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Busting the myths about stripping and refinishing

I think I can do this myself and save money, why should I use Wood Doctors for this simple step?

Will stripping damage my furniture, what is the process?

Will refinishing ruin the value of my furniture or antique?

Is there a difference between a quick refinish job and a real factory finish?

Can I afford to pay extra for quality strippers, stains and finishes?

There are so many questions surrounding stripping and refinishing, so we will try to answer five of the most common ones we have gotten over the years!


If you have decided to remove the paint or finish off an old or even new piece, here are a few things for you to consider before you tackle the job! Are the "Do It Yourself" (DIY) stripping products the way to go?

While these products may work for small projects, they are often expensive, work intensive, and time consuming to use. Stripping a small piece of furniture with DIY stripping products can easily take up to 10 hours, and once that step is done there will be a lot of sanding to do. Our professional team uses products and techniques that can cut the stripping time down to 1 hour with little or no sanding needed. If you haven’t thought about it, sanding old wood is bad for a new stain and finish job and can potentially ruin your piece if you sand through a thin veneer or leave scratches that show through the new finish!

The best "off the shelf" strippers are running about $60 per gallon and are half the strength of our commercial products. It usually takes 3 times more DIY stripper than what you anticipate, plus sandpaper, steel wool, rags, buckets, and other items. Even a small job can cost over $100 just in miscellaneous supplies, not including the stripper.

Then, there is the lead paint challenge. It is true that for the most part, lead paint is a thing of the past, which is the very reason that removing paint from old furniture or homes can become a serious health hazard. The old sanding, scraping and torching methods are NOT safe, and we recommend using proper stripping and disposal techniques as outlined by the EPA.

If you are simply stripping latex paint from a cabinet, everything will probably go smoothly unless you hit a surprise layer of enamel or lead paint. These paints become gooey and sticky--they just do not want to come off! At this point, you can give us a call. We will be glad to help you finish the job.

We are convinced that you will save money, time and work by sending the job our way! Of course, if you decide to give it a try, at whatever step in the process you decide that you need help, we will be there for you!


We DO NOT “Dip” furniture! Dipping is done with hot water and lye in large vats. This process damages wood, wood veneers and glue joints. This process has rightly gained a bad reputation in the antique world. Our traditional stripping is done with a “Flow Over” method that recycles the used stripper. Our chemicals are 10 times thicker than water and are designed to protect your wood furniture from damage. Our strippers do not require heavy scraping and power sanding like store bought paste strippers do.

Our stripping process saves the old wood colors and patina under the old finish!! These are the things that are so sought after by antique dealers and are easily removed by the heavy sanding required by most DIY stripping products. We have tried all the DIY products ourselves and the inferior equipment and found it created a lot of hard work and yielded poor finishing results. Our superior stripping chemicals give far better results, and our quality furniture stains and finishes will enhance any furniture's value.

Most furniture can be taken to our shop where we set the pieces on a large stripping tray. The stripping agent is pumped up through a scrub brush onto the furniture to remove the old finish. Once the finish has been removed, the furniture item is rinsed with a neutralizing agent and allowed to dry. If any repairs are needed, they are done at this time and then everything is lightly sanded, then stained and finished. Wood Doctors can also strip and refinish large and fixed in place features onsite!!


The gossip is that antiques cannot be stripped of their worn or painted finishes because they will lose great value. This is not true!! People look at us with disbelief when we tell them they don't have to live with broken, dirty, old antiques. There are some instances that we will not touch an original finish such as old 1778 Windsor chair. Why? Because these old Windsor's were all originally painted. Removing it would greatly devalue it! Most wood workers and handymen who dabble with refinishing could not tell an old finish from a new one, and that is where the problem lies. All they know is the usual heavy sanding, scraping and stripping which utterly removes the patina of the aged wood.

An example of this was seen on a popular antique show where a rare, early, painted Gustav Stickley plate rack was found in an old farmhouse. It was salvaged from the dumpster by a family member and then it was sent off to be stripped and refinished by a "professional refinisher". Gustav never painted his original pieces so paint should never be left on them. The value should then increase if the paint was removed correctly and not scraped or sanded to get to the wood. The “professional refinisher” who did this probably hadn't seen or worked with this type of furniture, so he put a higher polished finish on and its color was changed. The guest on this show proudly announced he had hired a "professional" to strip and refinish this plate rack. The appraiser said, "Right now, in this condition, it would probably bring at auction, between $4,000 and $6,000."

The value of the Gustav Stickley plate rack stripped of its white paint and with an inappropriately applied high gloss finish impressed the show's guest, but it did not impress the appraiser. It had the wrong type of stain, the wrong color, and the wrong sheen, and the wrong type of finish.

The appraiser suggested refinishing again! This time back to its original stain, color, sheen and finish. He said, "Now, if the condition were improved upon, put in more of an original state, it could bring as much as $10,000 to $20,000 to a good collector."

So yes!! Refinishing can add to the value of your piece!


Other companies advertise a ‘like new’ finish. Wood Doctors can guarantee a factory finish because we are using the same quality products and finishing equipment. We have found, that to obtain a high-quality finish you have to start with quality strippers, stains and lacquers, but these quality products only look their best when applied by the best factory finishing equipment on the market, not by inferior, outdated, paint spraying equipment. "Factory Finishes" are better than the commonly advertised, "Like New Finishes", and don’t get us started on “re-coating” a finish!

We understand that you may not know the difference between a poor quick finish and a real quality, 14 step stain and finish job right now, but if compared side by side, you would choose the better finish and never want anything else! We recommend browsing our extensive galleries to see examples of our work!

Whether it’s a new piece of furniture or an antique, Wood Doctors can restore it! We have years of experience with new and old finishes alike!


Nothing compares to the quality products and steps that Wood Doctors uses in refinishing your furniture! We believe you deserve the best!

Shortcut any stripping, staining or finishing step and you will get inferior results. We refinish, repair and strip finished pieces that have been poorly completed from other shops in the area over the years. Don't take a chance, get the best and get it done right the first time.

Here's the good news, anyone can afford a quality job! Stripping and finishing products only account for about 5% extra of the total job cost over cheap products.

You have a friend in the stripping and refinishing business!

Give us a call



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