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Need help with wood prep

1237 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  DJeff03
I run a restaurant that is about 20yrs old. I am wanting to refinish some stained/varnished wood near the cooking area. The wood has a buildup of grease and grime. Very coarse sandpaper just gums up on one swipe. Scrapers dig into the wood. I am obviously not experienced in refinishing wood but I am also not paying a quoted $2200 to refinish professionally. The tools I have at my disposal are an orbital sander, angle grinder, drill, and elbow grease. Any ideas on how to get below the grime so I can actually sand and stain wood without buying stock in a sandpaper company. I am not opposed to chemicals I have just been hesitant because I don't want to make to many stupid mistakes.
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Welcome to the club.

Start with a product called Krud Kutter Gloss Off. It's available at Sherwin Williams and have seen it at some Walmart stores. If you can't find it you can also use an engine degreaser. Once you have cleaned it with that strip the finish with a paint and varnish remover such as Kleen Strip. It will take the finish down to the wood and scrape the old finish off with a broad knife. Then as soon as possible rinse it off with lacquer thinner. Be careful to turn off any open flames and provide plenty of ventilation. The solvent can be explosive. Once the finish is removed you should be able to sand it without anything gumming up on the paper.

If you have linoleum flooring in the area where you are using the solvents be sure to cover it up with a plastic drop cloth covered with multiple layers of cardboard or newspaper in case some of it drips. It will eat into the flooring quick.

Once you have the old finish off you could stain and or finish the wood with a oil based polyurethane. If you wanted to spend the money you could use a pour on epoxy however it is more difficult to touch up and maintain.
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Thank you Steve, I was worried about putting chemicals on the wood without some advice first. I will post some before/after pics and let you know how it goes.
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