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How to Refinish Cargo Furniture

Lisa East Hunter

Cargo Furniture was established in 1981, manufacturing family-friendly furniture pieces. The company was purchased by Pier 1 Imports in 2001. Cargo furniture is primarily made of wood and designed as kid’s furniture and other casual pieces. Older Cargo furniture may be starting to show its age.

Refinishing wood furniture can give it new life.

If yours needs a little love and attention, you can use stain or paint to create an entirely new piece of furniture over the weekend.

  1. Clean the furniture completely using ammonia-based cleaner. Remove all of the old grease and grime from the surface. Residual oils will interfere with the paint or stain and cause the finish to bubble or peel over time.

  2. Sand the furniture in preparation for stain. Stain will require that the furniture be sanded down to the bare wood. Use medium grit sandpaper to completely remove the original finish. A palm sander will make the job quicker and more even. Switch to fine grit sandpaper and go over the furniture an additional time to smooth out the surface and create a good base for stain. If you are planning to paint the furniture, skip this step.

  3. Sand the furniture in preparation for paint. Roughen the surface of the furniture to create some texture. Additional texture will allow the paint to sink in and grip the furniture, creating a stronger bond. Run medium grit sandpaper over the surface.

  4. Wipe away sanding dust with a damp rag.

  5. Apply paint or stain to the furniture with a paintbrush. Apply multiple thin coats of paint or stain. Multiple thin coats are more durable than one thick coat. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next.

  6. Paint on a coat of polyurethane topcoat. Choose a clear topcoat with a matte finish. A clear coat of polyurethane will protect the furniture from nicks and scratches without altering the appearance of the newly painted or stained furniture.