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How to Strip Wood Furniture

Whoo! I am going to power through making this blog post if my arms let me! This project is no joke y'all.

After almost 10 hours and 2 trips to Home Depot, I finally finished stripping and white washing our dining room farmhouse table! Since this is an awesome way to transform a dated piece of furniture into a gem, I wanted to give you my step-by-step process for this project.

Let's start stripping!

Okay, as you can see, this table is pretty gorgeous as it is! This table has actually been in my family for like 15 years! My mom updated her kitchen not too long ago, so guess who got a new table. (me) Unfortunately, we have so much dark/red undertoned wood in our home that this orange/ yellow table wasn't looking so hot...

To brighten up our dining room, my vision is to have a grey/ white oak colored table to go with our black and white linen chairs.

Now that you know the goal, lets get started on how I went from stain to no stain!

What you will need:

- CitriStrip

- Plastic drop cloths

- Hard bristle paint brush

- Metal Flat Scraper ( 2 sizes if you want to get technical)

- 5-6 Metal Brush (small- medium)

- 3M Ultra Fine Sanding Pad

- 3M "Removes" 60 sand paper

- White Paint (mine is Alabaster from Sherwin Williams)

Step 1:

Prep the table by placing the plastic wrap under, on the sides, on the ceiling (no really); you need to cover every surface possible because this is messy. Clean your table so the CitriStrip bonds better.

Step 2:

Apply the CitriStrip with the paintbrush. You will need to pour the stripper into a separate bowl so you can dip the brush easier.

NOTE: some people pour the stripper onto the table then spread it out with the brush. I cannot speak for that method myself since I didn't do it, but I hear it works also?

Step 3:

After every surface of the table has the stripper on it, cover the table completely and let it sit for about 1 hour. You can leave it on longer to make the stain come off easier.

Step 4:

After your hour of waiting is over, peel the plastic off and start scraping! I started with the top (easier) and used the metal spatula to remove the stripper/stain.

NOTE: I made the mistake by not going with the wood grain when removing the stain. Make sure you are scraping the same direction that your wood is laid.

Step 5:

After you have scraped all of the stripper/ stain off the top, get your metal brush and start brushing away! As you can see above, the lighter area is after the brushing and the darker is after the stain was removed.

For my project, it was important to get the table as light wood as possible!

Step 6:

If you have made it to this point and your arms haven't fallen off, they are about to! Now we have to get all this stripper off of the legs! (and you cannot use that nifty little metal spatula....)

So here are some of the things I got at the store to make this a little easier. I broke these items into steps that worked for me in getting everything off the legs.

First, you take the metal brush and start breaking up the stain. All of the stripper/ stain mixture will get in the bristles of the metal brush, so you need 1 for each leg then 2 for after.

Then I took the sanding pad and wiped off all of the access stripper/ stain mixture the best I could. I tried to use a wash cloth and it didn't work as well as the sanding pad did.

After I removed must of the gunk, I went for a second round with the metal brush to get down to that lighter wood color to match the top.

NOTE: you can see the difference in color between these 3 photos! Thats why I have those 3 steps.

Step 7:

Once the whole table is clean of stripper/ stain and you have sanded it down with the 3M 60 Remove sand paper, you can start adding your new color. I went with a white wash technique using left over paint from our walls.

The can was pretty much empty so I added some water until the paint was completely liquified. I took an old wash cloth and started rubbing the paint all over the table in a very very very light coat!

And thats all folks!

This blog post might make this seem like an easy task, but don't be fooled! I am exhausted from sanding for HOURS, so make sure you have plenty of time set aside for this. With all that said, it is SO worth the reward though..


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