How to Strip Furniture

Need to know how to strip furniture? You will need to strip furniture before you try to refinish any piece.  Stripping furniture can take a while to do, but it’s really important to do it right.  You will need to spend the extra time prepping in order to have a really good finished product.  Refinishing furniture is a great way to give a new look to an old piece. The best part is that it is really inexpensive to do.  It’s a lot of fun to revamp your old junky furniture and give it a custom look.  However, it is imperative that you strip your old furniture really well so that the new paint or stain will stick to it properly.

In order to strip furniture you will need:

  • Varnish remover. Choose one with high methylene chloride content.  Semi-paste stripper is a good choice.
  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Long sleeve shirt
  • Metal scraper
  • Scouring pads and or metal brush
  • Paint brush
  • Lacquer thinner

Steps to strip furniture:

  1. Take your piece of furniture outside.  The chemicals you are going to use are really strong and dangerous.  If you can’t take the piece outside, open all of the windows you can and consider wearing a mask to protect yourself.
  2. Put your gloves and goggles on.  You do not want the stripper to come into contact with your skin.  It will create nasty chemical burns.
  3. Pour the varnish remover into an old coffee can or other sturdy container. 
  4. Apply the varnish to the piece of furniture using a brush.  Apply generously and make sure you cover all areas. 
  5. Let stand for at least ten minutes.  The varnish should be bubbling up and look very wrinkled. 
  6. Use a metal scraper to start removing the old finish.  For smaller areas that the scraper can’t get to use a heavy metal brush or scotch brite pad to get into the crevices.
  7. Use lacquer thinner to remove any debris that is left over.

Your piece of furniture is now ready to refinish!



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