Restaining a windowsill

Cindyloo123November 9, 2011

Hello woodworkers! I usually post on the decorating forum but I am currently doing something that requires your expertise.

I have a bow picture window. After 25 years, the polyurethane and then the stain, cracked and got bleached by the sun. I need to redo just the sill. Last night I sanded it with a machine, and the parts that were already worn were down to bare wood right away. But the majority of it still has the old stain and poly.

I REALLY don't want to have to hand sand all of the edges etc. to get the whole thing down to bare wood. I was going consider the "prep" over and stain over it all, but I'm afraid I'll get such an uneven look it will be a disaster.

What are my options? Thank you for any suggestions at all.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Using a stripper is less likely to result in sanding damage.

Sanding is not a good way to remove a finish.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 1:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The two best options for removing the finish are chemical or heat. Mechanical, which is what you've done, is definitely a third choice except for one attribute: it's accessible and controlable, even by a novice, and of course that's why you've chosen it. But it is labour-intensive and easily damages wood.

Chemical encompasses an enormous variety of options these days, which you can explore on this forum or on Old Houses by doing a search for "stripper" I would guess. Heat can be a heat gun ($75 or so, or you may already have one) or infrared, circa $500. The degree to which you affect adjacent surfaces may be a consideration with both chemical and heat - perhaps you can remove the window casing to avoid damaging it?

A final option is to not remove the old finish. But then you cannot stain, because stain needs to penetrate the wood. Instead, in this case you would have to paint something OVER the old finish - clear or otherwise.

Karin L

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 6:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you both for the information. Not sure which way I'll go, but I'll be doing either the stripper or the heat.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 9:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If it were me, I'd probably scrape off the vernish, then sand it smooth. Strippers are very hard to control in limited confines.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 5:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Casey's right - it is a perfect application for scraping.
The last time I suggested scraping it was pointed out that the finish might be too hard for a scraper, but the risk of damaging the casing with other methods makes that less of a concern.

Karin L

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 5:16PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Refinishing oak furniture
I fell in love with a very large (11 feet long) piece...
Planing weathered/near rotted lumber?
I was just curious if it's OK to run some old, very...
Gel stain on stair treads and handrail?
I have read many of the inspirational posts in the...
Differences in Wood Stains?
I went to purchase some stain to refinish a stripped...
Can this door be repaired?
We're renovating a 1920 house and this bedroom door...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™