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  1. #1
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    Aug 2005
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    Chillicothe, MO, USA.
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    How to sand table legs? Need help!!!

    Hello all,
    Use to frequent the forums here 2-3 years ago if I remember right but haven't been around in awhile. Anyways glad to be back.

    I am need of some suggestions. My lovely wife brought home a table the other day that she wants to refinish. She = ME!!! My question is what is the best way to remove old finish from the table legs? The legs have been turned but they also have sections that are still squared. The turned part is not just round but also has grooves that were turned into it also. How should I remove finish from the turned part. Are there any special sanders or tools to use for this job or just good old elbow grease? Any and all help is appreciated.


    Darren

  2. #2
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    Aug 2003
    Location
    Connecticut, USA.
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    962

    RE: How to sand table legs? Need help!!!

    Hi,

    You don't mention what kind of finish it has on it.

    Generally I use a chemical stripper, it's an orange colored gel that you brush on and leave for 20 minutes or so, then scrape the gooey finish off. It's available at Home Depot. Follow the label instructions.

    Depending on how many coats of finish there are on the table, you may have to repeat the process. Several times.

    To get into the grooves and around the legs I use a set of three scrapers (also from HD) one is a triangle, one is a teardrop shape and the other has different shapes, some concave. It's fussy work. Also you can use a fine brass toothbrush to scrub out buildup in the cracks.

    Also (when using chemical strippers) don't apply too much force, it's easy to start tearing up wood.

    Unless the table is solid wood I'd be cautious doing a lot of sanding (to remove finish) the wood is sometimes soft under the finish and its easy to sand too much. Light sanding is okay to remove the raised grain after the stripping and between sealers and topcoats.

    Be sure to wear goggles and gloves and a coat of armor and two condoms (for safety) when messing with strippers! :-)

    Have at it!

    David



  3. #3
    Member
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    Sep 2003
    Location
    Orchard Park, New York, USA.
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    RE: How to sand table legs? Need help!!!

    The kleenstrip brand home depot stocks is excellent and has a 15 minute work time as oposed to rather higher on some others.

    Theres really just one real rule to remember with chemical strippers. If you're having to work at the paint to remove it, the chemical hasn't worked and you either need to leave it for longer, or re-apply.
    When working on pieces like this it helps to cover the stripper in plastic so it stays nice and moist.
    When it dries out it's no longer as functional, so either wrap the whole leg up in plastic sheeting and peel the plastic down to the area you're working on (leaving the rest covered) or work on very small sections at a time.
    You'll find you won't waste as much stripper this way and it will work more effectively.
    When done right, it should just scrape off. The difficult to reach areas are get-at-able with wire brushes, and any left in open grain are grabbed with wire wool.

    Be careful when cleaning up the chemicals so as to not soak the wood too much in water.
    Put the water on (or whatever the product recommends for clean up), and then get it off again quickly until you're chemical free.

    Rob.

  4. #4
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    Jan 2009
    Location
    Wayne, Pa..
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    383

    RE: How to sand table legs? Need help!!!

    After you have removed the old finish you will be left with a surface that requires sanding of some kind. In all likelihood the turned section may have been sanded on the lathe. For you to sand this effectively and leave it looking good you will either need to put it in a lathe to sand it smooth or sand with the grain anew. Sanding crossgrain off a lathe can be done but is difficult. If you do sand it with the grain I would start with a 120, then 150, then 180. I would take care not to sand so much as to alter the features of the legs. The flutes can be scraped and/or sanded. Many a catalog sell rubber sandpaper "forms" to wrap the paper around when working a feature like a flute.

    Definitely mask up for the sanding.

    John
    John


    Did you ever think that maybe the crumb just wanted to steal our wirecutters?

  5. #5
    Member
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    Aug 2005
    Location
    Chillicothe, MO, USA.
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    RE: How to sand table legs? Need help!!!

    Thanks for the info guys. Was not sure where to start with these table legs. Have a weeks worth of vacation starting Saturday and hope to get the legs done then!!! Darren


  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Munster, In.
    Posts
    89

    RE: How to sand table legs? Need help!!!

    I use the strongest chemical stripper I can get - for epoxy; Strippeze or Bix. For very detailed jobs I would do one maybe 2 legs at a time. Follow the directions on the can; let the chemicals do their job. For the first/second application I use coarse steel wool to get the bulk of the paint off. Once I get to the last coat of paint I go with finer steel wool, the wash coat I always use minerial spirits, not water, because I get a better finish that way and have to do less messing with it.

    If for some reason you can do it all in one day cover the legs in plastic. It will help keep th work you all ready done soft and easiler to work the next day. I do use various cleaning brushes to get out in detailed areas and then use dental picks to get the real hard to reach areas.

    For the steel wool I unwind it and then refold it so it has more surface to use.

    For flat surfaces I use putty knives to get the bulk off then steel wool as I get close to the end.

    Two reasons why I use minerial spirits as a wash. 1. It does not raise the grain like water will; much less sanding.
    2. Water wash will also take some of the orginal stain out; most of the time I wish to leave the color alone. I do use water washing if I am trying to liken the wood.

    Do not try to take off the paint with sanding only. You will be at it for days and you will sand a whole bunch of the detail off.






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