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How to Refinish Painted Chairs

    • 1). Prepare the work area by laying down newspapers and opening any windows. Furniture stripper will damage anything it comes in contact with and the fumes are toxic.

    • 2). Slather thick or brushable wood furniture stripper onto one small area of the chair. Work a small section at a time so that the furniture stripper doesn't dry out. Brushable or thick furniture stripper will stay where you put it for a longer period of time to help remove heavy paints and multiple layers of paint.

    • 3). Wait while the old paint begins to bubble and soften from the furniture stripper. Tough or multiple layers will take 5 to 10 minutes for the stripper to soften the paint.

    • 4). Scrape the old, now wet paint away with a putty knife and discard on newspaper. It may take several applications of furniture stripper to get all the paint off. For curved legs and carved details use smaller tools such as a screwdriver to pry away the old paint. Be careful not to gouge or damage the soft wood.

    • 5). Allow the chair to dry for several hours. Do not paint damp wood. Trapped moisture will cause swelling and possibly mold to form under the paint.

    • 6). Fill any cracks or gouges with wood putty. The putty can be purchased in a color to match the wood of your chair and it can be painted. Smooth the putty with a putty knife.

    • 7). Sand the new putty with a medium and then fine grade sandpaper after it is dry.

    • 8). Choose a new finish for the chair -- paint or stain. To leave the chair in a natural wood state, apply stain to the wood with a soft cloth. When dry, apply a coat of polyurethane. The polyurethane is not needed if enamel or oil based paint is use.

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