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Refinishing a Wood Furniture Top

I have made progress on my buffet, I named "Rhiannon" by beginning with her damaged wood top. It had lots of stains and discoloration in the finish with parts of the shellac peeling off, but I knew it was worth saving.


 I didn't even attempt to just start sanding to remove the finish as I have learned from experience the shellac topcoat used on antique furniture is a bear to remove. I went straight the stripper product I currently use called ":Strypeeze" to remove the first layer of the shellac.




 I then began sanding with my DeWalt orbital sander using a 80-grit sandpaper to remove the residual gunk from the stripping process which will leave the fibers of your wood raised and a little rough to the touch. At this point I proceeded by using a finer 120-grit sandpaper followed by a 220 grit to lay the fibers down and create a very smooth to the touch finish. If you look at the left side, it shows how the wood appears after using the 80-grit vs the right-side showing s a softer finish after using the 120-grit.


The right side shows how my wood appeared after I completed my sanding with the 220-grit sandpaper. In the left side of the picture, I have cleaned the finished top using an applicator pad and mineral spirits. This prepares my surface to accept the stain and also gives me a preview of how beautiful the top is going to look when complete.



I decided to use Dixie Belle Paint Company No Pain Gel Stain in Walnut applying it with a cotton applicator pad and wiping off any excess to leave a nice uniform stain finish which allowed the gorgeous wood grain to show. This stain provided great coverage so I will not be applying a second coat. Because this is a oil-based stain I will wait a couple of days before I apply my 4 layers of topcoat which will deepen the tones of the wood grain.


I hope this helps any of you considering re-finishing a wood top on your own furniture pieces. It is a messy, time-consuming process but well worth it when complete.



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