Move the piece of furniture outdoors if possible. If it is not possible to move the furniture outdoors, open all windows and set up large fans to provide adequate ventilation.
Put on chemical-resistant gloves and chemical-resistant goggles. Add a chemical-approved respirator, if the work area does not have proper ventilation.
Open a can of polyurethane stripper and pour it into a small metal bucket.
Dip a paintbrush into the chemical stripper. Apply a thick coat of the stripper to the polyurethane finish. Move the paintbrush in one direction to leave a generous layer of stripper on the surface. Let the polyurethane stripper remain on the surface as long as the manufacturer indicates, which is anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes depending on the type of stripper.
Place a metal scraper at a 45-degree angle to the furniture. Scrape the surface, following the grain of the wood to remove the chemical stripper and the old polyurethane finish. Exert as much pressure as necessary to remove the stripper and old finish without damaging the wood. Place a metal container at the edge of the furniture to catch the chemical and old finish. Continue to scrape away the old finish until no polyurethane remains on the surface.
Whittle the end of a wood dowel with a utility knife to create a point. Scrape the polyurethane finish and stripper from the recesses with the pointed end of the dowel.
Wash the surface of the furniture the appropriate neutralizer to stop the chemical activity of the polyurethane stripper. Some polyurethane strippers require the use of a specialized neutralizer, while others require mineral spirits or white vinegar. Follow the manufacturer's directions to use the proper neutralizer.
Fill a bucket with water and add a squirt of dish soap. Submerge a rag into the water, squeeze out excess soapy water and wipe the surface of the furniture. Wet a rag with plain water and wipe the surface to remove soap residue. Immediately dry the furniture with a clean rag.
Things You Will Need
- Chemical-resistant gloves
- Chemical-resistant goggles
- Chemical-approved respirator
- Polyurethane stripper
- Metal bucket
- Metal scraper
- Wood dowel
- Utility knife
- Metal container
- Neutralizer, mineral spirits or white vinegar
- Dish soap
- Contact your local hazardous waste department for proper disposal instructions for the stripper and old finish.