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Its dreadful, this time of year. Being as hot as it is, and the amount of house chores to accomplish before the next set of seasons is enough to make you rethink home-ownership. In the famous words of someone, somewhere:
“What comes easy won’t last. What lasts won’t come easy.”
The same is true for accomplishing the more difficult house-hold projects, but doing hard work first is a load off later. I’d like to think I’m the first to say that.
Namely, stripping or re-staining wood outside your home is an annual if not quarterly project itself. Including but not limited to wooden decks, fences, furniture, etc. The process is strenuous, of course, but what if the effects arrive long after you have finished the project?
Wood dust, which is produced through all stages of wood processing including sanding, is a carcinogen to humans. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), wood dust causes cancer of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses (areas in and around nasal cavity) and of the nasopharynx (upper throat region). You can read more about their findings here. One way to prevent exposure, according to Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, is to completely reduce the re-entry of wood dust into the air through alternative methods.
As shocking as this might be, or perhaps not for those who are already familiar, there are still ways around this. I will explain how to remove stain from wood without sanding.
How To Remove Stain From Wood Without Sanding
The process for this is not all that different from how you would regularly strip a wood stain, give or take a couple variations. Regardless, this method is helps prevent wood dust exposure and re-entry into the air.
Items you’ll need:
Step 1: Use stain stripping solution
There are a number of chemical stripping solutions that would suffice for the job (such as mixed solutions and powder mix), so for the sake of this tutorial a premixed chemical solution will work perfectly. Pour a comfortable amount of the product directly onto the wood, then use a paint brush to evenly spread the substance over the entire portion of the wood you are wanting to strip.
The thing about paste stripping solutions are once you put it on you’ll need to leave it alone. The key to getting it to work affectively is leaving it on there at least 15 – 20 minutes to let it marinate into the wood.
Paste solution works relatively quickly, so something you might see during your application process is the solution already beginning to take affect. This will be apparent in the dry areas. What you want to do with those areas that are drying quickly is put a bit more stripper in those areas without scratching it. The goal is basically to just re-wet those dry regions.
Step 2: Scrape off the stripper
By this step, you’ll be able to see the entire area is pretty much all gone as far as the finish goes. However, it is still on the surface.
Now, grab a scraper to remove it all off the surface. Make sure that your scraper has a dull edge, it’s not ideal to use one with sharp corners on it because the wood, at this stage, is softened a little and any sharp objects could gouge the wood relatively easily.
Just glide your dull scraper over the wood to remove all the dried up solution/finish mixture.
Step 3: Use steel wool to reapply stripper
This step requires a medium coarse or a coarse steel wool. Reapply a little bit of the paste stripper solution and evenly distribute the paste onto the wood.
Technically, you can go cross grain with the steel wool, but I recommend going with the grain at every opportunity. This is more of a precautionary measure to avoid scratch marks because if you go cross grain too often, then you’ll eventually see those marks.
Steel wool is prone to clogging with stripping chemicals. All the stain, finish, and residue builds up, so if you apply more stripper then use a fresh side of the steel wool that isn’t clogged.
Step 4: Neutralize the stripper
There’s several methods to accomplishing this which involve either the steel wool, saw dust, a rag, or water and a rag. Since we are avoiding saw dust completely for this tutorial, a rag and water will work.
Spray water onto the rag and rub it over the wood in order to remove the excess stripper residue. After you’re finished doing this you can then use more steel wool to give it a good once over to make sure your wood is completely de-stained.
Now your wood is as good as new!
Pesky tasks that are necessary to maintain aesthetics shouldn’t come at the expense of your health. Learning how to remove stain from wood without sanding is an essential part to preventing health risks. Follow our guides to help keep you safe from exposure.