A Sweet Little Side Table Before & After.

I have a problem. It’s not life threatening or anything, but it’s a problem all the same. You see…I really love furniture. And we happen to live in a spot where people put furniture out on the curb all the time. For free. I call it Picking Day. Other people call it Trash Day. Every Monday in our neighborhood is Bulk Trash day. You can literally put anything out on the curb that you don’t want. And sometimes I get very lucky and find myself in the right spot at the right time and someone else’s trash finds it into the trunk of my minivan. This is only a problem in that we do already have a house with furniture so I often find myself shifting things around, making work for myself that I don’t NEED to do. It’s a problem, but perhaps I should call it a hobby.

I can’t even tell you how many things I’ve picked up on picking day. I’ve outfitted our house with these finds. But sometimes they need a little help. And that’s when my little hand sander comes in. Honestly though…Every time I sand something I say I’ll never do it again. It’s the actual worst. But I’ll also say that I never regret it once it’s done.

I did share about this on Instagram a few weeks ago, but thought I would save it here for future reference. Am I the only one who finds it terribly difficult to find something on instagram if I forget to take a screenshot in the moment?? I can’t be. Much easier to look at a website for future reference!

  • Sand with 80 grit sandpaper followed by 120 and 220 to smooth using a detail sander or a random orbital sander. I used my detail sander for this one with its straight lines but for a larger piece I would probably recommend an orbital. An orbital sander just has more power than the detail sander.
  • You may have to get in the curves, nooks and crannies a bit by hand. Keep going until you’re happy with the color and finish. Mine had these dark lines where the previous stain had seeped in very deeply. I just kept sanding until they were gone.
  • At this point you could apply a new stain in a different color. I liked mine as it was, so I next just finished it with clear matte polycrylic applied with a sponge brush. Matte means it won’t have a shine when it dries.

A note because there may be questions: I have tried the oven cleaner method on a couple things and it does work in taking off stain, BUT I feel that it damages the wood. It seems to sort of shred the wood finish while taking the stain out. Just stresses me out for my poor wood pieces. Not to mention all chemicals in oven cleaner. I prefer sanding because it freshens up the look while making it like new again. However, if you have a piece of furniture with lots of nooks and crannies – oven cleaner may be a good place to start for you. Curves and corners are notoriously difficult to sand! There’s also always citri-strip! You might have great results with that too! But for me – I have ended up having to sand even with other stripping methods. So you may have to do a combination of things if you have an orange-y gal laying around like me that could use an update!

Hope those tips and the process are helpful in case you’re not sure how to update your wood pieces!

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