Wood refinishing question...


Apr 7, 2002
We have a 20 year old pine bedroom set. It is stained in a medium dark stain. We'd prefer something lighter and thought of buying new furniture, but we can't really prioritize that expense right now.

Does anyone know anything about refinishing woods? Is there an easier way than stripping off the old stain and reapplying? I don't want to paint it another color, but I've read about wood bleaches and "pickling" techniques. Wood pickling work on an already stained piece of furniture?

Any ideas would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
I took an old bureau that was stained a medium-ish brown color(maybe a little toward the darker side, but not black)and sanded it down to bare wood with an electric roating(or something like that)sander.It was pretty easy, and it pretty much got it down to the bare wood. I then painted the bureau.It was well-sanded enough though where I could have re-stained it if I had wanted that look. There are things like ZipStrip, which I think work pretty welll as far as removing all stain chemically...you put it on the piece and let it sit and wipe it off. My suggestion would be to take a ride to your local Home Depot or equivalent type place and look at what's there.
I use 5F5 for all my stripping projects. Quite smelly but with good ventilation. there isn't a problem. During the cooler weather I'll work outdoors.

They do sell strips of paper with a stripper on one side. It's not smelly and it works quite well.

Pine is an easy wood to strip.

Stripping will remove the finish but not the stain pretty much. Pine is very soft and porous and will most likely require sanding. I think I would skip the strip and just sand like previously suggested. I have several "attic treasures" in my home. My first was a dresser I refinished on a 6th floor appartment balcony.

You could also get a distressed look similar to the pickling by sanding or stripping off the finish, putting thin layer of light colored pain and lightly sand the edges and "wear" areas to make it look like really old furniture. You would then need to refinish with just a coat or two of water based polyurethane.

Have fun, you will be so proud of your accomplishment.


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