Thursday, December 31, 2009

Refinishing: The right tools for the job

For those of you who have never refinished a piece of wooden furniture, I thought it might be helpful to go over just what supplies you will need.  You will find it to be rather expensive when you first purchase your supplies, but most of it will last you quite while.  Therefore, you will be practicing “design on a dime” starting the SECOND time around.  

Here is what you will need:
  1.  Stripper…………………………………… $7.97 (1 qt)
  2. A stripping tool…………………………… $2.99
  3. Wood filler………………………………… $2.98
  4. Sander (with sanding pads)…………….. $29.97
  5. Primer (2 cans)…………………………… $6.20
  6. Spray gun w/ extra aerosol (optional)…. .$8.94 (can:$4.97/refill:$3.97)
  7. Spray can comfort grip (optional)………..$6.29
  8. Paint………………………………………..$12.48 (1 qt)
                                     GRAND TOTAL:       $77.82

Stripper: You will only need stripper if the piece of furniture you are refinishing has been previously painted.  You apply the stripper to the surface of the piece and after a few minutes it will start to bubble. You can then scrape off the old paint using the stripping tool.

Wood Filler:  You will need wood filler if there are any scratches or dings in the piece of furniture you are refinishing.  It will act as a patch.  Because I am painting my china cabinet, I do not need to worry about matching the color of the stain on the wood.  If you are trying to match stain, you can mix different colors of filler to match your stain.  When painting, I always just buy the natural color filler.  After it is applied and it has completely dried and hardened, you can sand it.

Sander:  You can sand your piece by hand using sandpaper, but if you plan on doing a fair amount of refinishing, I would suggest investing in a hand-held power sander.  They can range in price from as little as $15.00 to over $500.  I bought a Ryobi 240v Corner/Detail Sander for $29.97 at Home Depot. A Random Orbit Sander will work too.

Sandpaper: My sander came with extra sanding pads, but sanding pads run about $5-$6 a pack. The lower the grit, the rougher the sandpaper and conversely, the higher the grit number, the smoother the sandpaper.  Here is a table I found on that serves as a general guide to the proper uses.

I just use two different grits – 80 when I first start sanding to get all of the old paint off and then I switch to 220 for the detailed sanding. 

Primer:  Primer is applied before the paint.  It ensures better adhesion of paint to the surface, increases paint durability, and provides additional protection for the piece being painted.  You must lightly sand the wood before you apply the primer to ensure that it sticks to the wood.  It comes in all different colors, but I always buy white.

Spray gun:  A spray gun is only needed when the color you want to use isn’t available in a spray paint form.  You can always hand paint your piece, but I prefer to spay on the paint.  It goes on much more even.  I have chosen to paint my china cabinet cumulus blue from BEHR paint. It isn’t available in a spray can, therefore I bought the spay gun.   You need to thin your paint before you use it so it can be sprayed through the gun.  Because the paint I bought is water based, I will need to thin it with water at a 3:1 ratio (3 parts paint to 1 part water).  There are instructions on the side of the box that will tell you what ratio to thin your paint to and what to thin it with according to what kind of paint you are using.

Below is a picture from Better Homes and Gardens that inspired me to choose a pale color of blue.  I love this armoire!

Paint:  Pretty self-explanatory.  For my china cabinet I only bought 1 quart.  Depending on the size of your piece, you may need to buy more.

Always ask for help!  When you are at Menards or Hope Depot buying your supplies, do not hesitate to ask for help.  I ALWAYS do.  They are always super helpful and nice, plus it beats buying the wrong thing.  

Hopefully all that wasn’t too boring.  I just figure it is all good stuff to know, especially if you are new at this.

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