diy furniture refinishing

Why Maybe You Shouldn’t DIY Furniture Refinishing

Lately, I have fielded a number of questions from folks trying to DIY furniture refinishing. While sometimes I can be helpful, many times I am unable to lend a hand because our professional tools, supplies and skills simply are not available to the average homeowner. Let me explain.

Prepping Furniture for Refinishing is Different for DIYers.

Prep work is the foundation of most things, including furniture refinishing. Some DIYers try to remove an old finish or paint with sandpaper, but it simply won’t do. Although sandpaper will work on a flat surface, it doesn’t work on curves, joints, grooves and so on. In addition, it depends on how rough you apply the sandpaper. Being too aggressive with sandpaper can ruin a veneer top, for which there is no solution.

A remover/stripper is often used to aid lifting an old finish or paint. However, the remover/stripper we use, albeit similar to products available for homeowners, is much stronger requiring proper ventilation and our craftsmen to wear special gloves and aprons.

Finding a Precise Match for Stain Color Ranks High on Difficulty.

Once the old stain or paint is removed, next is color. This brings us to another issue. Refinishers cannot computer match a stain color. At Furniture Werks, we take what is being refinished and compare it to a sample that the customer expects. Then, we mix our basic colors that work with the existing wood color to achieve the color of the sample for the customer’s desired look. It would be quite difficult to find an exact match at a store and/or replicate a stain color without professional knowledge of mixing colors and wood types.

The Downside Is DIY Furniture Refinishing Equipment Costs.

Finally, it’s time for the finish. Most refinishers today use a form of lacquer that is sprayed on. Lacquer is used because it surface dries quickly. Bugs, sawdust, cottonwood, dog hair and other floaties in the atmosphere don’t have a chance to stick into the new finish. Spraying has another advantage: it is very efficient compared to using a brush. The consumer downside is the equipment cost. Our spray gun is over $1,000. A spray booth is also needed for ventilation to keep spray dust off the newly sprayed piece, and of course, a big learning curve.

So, when I get requests for advice, I cannot be of much help. I do not have experience with most products available to you; so, I am unable to give you a brand opinion nor have the ability to say which type of oak or cherry stain will work for the project. With that said, our quality craftsmanship, from equipment to supplies, will deliver a perfect furniture refinishing. Your satisfaction is guaranteed at Furniture Werks. Learn more about our refinishing process here.

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