I just bough an antique hutch that is in good condition except finish. I
want to completely strip old finish and then put new finish that I have not
decided yet which one. I never stripped finish from old furniture, what the
best way to do this?
I have been using a heat gun.
Some in here would say never use a heat gun. But that is what I have used.
Only word of advise is if you use a heat gun is that it will burn the wood,
I try to keep the distance from the wood and the rate that I move across the
surface of the wood consistent.
If the finish is totally gone, then you may get by with just sanding.
Depends how dry the varnish is.
Why I don't use chemicals is cause it really becomes a mess to deal with.
And the heat gun, like in hard to get places sometimes all you need to do is
to heat the varnish to break the bond to the wood and it sands eaiser after
I bought a good heat gun also that helps. Some of the $20 guns may work but
I haven't tryed them yet I have always used the kind that look like a conair
blow dryer (like the one's used to dry hair)
it cost about $70, but recently they have gone for about $49 at home depot.
hope this helps :)
If the piece still has the original finish, keep in mind what you learned in
chemistry class. That is, likes dissolve likes. For example, if the piece
was finished with shellac, denatured alcohol was used to cut the shellac and
will easily dissolve it from the piece.
Some experimenting with turpentine, boiled linnenseed oil, etc. may prove
Keep in mind that some finishes are chemically changed after applying by
oxygen like poly, so this rule will not apply here. You'll need stripper or
heat, etc. for poly --dave
Antique and strip, now there are two words that are a bit scary when
Just for FYI in case you weren't aware of it, stripping an antique, for
that matter messing with the original finish in just about any way will
just about completely destroy any value the piece has as an antique.
Without knowing more about the construction of the piece and what the
original finish is it is difficult to give good advice on stripping a
finish. If I were you I would, at the least, have someone who is
familiar with such things look at the piece before you leap into
anything using the advice you get on line.
With due respect to the posters replying to this post, well meant advice
can get you into deep doo doo. Even appropriate advice can do it.
IE The two easiest ways are probably chemical stripper and or heat.
Unfortunately, should the piece be made with veneer and or hide glue,
either or both of these options could have adverse effects on veneer and
or the joints of the piece. The same with power sanding. Veneer is very
easy to sand through.
If I were inclined to give advice on a piece I haven't seen it would be
to go the most laborious route of using a card scraper and hand sanding.
What ever method you choose to use, be conservative in it's application
and go slowly.
Also unfortunately neither do I, which leads me back to my original
recommendation of finding, among friends, relatives, or what ever,
someone who is conversant with woodworking to actually look at the piece
and advise you.
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