I’ve been dropping hints about doing a stripping tutorial, and TODAY IS THE DAY!
I think stripping furniture is a universally dreaded task. Understandably! But it’s really not that difficult or time-consuming once you get your supplies together and just go for it! I predict that painted furniture is going to be a thing of the past sooner than later, so we might as well become familiar with the techniques needed to undo all those blasted layers of paint we’ve inflicted on our furniture!
Our new friend Sandy dropped off her tabletop to get a staining treatment done my moi, but before I could do my magic, I needed to strip ‘er down to the raw wood.
Prepare to learn how to disrobe your wood!
On another day I’m going to do a tutorial on stripping painted wood with nooks and crannies, but today we’re going to focus on the basics and simply tackle the strippage of simple stained/polyed wood.
These 3 tools are KEY!
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- Hefty Scraper (we love this one)
- Simple wire brush
- Stripper (we’ve tried a LOT, and this one is the best. Hands down)
Let’s talk about brands of stripper for a moment. We’ve tried a LOT of them, and Zinsser is our favorite hands down. It does the job SO HARD. Citristrip is trendy and it smells like a creamsicle… but NO. We’re not here to mess around.
I brushed on the stripper with a natural bristle chip brush on a 2’x2’ area.
SAFETY NOTE: No need to wear a mask, but I recommend wearing gloves and eye protection. I shudder at the thought of getting a spatter in your eyeball)
The stripper starts making the finish bubble up within seconds. After finishing my two-foot section, I wait 2-3 minutes, and then start scraping away with my hefty scraper. This thing is like a putty knife on steroids.
Plan on frequently scraping the goobers off your scraper. I keep an empty ice cream bucket handy for the nasties.
The bulk of the finish is gone, but you can see how the wood is still holding onto some of the stain.
So I repeat step 1 and slop on some more stripper, then scrub at it with the wire brush to really get into the grain of the wood.
Then scrape one last time.
It’ll be very obvious when the stain is gone. You’ll just know. You’ll feel it in your heart of hearts.
Then sand ‘er down REAL smooth. I start out with 120 grit, and finish off with 220. I used an orbital sander, but it would work just as good sanding by hand. You might just need to use some elbow grease.
Simple as that!
Here’s my quote for the day:
‘Stripping is a dirty job, but sometimes you MUST for the greater good.’
So as not to leave you without an after picture, here’s Sandy’s table with my stained technique! For the full tutorial on that, click here!
And be sure to click here for our tutorial on stripping paint from cracks and crevices, and furniture with ornate detail!