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Stripping - A How-To

So back at the end of July, I got the chance to guest post over at Creating My Way to Success and I'm going to share with you guys today the post that I offered up over there. ;)

So there tons of posts, books and articles about how to finish your furniture, and I'm sure there are probably almost as many about stripping your furniture, but that's what my post is about today. Stripping your furniture.

I'm working on a console that needs to be brought up to date. I am only going to be stripping the top, because that's the only thing I'm going to be staining. The rest of the piece will be painted, makes it slightly easier on me. :)

Its an older piece that has an oak veneer and an awful stain color.

Its been super nice here in VA the last two days, so I moved the big heavy console out into my driveway to work. No problem with ventilation here! I also vacuumed the console to remove any debris, cobwebs, etc.

Next I gathered my supplies. I like to use CitriStrip, but I ran out of it during this process and I also used - Motsenbocker's Lift Off Paint &Varnish Water-Based Stripper. You can get these products at your Home Depot or Lowe's.  I can't tell you which worked better, but the Motsenbocker's is soap and water clean-up so that's really nice.
Anyways, you're also going to need a plastic bag, paper towels, a plastic stripper tool, chip brush, stripper pad, a plastic container and gloves.

Pour some of your stripper into a plastic tub and then liberally brush onto the surface you want to strip. Its kind of hard to see but the gel is on there. For the CitriStrip, it says to leave the gel on for 30 minutes, but for the Motsenbacker's only 5 to 10 minutes.
After the proper amount of time has elapsed, you're going to bring out the plastic stripper, and scrape in the direction of the grain. It's a very goopy mess, but the results are worthwhile.
I scrape all of the stripper into a pile towards one end of the piece.
Then I bring up the plastic bag and push/scoop the goop into it. I use the paper towels to clean my scraper, because its a sticky business that likes to gum up the scraper blade of the stripper tool.
There's the first bag of goopy mess.
For curved or moulding pieces, you'll need a stripper pad, which I did not have until the 2nd coat. You know, since I ran out of stripper and this piece ended up being needed to hit twice because of how well the original finish was on, but you can see above how the gel holds to vertical and curved surfaces. Now for the CitriStrip, you will need to wipe down your piece with mineral spirits and then let dry for 24 hours. The Motsenbacker's is a wipe down with warm water.
 So here's the top after the first strip session. So much better! Don't you think?

Here's the final stripped top after sanding and being moved inside.
 So that's it! Now my top is ready for stain. You'll also notice in the last picture that the rest of the piece has been scuffed up in prep for paint.

I hope you guys enjoyed today's tutorial, and you'll be able to check out the rest of this console's make over at Straight Stitches. :)

See you guys soon!

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