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How to Refinish Furniture and Reclaim a Cheap Yard Sale Find

by / Monday, 21 May 2012 / Published in Home Improvement

Spring and summer boast the season of yard sales. Everywhere I drive, whether nearby in the city or in some small town, I see people hanging their clothes up, positioning furniture, and placing their items on the table to sell. All too often I want to stop by “just to look” at the items for sale. More often than not, my husband won’t let me for fear that I will find just that one item that I want and bring it home to an already over-stuffed house. Oh well, at least I can look, right?

Frequently people throw out good furniture or sell it for a very cheap price at a garage sale (hence, the attraction!). Let’s say you happen to find one of these. It looks good overall, but it may need some work. This is no problem. You can buy the item of furniture really cheaply and fix it up. If a drawer or leg is missing from a table, take it to your local carpenter or handy friend. And what if the piece of furniture simply needs a fresh coat of paint? If you do want to repaint it, there are several things that you need to do.

You need to start by sanding the furniture with a 100 grit sandpaper or finer. This allows you to get rid of most of the scratches and dents in the furniture. However, if the paint is peeling very badly, you might want to remove this as well. Removing previous paint can be done with a chemical remover. After removing the paint, you’ll want to sand the wood again.

After you’ve got a nice surface to work on, wipe down the furniture with a damp cloth. Allow it to dry, and then apply the primer. If you don’t know if the previous paint was latex or oil-based, it is good to start with an oil-based primer. If you try to use a latex primer on furniture that was previously painted with an oil-based paint, the primer will not stick. Put on at least two coats of paint. You may also want to paint a coat of polyurethane.

Once you’ve painted the furniture to your satisfaction, allow at least 3-5 days for it to air dry. And voilà! Your yard sale find is a beautiful new addition to your home.


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