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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey guys I'm new here, starting to get into woodwork. I'm thinking about buying this fish tank from a buddy but my wife doesn't like how it looks. What I need to know is, is it possible to sand a veneer like this off and restain it in expresso? I have a power sander already. All help is appreciated!

Here's a pic of what I'll be working with



 

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Are you sure it's a film coating? It looks like a metal laminate to me. Anyway if it is painted veneer, chances are it was never intended to be stained so there is no telling what kind of eyesores the paint is covering. I wouldn't recommend sanding the finish off. It would be best to use a methylene chloride paint and varnish remover first and chemically strip the emulsion off first before sanding. Try the remover in an inconspecious place first to see what it's going to do before you get too involved with it.

It might be a lot easier to scuff the surface with your sander, prime and paint it a solid color.
 

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Hey guys I'm new here, starting to get into woodwork. I'm thinking about buying this fish tank from a buddy but my wife doesn't like how it looks. What I need to know is, is it possible to sand a veneer like this off and restain it in expresso? I have a power sander already. All help is appreciated!

Here's a pic of what I'll be working with

You should first determine what the finish really is. Go to the top edge where the finish ends and the substrate is exposed and see what kind of edge is there. If it's painted, it will be easy to tell. If it's a laminate of some type there will be a thin edge of a sheet goods material.

Looking at the tank, it appears like an acrylic tank, not glass. I could be wrong.







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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys. I haven't had a chance to go see the tank in person yet but the seller has told me its a "very contemporary veneer" and he bought it brand new like that. The inside of the tank looks to be wood from what I saw in other pics. The tank is acrylic the stand is not.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Here's a pic of the back, you can see on the right at the end of the wood a darker strip of wood. I'm guessing that's the veneer? Don't know if this helps

 

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The back side of the stand doesn't really say what is on the face of it. I guess you will just have to rely on the sellers advise that it is veneered. It just looks like a metallic Formica to me.

I really doubt if you can strip if off clean enough or the wood under it would be good enough to stain. Normally when something is intended to be painted the fabricator uses fillers like bondo to level the surface and when you get the paint off start thinking of painting it again. You might save yourself a lot of work by just painting over the metallic paint. If you choose to take the finish off I would use Kleen Strip paint and varnish remover and a broad knife and start stripping it. Paint usually comes off one layer at a time so if it has six or eight coats on it you will have to strip it six or eight times. When you get down to the final layer of primer let the remover set on it long enough it easily wipes off. You might go over it with a brass pot and pan brush with the grain but you would need to work pretty fast because once you start scraping and brushing the remover evaporates pretty quick and the finish will start drying back on. Once you get as much of the old finish scraped off you can wash the residue off with lacquer thinner. The residue can also be cleaned off with water. I use a little low powered power washer that is 1500 psi for this purpose. It will get the wood cleaner than anything else you can use.
 
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