What Is The Process Of Refinishing Wood?

What is the process of refinishing wood? This article describes the process of woodwork restoration. One of the easiest ways to restore the life of wood furniture is by having it refinished. Refinishing...

One of the easiest ways to restore the life of wood furniture is by having it refinished. Refinishing furniture can brings back the life and luster to just about any piece of wood in your home. Consumers have also turned to refinishing furniture as a do-it-yourself project that can be done around the home. True, refinishing wood furniture can be done by just about anybody, but experts suggest that each consumer considering this process should thoroughly understand how time consuming this process can be.


Dean Camenares is the owner of East End Wood Strippers in Holbrook, NY, a family-owned business since 1959. He is an expert woodwork restoration specialist who has more than 20 years experience. Camenares said that before deciding to refinish wood, you should first understand the reasons for having wood refinished.




"The purposes of refinishing or finishing wood are two-fold," he said. "One is to protect the wood, to protect it from moisture, protect it from abrasion and dirt. You also want to help beautify the wood. So, by finishing it different ways you can bring out the beauty of wood. Staining it or keeping it shiny would be what everyone else would do."

Experts also suggest that consumers attempt to bring back the luster of their old furniture the old fashioned way before going through the process of refinishing: by providing a little elbow grease. Most experts will tell you that furniture that appears to need a refinishing may actually need a good cleaning.

So, what consumers should do is go out and buy some sort of cleaner for the furniture, preferable one that is very reputable when it comes to cleaning wood. After applying the cleaner and giving the furniture a good cleaning, if the wood still looks down and damp, then refinishing should be the next option.

"If the finish is in really bad shape, you need to take off the old finish," Camenares said. "Probably, the best way to do that is by using paint removing chemicals that you can buy over-the-counter."

"There are couple of different classes of paint removing chemicals; one of them being acoustic material, which you basically do not want to do because it is too harsh and really would not work well on clear finishes," he added. "It is better for painted finishes, but it also affects the wood negatively. Then, there are Methylene Chloride based chemicals or Methanol Toluene based chemicals. One is flammable and one is not flammable. The Methylene Chloride based chemical is not flammable, so I would recommend using that."

"It is a question of just applying the chemical as described on the can," Camenares said. "Apply it to let it soften. Keep applying it. You can use toothbrushes. We use metal bristle toothbrushes. You can use a steel roll or you can use the ScotchBrite pads. As the finish softens, you just keep applying chemicals and take the finish off, using a steel roller or ScotchBrite pads, or any similar method of scrubbing it off. Once it is pretty much down to wood, you want to just wipe it with rags - clean rags like T-shirt rags. After that, clean with alcohol. If it is an old clear finish, that should take your finish off."

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