6.23.2009

Furniture Renovation Part II: Sanding to Remove the "Goo"

**Updated to add: the legs were in the unfinished wood/crown molding section of Home Depot. They are actual legs that are meant for a table, not something we had to manipulate to make work. They just screwed right in to the existing table, and were even the right height. Yippee!

OK girls, are we ready for Part II in this series? I've been busy over the weekend, working on a few furniture rehab projects so that I could show you step by step what to do!

Below is a work table that we inherited from my husband's parents. It's served many different purposes, but I've been wanting to renovate it so that it can become my sewing table and live in our upstairs loft. Right now it's a pretty basic (read: boring) table. I think it looks like it came from a public library in the 1970s! I want it to look more "cottage-y." So, away we go!

If you are planning on staining a piece of furniture like I did with my recently rehabbed dresser, you first have to get all the "goo" off (by "goo" I mean the existing paint, stain or polyurethane). There are two ways to do this. The much easier way, if you can do it, is to just sand it. The other alternative involves using a liquid stripper, which I will talk about in my next post.

Sanding furniture requires nothing more than sandpaper and some elbow grease. Just jump in and start doing it! I found that this Norton brand sandpaper, pictured below and bought at Home Depot, is really great for starting the process. It's a 60 grit, which basically means that it is really rough, so it will really get in there and lift off the coats of goo, which is what you want.

I highly recommend using an electric sander for this. Of course, you can do it manually, but it will take much longer. Electric sanders are super-easy to use, and can cost about $50 at home improvement stores. I used an electric sander on this table, and even so it took me about 1 1/2-2 hours to get it done. Below, you can see where I stopped at the halfway point. I think it's pretty clear which side has been sanded!

There is no exact science to this! Just start with a really heavy grit sandpaper, and graduate to a finer grit as you go along. I usually try to sand along with the grain of the wood, as opposed to across it. As I said, I started with a 60 grit, then went over the whole thing with a 100 grit, and finally a 150 grit. (The grit gets finer as the numbers go up.) By the time I finished, the existing stain and polyurethane coats were gone, and the table top was almost as smooth as my baby boy's bum! :)

The goal here is just to reveal the raw wood, so that it will readily accept a new stain, polyurethane or paint. (Of course, if you are planning on painting it, rather than staining or polyurethaning it, you don't need to worry about removing every little bit of goo since you'll be covering it up anyway. Just "rough up" the wood enough so that it will take the paint. More on painting in a future post!)

You may notice that while I was at it, I (ah, my husband, actually!) changed up the legs for the table. The new legs cost about $12 each and I found them at Home Depot. I am planning on staining the top a dark color, and painting the legs and apron a robin's egg blue. I can't wait to see this project finished!

In my next post I will get into the (slightly more complicated) alternative, using a liquid stripper to remove the goo. Stay tuned!


30 comments:

Queenmothermamaw said...

You are doing a great job. That has got to be long and tiring, especially if you sand my hand. That is not necessary anymore, I guess since tools can be gotten less expensive now. I can't wait to see the finished project.
QMM

Laurel @ Ducks in a Row said...

This will look great. I love that you changed up the legs!

Jamie said...

That is a great table! I can't wait to see how it turns out.

Darlene said...

It looks GREAT!!

Jennifer Poppy said...

Great job! I heart electric sanders!!!

Lindy said...

Very cool! I can't wait to see how it turns out!

duchess said...

It's coming along nicely. Can't wait to see the finished product.

Patricia said...

Wow this table is going to look awesome
I cannot wait to see it finished!

jewelryandgiftsbyrebecca said...

I like the idea of some stain and some paint. Can't wait to see the results!

Jboo said...

Cool!! So fun to watch you do this and tell us all how!

And thank you so much for your sweet comment and prayers for my Mother -- really appreciated!

Janet

Miss(es) Canadian Pie said...

Gotta love this series! I'm a total novice when it comes to refinishing furniture. I've got three pieces...and four chairs that need to be redone so I'm really loving this. Would you recommend sanding for a piece that has a lot of nooks and crannies? Or something like a liquid sander? Or maybe I should just tune in for the next post!

Tasha said...

Oooo. I think this table is going to look awesome. I am so so so excited you are teaching us all these things. Because I really will be trying my hand at it very soon. You are getting me so excited. I think my husband is not going to be so excited, but tuff luck. I cannot wait to start :)

Amber said...

I can't wait to see the finished project! Sounds lovely.

TRS said...

I'm frowning at the loss of the sleek mid-century legs.

I'd have wrestled you for that table.
But I guess it's yours and you can do what you want to make it your style. But I'm still sad.

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

WOW...the table looks great....what hard work it is to sand it all down....I can't wait to see it all finished!!

Lisa

Ms. Tee said...

Oh, the colors sound gorgeous, can't wait to see! :)

sherri said...

Thanks for the HOW TO on this! I'm thinking about doing this very soon and this was a great help! I can't wait to see your finished product!

jennykate77 said...

I was just browsing your blog...catching up on what I've been missing. All of the furniture renovations look FABULOUS! I used to have a writing desk sorta like the one you redid, but it looked closer to your finished product. I recently let my aunt use it at her house...I couldn't permanently part with it.

Hope you've been doing good!

Genny said...

You inspire me. You are tireless in the projects you do. I love getting a peek into your crafty world, because I'm so not that way! Love it!

frillsfluffandtrucks said...

Ugh, I hate the sanding step! It takes forever and I'm not very good at getting in nooks and crannies!

Come by and visit if you have a chance--I'm giving away giftcards to TJ Maxx and Marshalls.

~ Sarah

Shangrila said...

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Redelsperger Family said...

Thanks for this post! I am planning on stripping my laundry room cabinets, but had no idea how to get started!

Tana@Crafting R&R

SoBella Creations said...

What a great desk!

I love your tutorials.

Jen said...

I love stripping furniture. Total instant gratification! Nice work and I love your tutorial style!
♥ Jen

Susan said...

Thank you for these wonderful tutorials. I love what you're doing with the table--you've inspired me to do the something similar with one I have. I was going to give it away, but I think I can give it a new life!

Question: did you use stair balusters or did you find actual table legs at Home Depot? I'll have to look next time I'm there...

Buzzings of a Queen Bee! said...

TO SUSAN:
Yep, I found actual table legs at Home Depot. I hope you can find them too...they were in the unfinished wood and random trim/and crown molding section. Hope you see this comment! :)
Carrie

Susan said...

Oh THANK YOU! I'm going to hit my local HD (or more than one, if necessary) and see if they have some.

Thanks again!!!!

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Conservatories said...

Reusing the furniture is real fun. I am looking around my house to find some old piece to reconstruct it. I will go for manual sanding first to see if I can do it properly. I want a tea table for my Conservatory. Thanks for sharing.

Polystyreneps said...

It feels great when you come up with something wonderful from an old piece of scrap. You feel good and useful. I love remodelling things in my home but I never tried something with furniture. Great idea. Thanks for sharing.