This project was so much fun!
I think most would agree with me that anything involving stripping old finishes is the stuff of nightmares. I’ve spent more hours on this project than I’d like to admit. (Side note: if you need a good podcast to creep you out while working on stuff outside, in the dark of the night, listen to Root of Evil.)
I found these gorgeous antique nightstands on Facebook Marketplace. The SO and I picked them up from a sweet man for only $25 for the pair. Ya girl loves a good deal!
I had initially planned to spray these babies down with my paint sprayer, but once I got them home, I saw this this spot and was so excited. Solid wood, my friends. The two panels on the sides are finished with a thin layer of wood veneer, but not a deal breaker for what I had in mind.
And these pulls. Be still, my heart.
Right now I’m going through a raw wood obsession. And naturally, I always convince myself that stripping furniture could.not.possibly be as terrible as I remembered. So, I set out with a whole jug of Citristrip and got to work. Shout out to the genius ladies on Pinterest for the wrapping trick – I slathered it on and wrapped everything up to work on that old gunky finish overnight.
The reddish finish took TWO rounds of Citristrip. The first time, I scraped the pieces as best I could, and followed up with denatured alcohol (what I found in the shed) to remove the remaining stripper. It still wasn’t quite ready, so it got a second round of Citristrip, and that time, picked up some After Wash.
That stuff stinks to high heavens, but it was life-changing. It got all the excess Citristrip out of all the details and crevices with hardly any effort.
I had just started feeling good about the progress, when a rookie mistake was made that almost ruined the project (and my day). I had used super fine steel wool with the After Wash to scrub Citristrip residue from the nooks and crannies. Of course, this was at night, on the back porch, with poor lighting. I thought that I had wiped the doors clean of the steel wool pieces, but many had gotten stuck in the raw wood. So, when I sprayed down the doors with bleach (to lighten them), they dissolved and left all these horrible iron stains.
I tried denatured alcohol. Mineral spirits. Vinegar. I felt so defeated and was deciding whether to paint over everything or throw it all out to the road, when the internet saved me again. Some people mentioned improvement in iron stains with oxalic acid (wood bleach), which is, conveniently, not sold in stores around here. I found this article on Hunker about using Bar Keeper’s Friend for wood stains, and thought, “What’s the worst that can happen?” I had even just used it to get the hardware sparkling new.
The rest is history, guys. It worked like a charm. Now, there are still some dark spots where you can see remnants of the iron stains, but nothing nearly as painful as how it had looked.
A couple buffs of Amy Howard’s Liming Wax, and all was right in the world.
Here’s Stella girl…being nosy, as usual.
Does anyone else have a stripping (WOOD) horror story? Hah – I want to hear it!