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Best way to strip and refinish a maple buffet?

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KitchenWitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 03:54 PM
Original message
Best way to strip and refinish a maple buffet?
I do not even know where to start.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 06:19 PM
Response to Original message
1. If you're talking about a pricey antique
then bite the bullet and send it to a furniture restorer.

If you're talking about Grandma's old maple veneer buffet, then you'll have a choice of chemical strippers to use. They all work pretty well, but you'll want to be very gentle scraping the softened old finish off--use a plastic scraper rather than a metal one. Follow the manufacturer's instructions about cleaning the surface, then give it a very light sanding before you stain (I'm assuming you don't want to paint it). You can finish it off with multiple coats of wax, but I prefer varnish, myself. It's not totally impervious to water damage, but it'll stop more than wax does.

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KitchenWitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 11:07 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Not an antique
It was a freecycle find.
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NMDemDist2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 11:12 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. is it veneer or solid?
if it's solid you might just want to get a power sander (and a GOOD breathing mask) and sand off the old varnish then re stain and seal

if it's veneer, it's a bit more complicated and may take chemicals, warpy had the right answer above.

but you get a good ventilator which ever you choose, you hear me?? :spank:
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KitchenWitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 11:13 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. I think it may be veneer
I will get a ventilator.
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NMDemDist2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 11:17 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. check out this article
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yy4me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-23-07 09:30 AM
Response to Reply #5
8. Hi AZDem, this is a great link with good advice for a beginner.
I should have read it. Can't argue about the approach they make toward a refinishing job. I do question the proposed use of coarse sandpaper. The piece may not need anything but a little once-over with 220 grit. Also, with hard wood like maple, no filler is needed.

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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 11:40 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. I've just used a fan jammed into a window
if I haven't been able to haul the piece outside. Just be super careful not to gouge the surface of the veneer, which is why I suggest a plastic scraper.

I've refinished a lot of thrift shop, yard sale, and furniture that was discarded onto the street on trash day. It's not as hard as it looks.
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yy4me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-23-07 06:35 AM
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7. Whether your buffet is solid or veneer should make no
difference in its worth to you as a nice old piece of furniture but if veneer, the condition of the surface might require that you do some re-glueing. To tell if the piece is solid or veneer, for your own knowledge, check this: Look at the back edge of the top or sides (there should be no finish on the wood here), if it is veneer, you will see a line about 1/16 of an inch along the outside edge of the sides and on the top edge of the top. This will indicate an outside layer of either more figurative or better grade finishing wood. Don't often see maple veneer on 20th century furniture. This will make no difference in the refinishing process unless you use an electric sander and go through the veneer.

If you have a well ventilated area to work, I'd use a chemical stripper, always wear gloves, safety glasses. Also, in scraping, always work in the direction of the grain. Crossing the grain will put scratches on your wood with your scraper and steel wool. In my opinion, I'd not use an electric sander. You may leave sanding marks, especially if you are new at refinishing. Scrape with one of the single edge razor blades in a holder available at a hardware store. Old toothbrushes, steel wool of various grades and old rags at your side.

Always use a solvent to remove any paraffin residue that is always left on surfaces after stripping. This residue will interfere with stain absorption. Use a varnish on the surface. Minwax makes a good poly varnish (3 coats) that is easy to work with. Since this is a buffet, you will want to have a waterproof surface. It is a lot of work but well worth it if you take your time. Be happy to answer any questions, My husband and I have refinished tons of furniture over the years.
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