The Lane Home Furniture company manufactures a wide variety of wooden furniture, including cedar chests. Since cedar chests are often passed down as treasured family heirlooms, the finish can dull or scratch after extended use. To restore these chests to a bright, polished finish, owners can restain them with a wood finishing product. However, the first step is to remove all traces of the old finish by softening it with a chemical remover.
Empty the cedar chest of all contents and move it to an outdoor location, placing it on a disposable plastic tarp. If desired, you can remove the finish in a well-ventilated indoor area, such as a garage.
Put on long sleeves and pants, safety glasses and rubber gloves before beginning the removal process to protect yourself from injury.
Open a gel-based wood stain remover and insert a paintbrush into it until it is saturated. Brush the gel onto the top of the cedar chest in a thick layer. Use a single brush stroke each time to apply the gel and avoid brushing it back and forth.
Wait for the amount of time indicated on the remover bottle, which varies by manufacturer.
Place a wood scraper or a plastic putty knife flat on top of the cedar chest at a 45-degree angle. Push it forward with firm pressure to scrape up the gel and the finish in single strokes all the way across the lid. Move the scraper back to the starting location and place it next to the first area. Push it forward to strip the gel and finish off here as well. Continue until all of the gel and finish is gone from the lid.
Apply another thick coat of gel remover to the lid just as you did the first time and let it sit for the appropriate amount of time.
Remove the gel using a piece of #00 steel wool and rubbing it in circular motions. This removes the small traces of stain that remain in the cedar wood grain.
Repeat the removal process on each side of the chest as well as the bottom. Then open the chest up and repeat the process to remove the stain from all interior surfaces.
Soak a rag in lacquer thinner and wipe down all exterior and interior portions of the Lane cedar chest to neutralize the stripper. Sand the wood surfaces as needed with a palm sander and fine-grit paper or a rotary tool with sanding accessories to smooth any rough areas and remove traces of the old finish.
Tips & Warnings
- Allow the Lane cedar chest to sit undisturbed for 24 to 48 hours before refinishing it.
- When you are done, lift the cedar chest off of the tarp and roll the tarp up to collect all of the removed stain and gel. Throw the tarp in the trash.
- Wear safety glasses when operating power tools.
Things You'll Need:
- Plastic tarp
- Safety glasses
- Long sleeves and pants
- Rubber gloves
- Gel-based stain remover
- Wood scraping tool or plastic putty knife
- #00 steel wool
- Lacquer thinner
- Palm sander with fine-grit paper
- Rotary tool with sanding accessories
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