Sanding Stained Wood To Restain

June 23, 2022

Restaining the wood table.

The most practical way of making wood look like it’s brand new is restaining it. Like the rest of the common people out there, you want your wood floor to look great, don’t you? You want your pieces of furniture and other wood fixtures to shine as if they are new. 

If you are thinking of a possible replacement, think again. Why need a replacement when you can have these wood fixtures restained? Doing so is cleverer and more economical. To start the restaining process, the very first thing that you must do is to remove the deep-rooted stain on the material that you are working on. 

Just a heads-up. This point is very labor-intensive. This is the reason why most people don’t find the idea of restaining pleasant. In normal circumstances, you need to put on various chemicals and stripping agents. However, you’ve got no choice but to catch yourself up and stay flexible. Whether you like it or not, you are expected to be accustomed to the different techniques in removing old stains on a wood’s surface. Or else, you won’t get a chance to make it as good-looking as you aspire it to be- that is to look more beautiful without costing too much. Now that you have removed all the old stains on the material, go ahead and apply the new stain. 

Doing so is so easy. Trust me. Let me show you how it is done. 

Steps on How to Sand a Stained Wood

Step 1: Eliminate Dirt & Check the Fixture or Furniture To Sand

Refinishing does not make sense when you haven’t cleaned the furniture beforehand. A dish soap can do the trick. To get rid of dirt from the furniture, have soap along with a sponge and warm water. When soaping is done, use a cleaning cloth to dry it. Additionally, check the furniture to see if there are dents, dings, or repairs that require additional attention before moving on to the refinishing process.

Step 2: Remove Stain

Get your drop cloth ready. If you don’t have one, simply pile up a thick layer of old newspapers. Then, position the wood furniture or object that you want to restain on top of these layers of newspaper. However, you may skip the aforementioned process whenever you are restaining wood floors. 

Spread over a generous amount of chemical stripping formula on wood material to be restained. Make sure to read the formula’s instructions to check how many minutes or hours you needed to spend waiting for it to completely set into the wood material. By letting the stripping agent be absorbed in the wood, you become more confident that such a formula can work most of the complex restaining tasks on your behalf. Now, gently scrape the stripping formula from the wood object using a knife. 

Repeat the process a couple of times or until you see that the sealant’s topcoat and the stain on the wood object has been completely removed. Don’t get dismayed whenever you spot a few hard-to-remove marks or stains on the material. You can always eliminate these spots during the next rounds of chemical stripping. You can even have it sanded using a sandpaper and an oscillating tool. Remember, imperfections are most likely at this point in the process. 

Step 3: Get Rid of Deep-rooted Varnish or Finish

A scraping tool is the only thing you need this time. Your task is to eliminate the old varnish or finish on your wood material. Between scrapes, wipe the tool’s blade with a non-reusable cloth. Have it with caution. To see a seamless result, be extra patient in scraping the material regularly. As you rub on a stripper unto the wood fixture or furniture, you can kiss the old finish goodbye with ease. 

After stripping the varnish off and making sure that the surface is parched, get a clean cloth to wipe out any slight trace of stripper on the material. Here’s another tip though. Before sanding it, make sure that your working table is dry. 

Step 4: Sanding the Wood

When the wood material does not have any trace of old varnish or finish, it is ready for sanding. I assume that you have provided it with enough time to dry up. Sanding is a process that solely depends on how excellently you stripped off the old finish from the wood material that you are working on. You need not do so much sanding if you have removed all the stains and varnish previously. 

Now, get rid of the old finish using a 120-grit paper. As I said earlier, there are imperfections in the process to anticipate. So, have tons of patience to see awesome results. Make sure that all areas of the wood material are made smooth. To polish the entire piece of wood, let a 220-grit paper do its job. When you opt to sand the material by your hand, make sure to have it with the grain. On the contrary, a finishing sander is predominantly awesome when it comes to uniform smoothness in a lightning speed. 

Your final finish’s quality is greatly dependent on the amount of attention and patience you poured down while sanding. Believe me, a mistake in sanding can never be corrected by any varnish or stain. A stain does no more than accentuating swirl marks, material defects, and rough spots. Therefore, pour a generous amount of time and precision while sanding. If you want to create an incredible difference, have it perfected on your end. Take note that bad sanding is a no-no. 

Step 5: Fill the Grain

It is important to know that there are a few types of wood materials that require no grain filler. These materials contain tight grains. On the contrary, mahogany and oak have open grain structures. These materials need grain fillers to achieve a perfectly smooth finish. 

Do you have an idea of what grain filler means? Let me tell you what. Grain fillers are colored paste that comes in various colors—looking forward to highlighting the wood’s grain? You need to choose a complementary color of the wood material for your project. Choose a grain filler color that is different from the color of your wood material. But, if you don’t intend to highlight the wood grain, opt for a color that matches the wood color. Also, it is important to test the finish color on a small piece of the same wood (first). Now, make use of the grain filler. Next, gently apply color to the wood. Then, add the final finish with care. You will know whether or not you are on the right track. 

Here’s another catch, though. You can apply the grain filler in either way. You can have it applied after or before the stain. Make it a habit to check the material’s label before using it. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations as indicated on the label. 

Now, let’s talk about paste filler applications this time. A stiff paintbrush is perfect for the job. However, if you don’t have one, a rag can do. Carefully apply the paste filler into the grain. Set it dry based on the recommended amount of time. I assume that you have read and understood the product packaging. Get ready to take away any spare filler on the wood material. Use a round-edged knife or a plastic scraper to get it done. Hold the knife at a slight angle (just enough not to damage the wood). Let the filler set and completely dry up. Now, have it casually sanded with grain.

Step 6: Cleaning the Wood

Any do-it-yourself refinishing project always starts with material cleaning- basic cleaning, I may say. First thing first. Ensure that you have removed any sticky substance or dirt on the material that you plan to refinish. Wipe its surface using a warm water and a dish soaped-tack cloth. To rinse, using a damp sponge is awesome. Use a microfiber towel to dry the material. Lastly, wipe off the dust from sanding using a clean tack cloth. 

Step 7: Get Ready to Stain

Use a brush when you spread on sanding sealer on wood. A brush works perfectly with short or strokes of the coating. The wood’s natural tendency to absorb the coat unevenly is decreased when using a brush. Also, it allows the sanding sealer to dry completely.

Now, start staining the wood material with your desired color. Let me say it again. Make sure to use a brush to make uniform and short strokes on the wood. Give the material with ample time to absorb the stain before applying the next layer. 

The moment that the stain has been absorbed by the wood or as it dries up, go ahead and rub on the sealant. Short and uniform brushstrokes of polyurethane or lacquer is ideal. As an old saying goes, “patience is a virtue.” You need to be patient in waiting for the first sealant layer to dry before spreading on another layer. 

Step 8: Eliminate the Remaining Stain

Removing the excess stain in wood material is very important to allow the restain coating to absorb into the wood surface more evenly. . To do this, you can make use of a fresh wiping cloth. Dodge from streaking by wiping the grain very carefully. You need to spread over the coat several times to achieve your desired color. As I mentioned above, never apply the second coat when the stain has not yet dried up or absorbed by the material. Doing so does not only help you achieve the color you wish to see but also helps you decide whether or not to add one more layer. 

Step 9: Smear a Clear Coat 

Check if the last stain coat has dried up perfectly. If it does, fire up the clear coat application. Oil-based clear coat is designed to give your wood restaining project some layers of protection and luster. 

Care to know how to get this done? Here’s how. Oil-based clear coat can give your material a great coverage of gloss. As a bonus, it is so easy to use. All you need to do is spray it in a uniform direction. Follow the wood material’s natural lines. Now, put on the first coat and sand it in with a 200-grit sandpaper. Once it has dried up, spread over another layer of clear coat. Make sure to follow the same process in clear coating. Such a technique can help you achieve a seamlessly smooth surface and pro-grade finish. It blows off all the imperfections on the surface after the first coat. Lastly, sprinkle on a concluding layer.

Step 10: Let the Formula Dry

At this point, you have poured over the clear coating accurately. That being said, it is highly recommended to place the finished project in a dry, warm, and well-ventilated space. Have it stay there for a day. 

The Bottom Line

Restaining your wood furniture gives you boundless options. You can have the furniture stained based on the color you preferred. So, there is no way you can’t feel proud of you- clothing your old furniture pieces with a new look. 

Additional Tips

  • You can fix those hideous cracks, gouges, and divots in your wooden furniture with the help of wood putty before sanding. Re-staining allows you to transform old-looking fixtures and furniture into a beautiful masterwork. 
  • Take advantage of mineral spirits in cleaning your brushes. Remember to clean the brushes every time you strip, seal, or stain. 
  • When restaining the wood floor, you need a floor sander to be able to get rid of the deep-seated stains on the material’s surface. An oscillating tool is very helpful to manage corners and edging too. When applying sealant or stain, use a brush instead of a paint roller. Brushes help you achieve a uniform and seamless result. 
  • Although oil-based stains are more challenging to clean up, it does not increase wood grain. Water-based stains, on the other hand, work the other way around. 

Would Stain and Dyes Create Varying Looks?

Yes, they do create different looks in the wood. Pigmented stains, for example, suffuse the open surface pores. Thus, they enhance the differences in the grain patterns, considering that large pores would absorb much stains compared to the smaller pores. Dyes, on the other hand, soak the wood more evenly. Thus, dyes create less contrast, leading to more even looks. 

If you want to find hidden glue or glue smears in the wood piece, you can rub down mineral spirits onto the wood after sanding it. The mineral spirits will darken the wood temporarily, revealing those glue smears and hidden glue. 

Can You Sand the Wood Again and Refinish It After Found Some Light Glue Smears and Spots After Applying Stains?

You can sand down the wood and restain it to remove the glue spots. Yet, sanding down to bare wood is painstaking, especially after applying the topcoat. You can darken those glue spots to avoid such backbreaking sanding and restaining processes. 

Use an artist’s brush to stain the affected areas. Likewise, you can use touch-up paint, or a pen used in furniture. Once the paint or stain has dried, you can apply a clear top coat to the whole surface. 

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