Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Making new again!

How do you go from this.....


To this...



You use a lot of these...


It occurred to me that some of you may be wondering what steps I take when I am trying to revive an old piece of furniture like this one.  It is really not that difficult, it just requires some patience and a strong desire to complete a job well done.  I'm not much on the patience part, but I have a very strong need to finish what I start and finish it well.

The first step is to try and clean the furniture the best you can by wiping away all dust and dirt.  I use a damp cloth or some form of wood cleaning agent.  Now it is time to start stripping.  I use a Citrus stripper because the fumes are not bad at all and it seems to work just as well as some of your other stronger fumed products.  Some of those guys could make you fail a drug test at work if you are not careful.  I try and start on what I think will be the easiest section to work with.  This will tell me what I am up against as far as how easy the old finish will come off (or how hard in most cases). 

I spread the stripper with a paint brush working with the grain.  This particular piece was only finished with a stain, so the stripping agent was already starting to work as I was applying it to the surface.  If you have a piece that has been painted, it may take a while for the stripper to really start eating at the paint.  After I applied the first coat and saw that it was already working, I grabbed my plastic scrapper and stared scraping the old finish off.  I then applied a light second coat and repeated the process.  The remaining finish came off with a rub of a damp cloth.

After drying it is time to start sanding.  No stripper will remove all of the old finish, so sanding is necessary to properly clean the surface and prepare the surface for a new coat of finish.  I use different sanders to complete this task including a belt sander, a mouse sander and a dremmel tool.  I start with a course paper to remove the rest of the old finish and work my way down to a fine paper to get the desired smoothness that I need.  Once all is sanded I clean the surface with mineral spirits and allow to dry.  It should look something like this...



It is now time for your final finish.  Some people will stain wood or repaint.  I like a natural oak color, so I apply polyurethane.  One coat, let dry, lightly sand with steel wool, apply next coat.  You should end up with something that looks like this...

Finished drawer ready for new hardware!
or like these...

All 4 drawers with 2 coats of finish!
This project has been kind to me so far in the fact that it has not been too difficult.  I only have one more side to strip, then the rest of the chest will get a new coat of finish applied.  It is cleaning up well and should be a beautiful piece of furniture when I finish.  I visited a local refinishing shop yesterday and the owner told me that this chest was probably made in the late 1870's to early 1920's.  He ordered me some new hardware to match that period and I can't wait to see how it is going to look.

Get out there and bring something back to life.  It is very rewarding!  Stay tuned to see how it ends up!!

6 comments:

The Downeast Duck Hunter said...

Looking good TL.com

I've got a couple of dings and dents in the Ruger 44 stock, you thinking you'd be in for that?

TLuck trap #007 scored for three nice counters today

Trey said...

A gun stock should be fairly easy. Ship it to me and we will see what I can do!

Steve said...

Trey,

Looks great! I really like the look of newly finished oak. I'm curious if you fill the open pores of the oak before using the polyurethane? Or do you let the old finish fill?

Sorry for such a strange question.

Steve

Trey said...

Steve,

If the old finish was paint, you have to sand it down until you can remove the finish or you will still see the color. If it was a stain, as in this case, you do not have to do as much sanding because it will just make the grain of the wood stand out more. It's really just whatever you want!

LB @ Bullets And Biscuits said...

You know I am droolinig over this piece! You did an amazing job on it. I can't wait to see the hardware you picked out

Bill said...

Looks great! I have to admit I hate sanding. LOL