Stripping Looks Like Crap

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by ppennington32 posted 02-16-2020 04:00 PM 516 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ppennington32's profile


2 posts in 52 days

02-16-2020 04:00 PM

Topic tags/keywords: trick tip resource question jig humor furniture stripping stain refinish


My neighbors gave me some furniture. I thought I would learn to refinish it. So I watched some videos and bought some material.

First I put citris stripper on the top. Wrapped it with plastic wrap. The next day i scraped it off. I didn’t care for how it looked. So later that night i put more of the stripper on waited an hour then scrapped it off. Still didn’t care for it. Next i put on some lacquer thinner and rubbed it with steel wool. Still looks like crap.

Any ideas on what I’m doing wrong?
I’m also curious of the type of wood and name of the piece what era or type?

13 replies so far

View davezedlee's profile


53 posts in 1504 days

#1 posted 02-16-2020 04:42 PM

use real stripper and a scrub brush… remove residue

follow up with the real stripper and scotchbrite pads if required

View bilyo's profile


1039 posts in 1782 days

#2 posted 02-16-2020 04:44 PM

I assume that the pictures are after the stripper. First, don’t expect it to look good after using stripper. You still have lots of work to do including scraping and/or sanding to get it down to bare wood and ready to apply new stain/dye and/or finish. It looks like you still have lots of old finish and color down in the grain and pours. I think you will need a stronger stripper along with some stiff brushing to get it ready for final sanding. Also, it looks like there is veneer on top and maybe elsewhere. Be very careful with scraping and sanding or you can quickly go through the veneer. Sand/scrape by hand only

View Madmark2's profile


1017 posts in 1268 days

#3 posted 02-16-2020 05:03 PM

Sand it down to bare wood?! Its veneered!

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View LesB's profile


2420 posts in 4123 days

#4 posted 02-16-2020 06:33 PM

You could try using a “wood brightener” or in other words a bleach. Oxalic acid is one that is used to clean up teak on boats and it should work here too; unless there is still a top finish that prevents the chemical from reaching into the wood. You could also try just plain old household bleach. There are also “brighteners” sold for outdoor decking but it only comes in gallon size and they usually are sodium hydroxide….quite strong.

For any of these I would experiment on the under side first. Also it may take several applications, adjusting the amount of time you leave the chemical on the wood. Rinse carefully.

Assuming the brightener works you can bring back a nice color by applying any one of a number of wood finishing oils.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Aj2's profile


2789 posts in 2478 days

#5 posted 02-16-2020 06:50 PM

I think the one thing you did wrong was using citrus stripper. It a very weak product.
I like the the two oval grain patterns on the top.
The piece looks like it been stained to look like walnut so getting the old stain out of the pores is going to be difficult.
Even with strong stripper.
Good Luck

-- Aj

View BlasterStumps's profile


1585 posts in 1119 days

#6 posted 02-16-2020 06:53 PM

Art Nouveau, 1890-1910, guessing side table

wood ?

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

View AAL's profile


88 posts in 2106 days

#7 posted 02-16-2020 07:58 PM

That is a handsome piece of furniture – very elegant indeed!
Stick with it, don’t get discouraged. All your work will produce an even more beautiful piece of furniture for sure.

-- "Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery." Winston Churchill

View ppennington32's profile


2 posts in 52 days

#8 posted 02-17-2020 12:30 AM

Thanks everyone for responding.

So before I saw your responses I got a little ambitious with the sander and sanded through the veneer. Not sure what I will do now. Perhaps just paint it or sand the rest of the veneer off. I did like the pattern. I’ll chalk it up to lesson learn.

I’m curious. How did you all know that it was veneer? I assumed it was solid wood.

Thanks again for responding.

View Aj2's profile


2789 posts in 2478 days

#9 posted 02-17-2020 01:45 AM

It would not have survived long if it were solid wood. That’s how I looked at it.
If you didn’t sand through a big area you might be able to inlay a patch.
A patch could be any shape.
Good luck

-- Aj

View Madmark2's profile


1017 posts in 1268 days

#10 posted 02-17-2020 01:49 AM

The four way book match pattern is impossible with thick layers. The veneer pattern does not continue to the shaped edge – another dead giveaway. That and half a century woodworking. LOL

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View OSU55's profile


2600 posts in 2669 days

#11 posted 02-17-2020 04:03 PM

Although you sanded through the veneer this could still be a great practice piece. Its always best to try new things on something that can be scrapped. One rule I made for myself with refinishing – never use sandpaper. Protect the old patina of the wood, which sandpaper cuts right through. Use real stripper and scrape off as much of the old finish as possible, and round the corners of the scraper so they dont dig in, and go lightly. Next use stripper and wool and rub more off. Then rub with refinisher or acetone or lacquer thinner to dissolve and spread the old color around. Now apply some more color as desired and top coat. You actually had the piece in decent shape in the pics. Some more scrubbing with lac thinner might have lightened the dark areas. Either live with the uneven color or add color to match the dark, but dont sand.

View Brawler's profile


134 posts in 510 days

#12 posted 02-17-2020 05:11 PM

This stuff works great on both wood and metal, and not much odor either. After scraping it off I wipe off the residue with a damp rag, then wipe again with denatured alcohol. This all worked for me, but I am really new at this, so there is that.

-- Daniel, Pontiac, MI

View Phil32's profile


989 posts in 583 days

#13 posted 02-18-2020 01:59 AM

It is very likely that the wood under the veneer will not be attractive. Veneered cabinet doors that I used for early carving projects had mahogany veneer over a core of greenish white basswood, mismatched and suitable only for painting.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics