Refinishing Wooden Furniture: A Beginner’s Guide!

It takes only a few dedicate weeks to learn the valuable skills of refinishing wood furniture.

What should you do when your food furniture begins to show signs of aging?

Replace it with something new and fancy, right? WRONG!

If you don’t have a ton of money just lying around, replacing furniture is a really poor financial investment. Within a few years, your new furniture will become old and you’ll have to replace that too.

So, no, replacing furniture when it gets a bit aged is not the correct answer. The right solution is to refinish it.

You can get a professional to do it for you, or simply get into the garage one weekend and take refinishing your old furniture as a hobby project. It’s not that difficult, plus this is a skill that you will need your entire life.


There are several benefits to learning how to refinish your wood articles:-

  1. You save a ton of money
  2. It is a nice hobby to keep you busy during free time
  3. You can unleash your creativity by carving out extravagant patterns on your furniture
  4. It’s always nice to have a shiny living room

Okay, so let’s get down to business.

Step 1: Get rid of the old finish

This step is the most time-consuming and tiresome. You have two options:-

  1. Use an orbital sander to remove the old finish
  2. Use chemical strippers


With an orbital sander with 80/100 grit sandpaper, most of the finish is removed. Once you’re done with that, switch to a higher grit and remove rest of the finish. If there are areas that are hard to reach, use sanding block, or a small piece of sandpaper. This part is tricky, but if you can get it right, it will result in a much smoother refinishing later.

Chemical Strippers

Unlike Sanding, Chemical stripping requires you to take some precautions:-

  1. Do chemical stripping in well ventilated areas
  2. Use rubber gloves
  3. Wear proper eye-protection gear

Pro Tip: Use a gel/paste-based chemical stripper instead of paint-bases strippers as they are more effective

Apply the stripper on your furniture and let it do its work for manufacturer recommended time. Once your putty knife becomes able to cut through the layer to the wood, remove as much paint and varnish as possible.

Step 2: Prepare the wood (only required if you use chemical stripping)

Once you’re done with chemical stripping, next step is to prepare your wood furniture by sanding it. Use 120 grit papers to clear off remaining finish. After that, sand it again using a 220 grit paper.

Step 3: Fill the grain

This is an optional step depending upon the kind of wood your furniture has. If your furniture has wood with tight grain, you can skip this step, but if it has oak/mahogany wood, which has open grain, filling in the grain with filler material will result in better finish later on.

Pro Tip: Use a filler whose colour compliments that of your furniture

Step 4: Apply sanding sealer

This is the last step to preparing your wood furniture. Apply a heavy coat and let it soak. After about 30 minutes, wipe off excess sealer, and lightly sand the surface.

Step 5: Paint the furniture

Use any of the water-based, oil-based, or gel-based paints to paint your wooden furniture. When applying the paint, stick to paint manufacturer’s instructions, and keep a solid hand.

Step 6: Finish

As there are several finishing options available in the market, choose the one which best fits your requirements. Depending on the area where you will keep your furniture and how durable finishing you want, pick one and refinish.

That’s it!

I hope this article has given you a basic idea of how to take up a wood refinishing job. If you any doubts about the above procedure please leave a comment in the comments sections below.