The Nitty-Gritty on Sanding {Part One}

I’ve had some questions about sanding furniture, so I thought I would do a series of posts about it. Sanding isn’t my favorite thing to do. However, it can be very rewarding when it is done correctly. Since this is such a big topic, in this post I will cover information about sanding prior to painting or refinishing.

Before you start on a piece it is important to decide whether or not you need to sand at all. Let tell you when I don’t sand.
  • When I start with a piece that is unpainted, painted, or stained and I am planning to completely cover it in “furniture” (chalk) paint.
  • When I start with a piece that is painted or stained and I am planning to use a crackle finish, and I want the existing paint or stain to show through when it crackles.
  • Even if I am making repairs to the piece with wood putty or rebuilding a foot, for example, I only sand to make the repair even with the rest of the piece. I don’t sand the entire piece.

I make my own “furniture” paint. Some people may call it “chalk paint.” My furniture paint does not require prepping the surface before you use it. It will stick, and stick well, without sanding. That’s the whole point of using this kind of paint — to save time and prep.  So if you’re painting the whole piece and you’re using “furniture” paint, don’t waste your time by spending hours sanding.

Now here is when I DO sand prior to painting and refinishing:
  • I’m painting the piece, except for maybe the top of a dresser or a table top. In that case I will only sand the surface that isn’tgetting painted.
  • I’m using spray paint. Spray paint will show even tiny imperfections.
  • The piece is already painted, and I am planning to do a crackle finish that doesn’t include the current color.
  • The piece is painted and I want to remove the paint and stain it instead.
  • The piece is stained and needs to be re-stained.

I get a lot of questions about furniture and most people assume that everything needs to be sanded. This is not the case. Remember, chances are if you are painting the entire piece you do not need to sand before you paint with “furniture” (chalk) paint.

Come back in a few days for my post on how to sand.
Hope this helps!


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