You can give an old piece of furniture a new lease on life by refinishing it. Of course, you will first need to strip the existing paint or stain from the wood. This can often be a difficult job. The difficulty of the removing old stain largely depends on the age of the furniture, the type of stain, the species of wood, and how many coats were applied. Of course, you might not readily have all of this info available, so you often need to just start working. In most cases, you can't really tell how long it will take until you start stripping the wood. This article explains the quickest ways to strip a piece of furniture.

Using A Power Sander and Steel Wool

You should start by trying to remove the stain with a vibrating power sander. In some cases, the stain or paint will come off with ease. The key is to use 2 different grits of sandpaper. Start off with a medium grit paper to help quickly remove the existing stain. Then, step up to a fine grit sandpaper that will smooth out the surface. Then, before you re-stain the surface, you will need to use steel wool to make the surface paint-ready.

Using Chemical Stripping Agents

If the power sander is taking too long, you might need to use a chemical stripping gel or liquid to assist in breaking down the stain. These spray-on chemicals are easy to use: you just spray them on and let the chemicals soak into the paint before wiping them off. The stain can usually be rubbed off with a towel or sponge. But, the chemicals do not always remove all of the stain by themselves. You will often still need to use a power sander to remove the more stubborn stain. Also, the chemicals can be harsh on your skin and dangerous to breathe, so many professionals try to avoid using them altogether.

If possible, you should try and remove the stain with just the power sanders. Only use the chemicals if you have tried to sand the wood and find that it is not coming off easily. In the long run, both approaches are messy and both will probably require the use of a power sander at some point. It is a good idea to test an area of the furniture before you begin the project. If you're struggling to strip the wood yourself, consider hiring a service like Dip 'N Strip.