below and see how we turned this gorgeous vintage armchair from a curbside find, into a priceless piece of vintage decor.
Stripping ain't easy, especially not with the hand-carvings and curves this old girl has! Applying the stripper isn't difficult, but removing the stripper can be. Use a hard bristle toothbrush and toothpicks to get into hard to reach nooks and crannies!
Once your piece is stripped, the sanding begins. I used 4 different grits of sandpaper on this chair, working my way up from 120, to 150, 220, and then finally 350. Remember those hard to reach nooks and crannies? Well they're even harder to sand! Your refinished piece is only as good as the sanding you did to it, so to get into hard to reach corners and joints, wrap your sandpaper around a plastic putty knife. This works to give you better leverage and a cleaner edge.
More sanding! When you have two adjoining pieces of wood with grains going opposite directions, tape off the section you’re not sanding to prevent scratching.
Congratulations - you're done sanding! Be sure to vacuum your piece thoroughly to remove any and all sanding dust. I like to wipe our pieces down with a damp rage once sanded - this helps highlight any unevenness in my sanding and removes any super fine sanding dust missed by the vacuum.
Now it's time for stain - if your chair is upholstered be sure to cover this part thoroughly. They call it stain for a reason! Normally I like to rag my stain on when applying but with all the curves and carvings on this chair, I brushed it on a section at a time, then wiped it immediately. To prevent stain from pooling in hand carved detail that you can't reach, wrap your rag around a toothpick or wooden shim!
Once your stain is dry - it's time for Poly. When applying your top-coat, less is more. Applying thin coats makes sanding in between coats easier and more manageable. Also, don't put too much pressure on your Poly brush! This helps prevents air bubbles in the finish. And lastly, just like with painting furniture, be sure to go back over and smooth out corners and edges to prevent Poly build-up.
Once dry, sit back and enjoy!
Products used on this piece are: Citri-Strip Stripping Gel, Minwax Stain in Honey, and Minwax Semi-Gloss Polyurethane top-coat.