Refinish Furniture

Surface Preparation Before Paint Or Stain And Finish Save Patina

Rubber Sanding BlockRubber Sanding Block
5" long pliable rubber sanding block securely holds sandpaper during wet or dry sanding. Takes 2-5/8" x 9" sandpaper. When sanding, use a back and forth motion to avoid tearing of the paper. ..

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Surface preparation is probably the most important part of furniture refinishing, second only to preserving the old finish and patina.

After the old paint or old finish is stripped from the furniture and before any finishing process is started it's necessary to carefully prepare the surface.

Let the surface dry thoroughly, at least 24 hours, then check to be sure that there aren't any bits and pieces of old paint or finish left.

When you're certain that all the old finish is off, then clean the surface with a paint remover wash, denatured alcohol or lacquer thinner and 0000 steel wool.

Although many furniture paint removers say that they are water washable, water isn't a good thing to use on wood as it will raise the grain.

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See our section of replies to questions people have asked.

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After you've determined that the finish can't be restored and the patina saved and you've stripped the old paint or finish from the surface it's necessary for a good surface cleaning.

Paint Remover Wash

paint remover wash Citristrip Paint Remover Wash. Removes residue from wood, metal and masonry. Prepares stripped surface for finishing. Pleasant orange scent.

Denatured Alcohol

Denatured alcohol is a gentle, multi-purpose solvent, good for surface preparation cleaning. Denatured alcohol cleans well and evaporates quickly.

Denatured alcohol is a solvent for shellac, so if you're restoring a shellac finish don't include denatured alcohol in the surface preparation as it will dissolve the shellac and make a mess of the finish.

Lacquer Thinner

lacquer thinner is the solvent of choice for thinning lacquer.

As the strongest thinner used for furniture restoration and finish preparation, it quickly dissolves shellac, lacquer and epoxy. Also ideal for tool cleanup and cleaning up furniture that has just been stripped of its old finish. Medium-drying formula.

Lacquer thinner wouldn't be a good choice for surface preparation when restoring an existing finish, because most antique finishes were either shellac or lacquer.

Cotton Gloves

The next step is very important in surface preparation. Keep a pair of cotton gloves, generally used for gardening, handy just for this purpose.

After your furniture refinishing project has thoroughly dried after the final cleaning and rubbing with the 0000 steel wool put your cotton gloves on and run your hands over the surface very carefully. If the gloves don't snag anywhere, don't sand the furniture, let a patina grow.

If the gloves snag, then you'll need to lightly sand. See the sanding section.

If the surface under the gloves feels just a little rough, then go over the area again with your cleaning solution and 0000 steel wool.

When you run the gloves over the surface and if feels smooth, then your surface preparation is complete and you're ready for the next step in furniture refinishing. See the stain section.

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