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I'm in the same boat as you. I have an old table and chairs that I would like to refinish but I'm not sure how to do that. The chair joints are loose and shakey but I would like to strip the varnish off and restain before I reglue the joints. Maybe we can get some good advise here.....Donny
Well, I just refinished a kitchen table this month. I began by using CitriStrip, but it was so messy that I did most of the work with a ROS and block plane. Probably not the best or most efficient method, but I managed to get the very dark stain and 15yrs worth of furniture polish off. Looks good now. Next time I think that I will buy a good book on refinishing furniture. On the chairs though, I would recommend repairing the joints first. That way you won't have to fix and damage to the finish from the repair job.
\"I have not failed. I\'ve just found 10,000 ways that won\'t work.\"<br />-Thomas Alva Edison
I've tried the sanding routine, and the "safe" strippers. I've given up all that, it just ends up false economy to me. The only stripper I'll use is the most evil, toxic stuff I can get my hands on. Get as much ventilation as conceivably possible (outside if you can), because they really are toxic. But the job gets done, and it is over.
I got great advice on picking the best stripper. The active ingredient is Methylene Chloride, which is very heavy. If you pick up two (equal sized, of course) cans of stripper, the heavier one has more active ingredient. Follow can directions religiously, and they really work well.
On a chair job that also requires joint repair, I would strip, repair, and then refinish, unless it is going to be completely disassembled. Then I would disassemble first. Whatever you do, mark each and every piece explicitly as to which joints fit together. Chair parts often look identical, but will not interchange.