Refinishing A Wood Bookcase

If you have bought an old wooden bookcase from a thrift store or garage sale, and you want to beef up the look of the piece of furniture yourself, this can be a fun project to do in your spare time. The result you will get in the end will be a beautiful stained piece of wood furniture that you can place in your home to hold your favorite reading treasures. Here are some instructions for you to use to refinish a worn-out looking bookcase, making it into a masterpiece you will be proud to call your own.

Stripping The Bookcase

If your bookcase has a coating of paint applied to the wood, stripping it down to the wood level will prepare it for an application of new color. To strip paint, first scrape it using a paint scraper to remove any loosened pieces. Afterwards, apply a commercial paint stripping chemical to the existing paint, using a paintbrush to apply to your bookcase.

The paint will start to deteriorate from the chemical application and can be wiped away using an abrasive pad. Do not use steel wool to remove the paint, as this can leave rust stains on the wood. Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area when applying the chemical to your bookcase. For further assistance, contact professionals, such as those from Dip 'N Strip.

Looking For Flaws

After you have removed paint from your bookcase, search for flaws that will be in need of repair. Wipe down the entire bookcase with mineral spirits to bring flaws to your attention. The glossiness of the spirits will highlight flaws so you will know which areas have chips or cracks that need to be filled in.

Cleaning Your Bookcase

Before making repairs, clean your bookcase thoroughly to remove any debris. Removing dirt and grime will allow you to adhere epoxy putty wherever there are chipped areas. To clean, use a nonabrasive sponge dipped in a mild detergent mixed in water. Scrub the surface of your bookcase and dry with a piece of lint-free cloth.

Making Repairs

Fill in any chips with epoxy wood-filling putty. Place a small piece of putty in your hand and roll it between your fingers so the consistency becomes pliable. Push it into the area you are filling in and smooth it over the surface of the wood, flattening it so it becomes uniform with the existing surface. Allow it to harden. Use a piece of sandpaper to further smooth the area you have just repaired. 

Adding Color

Gel stain can give your bookcase a rich color while bringing out the look of the natural grain of the wood. To apply, place a dab of stain on a clean piece of cloth and rub it over the wood surfaces of your bookcase. If you use too much, mineral spirits can be used to take off any excess stain. Allow your bookcase to dry overnight before adding a coating of clear-coat to protect the color you have just applied.