I got a wild hair in me recently and decided I needed to refinish my outdoor furniture. Like a dunce, I got half-way into it before I thought about making this a blog entry.
My furniture is 3-years-old. It has remained outside, uncovered for 2.5 years. This image shows some of the damage to the original finish. The table had the most damage (basically covered in peeling lacquer as shown below) but I didn’t get a picture of it.
The first step is cleaning up the furniture and sanding down to the original wood. This means you have to sand all the original stain off. This is a huge pain in the butt. Without an electric palm sander, I would not even attempt this. Luckily, I decided to do this on one of the hottest weekends of the summer thus far. I did the sanding in my garage because I needed the shade, but beware: everything in there will be covered in saw dust. My sander even had a little bag to catch some of the dust, but it doesn’t, by ANY means, catch it all. I wore a face mask. I’d also recommend protective eye-wear.
This is the table half done. You can see some of the damage on the lower half. To get the original stain off, I used a 60-grit paper. For fine sanding I first used 120, then went back over with a 220.
This is a fully sanded chair. I think this took me 4 hours to completely sand. It sucked. One down, 3 to go! More sanding and finally it was time to stain.
I literally took my camera into Lowe’s, showed him this picture and asked him to help me find a stain that matched. I bought some tack cloths to get as much of the dust off that I could and started staining.
All I had to do to stain is get an old t-shirt, dip it in the stain and rub the stain into the wood. It is pretty easy. I could have done more than 1 coat, but I was so exhausted, I didn’t bother.
Next, I had to put a sealant on all the pieces. This is to protect them from UV, water and other dirt. This was applied with a paint brush and pretty liberally. It goes on yellow, but dries clear.
The whole process took me 3 days and about $60 for materials. Thanks to Wes for the palm sander. If you are going to attempt this, make sure you have a lot of energy and at least a couple days. It’s not easy work.