Adventures in Stripping

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap  —  April 15, 2014 — 3 Comments

Would you believe me if I told you that I have never stripped a piece of furniture before? I paint stuff all the time, but I usually just go right over whatever was already there and don’t worry about removing the old finish. But after polling y’all on the potential fate of Jack’s new bed last week I started thinking that maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to refinish them in a dark stain.

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Green won with more than 50% of the vote, but I was still hesitant. And the more I thought about it, the more I felt like if I was in doubt then I should go for something timeless. Also, I was kind of excited to try something new. I keep a pot of stain around for small projects but have never stained anything bigger than a chair before. So on Saturday I dragged a few of the smaller pieces out to the back deck to try my hand at stripping. Don’t mind my complete lack of a photogenic work station. What you see below is the progress I’d made after an hour of sanding. One piece down, ten to go.

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Even after an hour of sanding there were still some tight spots and corners that I couldn’t get with my power sander, so I applied some of this citrus-based stripping gel that I already had. I painted it on and then waited a few hours before scrubbing it with a wire brush.

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But even after that I still had a lot of areas where the old finish remained, and I’m now pretty sure I need to scrub it down with soap and water to remove all the residue left by the Citristrip. Not worth it.

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I’m kind of at a loss because I don’t want to put a lot of effort into painting if there’s a chance that I’ll hate it and I also don’t want to spend twelve hours sanding in preparation for stain. So now I’m actually considering using gel stain, which I hear is more like paint in that it sits on top of the old finish but still allows the grain to show through. I may pick some up to test in a small area before committing. Do any of you have experience with it?

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap


3 responses to Adventures in Stripping

  1. Citristrip has never worked for me. I’m a zip strip kind of gal!

  2. I recommend gel stain all the way. I’ve redone all my kitchen cabinets with the stuff, and it’s very forgiving and easy to work with. I highly recommend the General Finishes brand. All of Pinterest says that’s the brand to use, and I had excellent results with the Java color. It can be ordered on Amazon if you don’t have a local store that carries it.

    Before gel staining, I just needed to lightly sand my cabinets so I’m sure you’ve done plenty on the bed. Then just put on rubber gloves and an old sock over your hand and rub it on, making sure you don’t leave behind too much excess. The gel stain is more of a solid goo substance and not a liquid like traditional stain. My cabinets took 3 coats of stain about 24 hours apart and then I finished with 2 coats of the satin gel topcoat. It leaves a nice shine that makes anything look brand new!

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  1. Progress: Gel Stained Wood Bed | Living Well on the Cheap - May 5, 2014

    […] I didn’t have much luck stripping the old finish, I used General Finishes gel stain. I’ve heard that it’s really great for this sort of […]

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