How to Refinish Mexican Furniture

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Wood furniture imported from Mexico gives any home a distinctly elegant and rustic feel. Mexican furniture has a sturdy, natural, handmade appearance that can last for generations if cared for in the proper manner. After some years of use, however, your Mexican furniture can take on a worn and dull appearance. Refinishing your Mexican furniture will restore the piece to its original beauty.

Things You'll Need

  • Cloths
  • Tack cloth
  • Brushes
  • Stain
  • Polyurethane
  • Sanding sealer
  • Chemical stripper
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Putty knife
  • Steel wool

Brush a thick coat of chemical stripper onto the Mexican furniture and let it sit. When the old finish begins to bubble and peel, it is ready to be removed.

Scrape the old finish off the Mexican furniture with a putty knife, working slowly to avoid gouging the wood. Scrape stubborn areas of the old finish with medium-grade steel wool.

Sand the whole piece of Mexican furniture with 120-grit sandpaper, ensuring you remove any remaining bits of old finish. Wipe the surface clean with a tack cloth and sand again with 220-grit sandpaper to smooth the wood.

Brush a heavy coat of sanding sealer on the Mexican furniture and allow it to sit and absorb into the wood. As Mexican furniture can feature irregularities like knots in the wood that will make the new finish appear uneven, sanding sealer is a necessity. Wipe off any excess with a clean cloth and lightly sand the wood with 220-grit sandpaper.

Wipe a coat of stain onto the entire piece of Mexican furniture with a clean cloth. Allow it to absorb into the wood and wipe off any excess stain with a second clean cloth. Wipe on further coats to further darken the final finish.

Brush a thin coat of polyurethane onto the Mexican furniture to seal the new finish and protect the wood from moisture and dirt. Allow this initial coat to dry, then apply two more thin coats, lightly sanding the wood with 220-grit sandpaper in between applications.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wipe on stain and sand with the grain
  • Dip the steel wool in stripper to make removing the old finish easier
  • Allow more time for the new finish to absorb into the wood for a darker finish
  • Keep your work area well-ventilated
  • Protect your eyes and hands from chemicals like stain and stripper

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