Turned spindles are typical on antique chairs, cabinets, bed frames and staircases, and also an effective method of stripping and sanding them is required knowledge for any refinisher wanting to produce quality work. Conventional palm sanders do not reach into crevices, and if you overwork one, you’ll wind up changing the form of the attribute. Hand sanding is a less aggressive approach, but it is time consuming and does not always work, particularly when you’re attempting to get rid of a dark stain. A more prudent strategy uses chemicals to remove as much stain and finish as possible and keeps sanding to a minimum.
Apply paint stripper to the spindle, either having an old paintbrush or by spraying it from an aerosol can. Spraying the stripper will ensure it gets into all the crevices.
Let the stripper work for 10 to 20 minutes, and before it dries out, scrape it off with a wire brush. Work the brush into all the crevices, but do not push too hard or you’ll scrape the wood.
Apply another coat of stripper to crevices and features that nevertheless seem dim. Let it work, then rub it off with fine steel wool. Do not forget to wear rubber gloves as you do this to protect your palms.
Soak the steel wool into lacquer thinner and use it to completely moisturize the spindle down. It’ll remove flecks of complete that remain on the outside, and may get rid of some stain. If you used a solvent-based stripper, the lacquer thinner will neutralize it, but if you used a water-based stripper, wash off the spindle with water afterwards massaging with lacquer thinner.
Bleach out the stain if you plan to use a lighter stain than the one already on the timber, or you want to leave the timber unstained. There different types of bleach, and also the top one to use depends on the kind of stain you’re trying to remove.
Mix a saturated solution of sterile calcium hypochlorite, available from a swimming pool supplier, and water to remove dyed stains. Brush the remedy on, let it work overnight and wash it off with water. The active ingredient in this mix is chlorine, so wear gloves and a respirator when working with it.
Use oxalic acid to lighten any spots which are the result of natural wood discoloration, which are common on antiques. Mix the oxalic acid crystals with water in accordance with the instructions on the container, brush the solution on and let it work overnight before washing it off with water.
Sand deep crevices carefully with a rotary tool and a flapwheel or abrasive brush accessory. Work the tool into the crevice, but use mild pressure so that you don’t alter the form of the spindle.
Sand the entire spindle by hand with 150-grit sandpaper when you’re happy with its appearance and it’s completely dried. If you’re staining, wipe the stain on with a rag.
Spray sanding sealer on the spindle either having an air rifle or an aerosol can. Let it dry, then sand lightly with 220-grit sandpaper. Apply a few clear end coats by spraying, sanding every coating lightly with 220 or finer paper after it dries and before implementing the next. Do not sand the last coat.