Getting To The Grain - CBS News

Lipford advises to follow the directions on the stripper when applying it to small sections of the furniture. Generally, there would be a waiting period, anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, to allow the stripper to break down the finish, and it will usually result in a bubbling effect. Once it's gotten to that point, then it's best to use a plastic putty knife to scrape all of the loose or bubbled-up finish off of the furniture.

The cost to refinish the furniture is minimal less than $150 for a table and chairs.

A few good reasons to refinish furniture, he says, is to change the color to match another piece of furniture or to match a wood floor. Staining will help cover up some minor blemishes that you may have, but some people like marks on furniture.

When you use the block of wood, just rub. When using a sander, Lipford says to go with the grain. He explains, if you go cross grain it will cause a lot of scratches that will show in the finish later on.

Before you buy your refinishing supplies, you want to find out what kind of finish you are going to strip off, says Lipford. For the cotton ball test, take a cotton ball and nail polish remover and touch it to places that are not visible. If the finish starts dissolving, that tells you it's either a varnish or a lacquer. If it has no effect on it, then you know you are dealing with a painted finish or one that has polyurethane on it. Once you determine that, go to the paint store or home center and buy the right chemical stripper that will help you successfully strip the finish off the piece of furniture. Lipford says there are a variety of strippers that can be used, but it's primarily the one that is formulated to strip that type of finish that works the best.

When dealing with crevices, for example the decorative legs of a table, Lipford says to rely on the chemical stripper and an old toothbrush to get into the grooves of the furniture.

Step 6: Sand Wood

After washing, you are ready to sand the furniture, either by hand or using a finishing sander, Lipford says.

Step 3: Follow Directions and Apply to Small Sections

Step 1: Examine Furniture

Step 4: Remove As Much Finish As You Can

Step 2: Cotton Ball Test

Step 5: Use Remover Wash

Step 7: Wipe Off Dust and Apply Stain

Lipford says it's important to refinish furniture in a well-ventilated area.

The stain will allow you to not only make the wood more uniform, but it also gives you the opportunity to change the color, Lipford says. There are hundreds of colors, such as blue or any color, that can be used in the form of a tint. Staining with the color allows you to still see some of the grain without covering up the wood with paint.

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Minwax and Formby's make about 80 percent of stains that are on the market, according to Lipford.

Some old wood furniture from a flea market, an antique shop or around the house can look new again with just a little elbow grease.

Danny Lipford, host of "Today's Homeowners," says it is a lot easier than one might initially think to refinish wood furniture. He visited The Early Show Thursday to give some helpful advice on how to strip old paint from wood surfaces.

Here are Lipford's steps to furniture grain beauty:

After removing as much paint as possible, wash down the furniture with a "remover wash," instructs Lipford. It's basically intended to remove the residue finish off of the furniture.

Lipford says it will probably take three consecutive days to strip and refinish a table and two chairs, including drying time. You can start on Friday night and finish on Sunday.

First, look closely at the piece of furniture before you invest any time in it to make sure there are not any major cracks or warping from moisture damage in the wood, says Lipford. After examining the furniture, the next step is to clean it to get any spider webs or bug eggs (from being in an attic or old antique shop) or basic dirt off it.

Step 8: Apply Protective Finish and Let Dry

After the stain dries, Lipford instructs to put a protective finish on it. To give it longevity and generally, Lipford says, you would apply two coats. Also, lightly sand it in between stages, he says. It makes the finish cloudy, but don't panic if it looks like you are messing up the finish. You are kind of etching the finish so you can get another layer on it, Lipford explains. After the first coat, it's going to be shiny and slick and smooth. For the second coat to adhere to the first coat, use sandpaper to knock the sheen off of the first coat. When the second coat goes on, you are through. Then you let it dry.

Continue removing as much paint as you can. Occasionally, a second coat or application will be necessary on some of the more stubborn finishes, Lipford says.

You then wipe the furniture again to get all of the dust off and then you're ready to apply the stain. You would apply the stain again in the direction of the grain using a brush. Then you allow it to sit on the wood for a minute or two and then you wipe it down with a clean rag. That removes the excess stain and forces the stain down into the wood, says Lipford.

Lipford says to keep in mind that after stripping the varnish, you may like the color as it is and may not want to stain it.

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