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How To Refinish Wood Bar Stools

Wood bar stools used in a kitchen or breakfast bar are subjected to daily use, so it's not surprising if they begin to show signs of wear and tear. If the paint is chipped, the finish is worn away in places, or there are scratches and stains, it could be time to give your wooden bar stools a makeover. It is relatively straightforward to fix up wood furniture such as breakfast bar stools. It just requires a little time and some elbow grease.

1. Remove the old finish

Wood Bar Stool

The first stage in refinishing wood bar stools is stripping the old finish back to the bare wood. This can be messy, so be sure to remove or cover up any upholstered seats or backrests before you begin work. If the finish is flaky or loose, you should be able to get it off using just a scraper. Or you may have to use a chemical stripper to loosen the finish first, before you can scrape it off. If you need to use a chemical stripper, follow the instructions on the label and take adequate safety precautions. For instance, do the stripping in a well-ventilated place and cover nearby surfaces in case of accidental splashes or spills.

2. Sand the wood

Take your time with sanding your bar stools. Preparing the surfaces properly will give a better end result. Sand all the wooden surfaces thoroughly to ensure you remove all traces of the original finish and sand out any scratches or stains. Use 100-120 grit sandpaper and sand with the grain of the wood to get as smooth a finish as possible. Sanding opens up the grain, which helps the stain and finish to penetrate. Once the sanding is done, vacuum up all the dust. Then carefully wipe all the wood with a clean cloth and a small amount of mineral spirits. This should remove any remaining dust and ensure the surfaces are totally clean and ready for staining.

3. Apply the stain or paint

Stains are used to highlight the natural grain of the wood as well as to change the color and tone. For example, you could alter the appearance of your stools by using a mahogany, antique pine or cherry stain on beechwood. It's not compulsory to use a stain. You might prefer to paint your bar stools. In that case, you'll need to apply a primer and an undercoat before painting them with your chosen color and sheen. Alternatively, if you like the natural look of the bare wood, you could simply apply a clear finish.

To apply a stain, use a natural bristle brush and follow the manufacturer's directions. Apply it evenly to all surfaces, being careful not to overload the brush as this can cause the stain to run. Once the stain has had adequate time to dry, you can gently sand the stools again, this time with 220 grit sandpaper.

4. Apply the finish

The finish acts as a protective layer, to help prevent wear and tear and to prolong the life of wood furniture. Look for a waterproof and durable finish such as varnish or polyurethane and apply according to the directions on the label. You may need to apply more than one coat to achieve a satisfactory finish.

Copyright Simon Phillips         

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