There’s a lot of discount bedroom furniture, old beds and bedside tables and other stuff out there in the second hand market and flea markets that’s going very cheap – maybe even free sometimes. So here’s how to go about things…
Firstly, you need to strip off the old piece – stripping away paint or previous lacquers, varnishes or wax etc. To do this, buy a good stripping solution, wear skin and eye protection and scrape and strip the wood using a shavehook or scraper to get rid of the old finish. You may also need to use a soft wire brush to get into the nooks and crannies – and you may need to repeat the whole process a couple of times.
If you have a large flat surface on a table, for example, you may be able to take off the surface via a few light shavings using a fine smoothing plane – and always working with the grain.
The next step is to start sandpapering the piece. This may be done by hand using a block or just the paper for corners etc., though you may prefer to use an orbital sander and/or a detail sander; whatever works best for you.
Use ever finer-grained paper until you have the desired colour and overall smoothness. You may also decide to rub with the grain of the wood using wire wool to get into awkward areas etc.
Next, vacuum the surface of the wood and wipe it with a dry cloth. Now clean it using white spirit and let it dry out completely.
If you’re happy with the overall finish at this point, it’s time for the easy part. If the wood hasn’t come up as well as you’d hoped, or you’re looking for a specific colour – use a stain to achieve the desired effect, followed by a lacquer or varnish. Alternatively, simply wax the wood with a clear or tinted wax to achieve a really nice effect (and one which smells great too).
But if all this sounds too much like hard work or you just don’t have the time, take a look at online and you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised at the prices.