Refinishing can give new life to a table. A cheap garage-sale find can become a treasure when you strip off layers of old paint. Commercial strippers range in strength. In general, stronger strippers contain stronger chemicals. But stronger strippers work more efficiently than their safer-to-use counterparts. Paste strippers are weaker than liquid strippers but allow more time for paint removal. After the paint is stripped, you can refinish the table with a sealer, a stain or a fresh coat of paint.
Things You'll Need
- Chemical gloves
- Empty coffee can
- Paint stripper
- Natural-bristle paintbrushes
- Metal putty knife
- Steel wool
- Metal-bristled brush
- Clean cloth
- Mineral spirits
- Electric sander
- Fine-grit sandpaper
- Sealer, stain or paint
Take off hardware, legs and other removable pieces.
Put on a respirator, apron, gloves and goggles. Protect your work surface with a tarp or a thick mat of newspaper, and lay the pieces of the table on top. Pour the amount of paint stripper you intend to use into an empty, clean coffee can.
Dip a paintbrush into the paint stripper and quickly spread a generous, even amount over the entire tabletop. Wait 10 minutes and scrape the paint off with a metal putty knife. Apply another coat of stripper and wait 10 more minutes if the paint does not come off readily. Scrub off remaining paint with coarse steel wool.
Hold up a table leg, resting the bottom of the leg on the work surface. Brush the leg with stripper. Scrape the paint off with a putty knife and scrub off remaining paint with steel wool. Gently brush crevices free of paint with a metal-bristled brush. Repeat with all remaining table legs.
Wet a cloth with mineral spirits and rub the tabletop and legs to remove residual stripper. Allow to dry overnight.
Sand the tabletop and legs with a an electric sander and manually with sandpaper until the surfaces are smooth.
Apply a wood sealer, stain or new paint color with a clean paintbrush. Allow to dry and reassemble the table.
Tips & Warnings
- Work in a well-ventilated area while stripping paint, ideally outdoors. Do not inhale paint stripper, sealer, stain or paint.
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