I've recieved some old chairs that need to be refinished. The wood is
real porous and rough. They've been dipped as well.
I'm concerned with it being too porous/grainy. The whole chair is
rough, not just a few spots. Should I just sand this until its smooth,
apply some kind of filler, or try to fill it with coats of poly? If I
sould do the filler, what is the most painless method?
You have yourself a real project there. You are dealing with either
raised grain from the stripper being washed off, or the stripper ate
into the wood a bit, leaving it rough. In either case, you can use a
sanding sealer, probably more than one coat, sanding lightly between
Are you going to paint, stain, or just clear finish these chairs?
Have you estimated the time it will take to do the refinishing,
compared to the cost of comparable new chairs, and found it is in fact
worth you time (at whatever rate your time is worth)? Frequently,
unless you are dealing with antique restoration, it's not feasable.
If you are restoring antiques, do you know what the original finish
was, and can you duplicate it well?
Perhaps this is a family heirloom, in which case the sentimental value
of the chairs overrides the cost of refinishing them (labor of love)?
Just a few things to think about, hopefully before you invest a lot of
time in this.
Too much information. Go the path of least resistance. If sanding is
not filling the voids, you can try using paste grain filler. If you
try to fill the pores with finish, it will take forever and you'll most
likely never end up with an even finish you'll be satisfied with. Read
up on paste grain filler application and then finish appropriately.
You should be able to get good results. Also - take the time to hand
strip; it's much easier to control how invasive your stripper will be.
Dewaxed shellac, vinyl, or lacquer sanding sealers will also quickly
fill grain without hiding it, as they remain clear. Shellac can be
overcoated with just about anything, check the can (or better yet, do
a sample) on the others to ensure compatibility with your top coat.
Commonly available examples:
* Shellac - Zinnser Seal Coat or Zinnser _spray_ clear (NOT brush-on
clear, it's got wax)
* Vinyl Sanding Sealer - Zinnser Quick 15 (stick with Gloss, the
flattening agent in satin will hide things)
* Lacquer - H. Behlen or Mohawk
Seal Coat is probably the most useful finishing product a woodworker
can use, every shop should stock it! <G>
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