Saturday, June 28, 2014

Some Serious Stripping... and Refinishing Our Wood Patio Set

I did a lot of stripping during the past three weekends- paint stripping that is!  Any other kind of stripping likely won't be my cup of tea :)  but the project I took on almost a month ago was to remove the paint from our old wood patio set so I could get down to the natural wood then sand it, stain it, and properly reseal it.
I thought it was going to be a one weekend type project (and you'd think I would know better by now) but they never are, or maybe our expectations are just way off all the time?  But it wasn't as simple of a project like I thought it'd be, but I'm so glad to finally get this one checked off the to-do list!

I wish I had better before photos of it, but here's a look at the problem we were dealing with because some idiot thought it was a good idea to paint our wood patio set.  Sadly, I admit that I am the idiot that painted them :(  Alex told me it was a bad idea and he was right.
It didn't take long for the chairs to look weathered, worn, and have the paint just plain chip off all over the place.  We used them that summer (2012) after I painted them and when we got them out last summer I thought they looked terrible so I repainted them, even had to touch them up mid-summer.  So this summer when we got them out of storage and saw the same thing I decided it was time to do the right thing and strip off all the paint so I could stain, seal and protect the wood look.

I kicked off my project using my trusty belt sander along with 50 grit sandpaper....  and that step alone took like six total hours of work over two weekends.  That is the main reason this not-so-little project took so dang long to finish.  That much belt sanding isn't fun at all but it is the easiest way to cleanly remove paint from wood and then the surface is ready to stain and seal.  I have to say though that I think it made my arms a little buffer!? :) 
Couple things to keep in mind if you use a belt sander on wood: 
1. Always go with the grain direction on the wood, if you go perpendicular to the grain your wood surface will be very rough.
2. Keep the sander moving, if you hold it too long in one spot you will dig deeper into the wood and your surface won't be level.
3. Keep the belt sander away from metal hardware, your sandpaper will likely rip off the belt if you run into screws/bolts.  Honestly, it happened a couple times to me on this project, just kind of startles you and then you have to stop and get another sandpaper belt.
4. Use gloves and protective eyewear!  If your sandpaper belt rips, it will likely hit your hand so always good to protect them and for eyewear, I know I don't have official goggles on but sunnies worked for me.  Stinks if you get wood dust in your eyes because it'll stick around and annoy you for a while!

Anyway, I did the best I could getting most of the paint off with the belt sander but in the spots where I couldn't use the belt sander I used Klean Strip Sprayable Stripper to remove the paint.  It worked pretty well, you just spray, let it sit for ten minutes, then scrape or wipe off.  
After all of that paint removal effort, I couldn't get into all the nooks and crannies of the table and chairs and sort of said f*** it.  The natural wood surface was showing for the most part and it already looked worlds better so I was happy with it.  Sometimes you have to just make a call on what you can and can't do in a project and trying to get in between all of those narrow wood pieces wasn't going to happen and I was cool with that.

Done with paint removal, finally time for a new step!  Before I could start staining the wood, I used Mineral Spirits to clean off all the wood dust and other debris from the wood.  After that, I used Minwax PolyShades One-Step Stain and Finish to stain and seal the wood.  It's pretty simple to apply using a paint brush going along the direction of the wood grain.
Click here for more info on Minwax PolyShades One-Step Stain and Finishes
Since Minwax PolyShades is intended for indoor use only, I also used Varathane Spar Urethane since our wood patio set is outside.  Alex asked why I didn't use wood deck type stain instead and I honestly just didn't think of it but that probably would work as well.  Either way I think spraying the Varathane weather and UV protectant whether you use indoor or outdoor stain.
Click here for more info on Varathane Spar Urethane Wood Protectant
After that dried, that was it!  I moved the set back up to our deck so we could sit and enjoy it once again.  I know it isn't 100% perfect but I am sooooo much happier with the look now and I won't have to constantly touch up the paint :)  Glad I got it done in time for another family visit this weekend and for the Fourth of July!
We have Alex's parents in town for a visit this weekend, I hope it doesn't rain so we can sit outside and use it!

One thing I know though, if it does rain all weekend I can imagine they'll be a glorious MOA (Mall of America) trip in our future :)  It is one of the Twin Cities finest tourist attractions after all.  Works for me because I need to make a stop across the street at Ikea for my next project (a new look in our sunroom!).  Hope you'll stop back next week for an update on that too!   Have a great weekend everybody!

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