Cabinets, Furniture, Woodworks/removing varnish


i am restoring some bedroom furniture which has previously been varnished, when sanding the paper clogs up very quick. would using a heat gun remove the varnish as it does paint?

Hi Tony
I would only use a heat gun if what you are stripping was going to be painted as you can easily scorch the wood and then only with great care. Varnish/paint stripper is a better option. Apply liberally with an old brush, as it begins to react and bubble up apply more stripper working it into  bubbled up varnish. Keep doing this until you see bare wood or nearly bare wood, work manageable areas at a time. Using a scrapper drag (instead of pushing)off the resulting messy gloop left from the stripper. Check if more stripping is required and apply as needed. Using a damp cloth wipe down timber to remove any remaining stripper and leave to dry.  When satisfied that most of the previous finish is removed use 00 wire wool & not sand paper to remove any remaining finish and to generally sand your surfaces.
If you are going to apply stain you must make sure that the previous finish is completely removed as it will show. Normally to I bare stripped timber I apply a coat of Shellac or Sandling Sealer to act as a sealer then rub down with 00 wire wool ready for the new finish.

Good luck with your project.

Cabinets, Furniture, Woodworks

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Sean Parsons


I can answer all questions relating to carpentry, woodworking, joinery, cabinet making, construction, renovations, DIY, home improvements. I can help with the manufacture of joinery including sash/casement windows, staircases, doors and frames. I have expertise in veneering, laminating, steam bending, curved work, moldings.


I have been a professional woodworker for over 28 years. Starting as an apprentice carpenter at the age of 16 to now running my own company and joinery workshop specialising in supplying bespoke and unique joinery to commercial and private clients.

City & Guilds Carpentry & Joinery (Tottenham Technical Collage, London) 4 Year Apprenticeship Scheme

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