Stripping A Varnished/Stained Table Back To Bare Wood.

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Gizmonster | 22:12 Sat 07th Nov 2020 | DIY
14 Answers
So earlier this year I tried, in vain, to strip our garden table back to the bare bones, so I could varnish / stain it from scratch.
I'm not sure what's on it at the moment - varnish, stain , a combination .... who knows??
I tried paint stripper .... maybe I didn't leave it on long enough, but it didn't do the job.
I tried an electric sander ..... that got some of it off, but some of it is well and truly stuck on.
Anyway, I'm wondering if I could use something like this, but I'm worried it might be too harsh and scratch the wood, although I'm wondering if I don't go too heavy, I could sand out any scratches?? It's a decent quality table so I don't want to risk ruining it.

This is what I'm thinking of using:

Anyone any advice please??


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Might be better off using these, not so harsh on the wood as a wire wheel.
My friend used to renovate antique furniture. She tried all sorts of techniques for removing paint and varnish etc but in the end she decided it made far more sense just to pay for a dip and strip service, such as this one:

You'd probably be charged about forty quid for the job (plus collection and delivery costs if needed), which might be well worth the money if it saves you countless hours of labour!
Use a sharp cabinet scraper.
I did this earlier in the year.

1. Sanded marked and stained wood with a block, fine saning paper and Elbow grease.
2. Wipe afterwards with a moist cloth to remove dust, and let dry in the sun.
3. Stain to required colour dabbing with a cloth, not painting.
4. Give a light coating with yacht varnish.
If the finish is water based caustic dipping will have little effect.
I forgot the teak oil.
When you have sanded, Spray with Teak Oil and let it soak in before staining.
Question Author
I tried sanding with a sander and by hand with a block, with various grades of sandpaper - it got parts of it off, but some bits are well and truly "welded" on lol :P
I tried various scrapers and paint strippers - all to no avail.
The dip and strip service would be okay if it was nearer. I'd gladly pay £40 if it was guaranteed to come back stripped, but I'm in East Lancs.

Anyway, in Tony's link I found these, they look a real bargain:
Hopefully they'll remove the varnish, Giz.
They will be quite small if they are designed for use with a Dremal, not really designed for table top stripping IMO
Do you know what wood it is, maybe invest in a planer that you can use again.
Question Author
I've just checked the sizes in that link and they're only 12 - 14 mm in diameter.
I'm probably going down this route - just need to find some bigger ones :P
>>> I'd gladly pay £40 if it was guaranteed to come back stripped, but I'm in East Lancs

Quick Dip Strippers, in Todmorden, are only 9 miles away from Burnley:
Nanholme Mill, Shaw Wood Rd, Todmorden, Lancashire, OL14 6DA, 0843 2891907
I agree with Ryzen about cabinet scrapers.
Whenever I've had to get right back to bare wood, I usually use something like these..........;utm_campaign=googleshopping&gclid=Cj0KCQiAy579BRCPARIsAB6QoIYicCWmwy7-qwckGeJ7aIQIoYpSnfzMoswb5yXFF4rIQroyKwRvdh8aAgZnEALw_wcB

Otherwise, as Chris said, I've just used a Dip n Strip company.
That's a really good way with older furniture that isn't terribly valuable.
The problem that can arise, is that the glue holding the joints together tends to get washed out by the caustic soda, and everything gets a bit wobbly.
For a garden table, I'd risk it though. Otherwise, scrapers every time.
Have you tried a blow torch?

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