How to Refinish Rosewood Furniture With Sanding

Once you've removed the finish, including varnishes and sealers, from the surface of rosewood furniture, you're ready to start sanding. You can remove the varnishes and sealers with chemical strippers to speed up the process, although these finishes can also be removed with sanding. Sanding by hand is a slow process on large pieces of furniture, but is possible with patience and determination.

Change the sandpaper frequently to maintain efficiency when sanding.

Step 1

Fit 120 grit sandpaper to the orbital sander.  Sand down the large areas of the furniture with the sander using smooth, even strokes across the surface.

Step 2

Fit 220 grit sandpaper to the sander, and sand down again to smooth the surface. 

Step 3

Wrap a sanding block with sandpaper and remove varnishes or stains from small areas on the furniture. 

Step 4

Wipe over the surface with a tack cloth to remove the dust. 

Step 5

Apply a wood grain filler to seal the open grain of rosewood.  Water- or oil-based fillers are available, with the water-based ones accepting stain better than the oil-based ones.

Always follow the directions on the can for the type of grain filler you are using. 

Things You Will Need

  • Random orbital sander
  • 120 grit sandpaper
  • 220 grit sandpaper
  • Sanding block
  • Tack cloth
  • Wood grain filler


  • Always sand with the grain when you're sanding by hand.
  • Wrap sandpaper around areas such as table legs to cover as large a surface area as possible while hand sanding. Be sure to maintain an even pressure.
  • Rosewood has a beautiful color without staining. Consider leaving rosewood furniture in its natural color after sanding and filling.
  • Get extra life out of sandpaper by scrubbing it clean with a toothbrush when it gets clogged.


  • Be extra careful when sanding down rosewood veneers. Veneers are often only 1/32 inch thick and it's easy to sand through them when using power tools.
  • Don't press down on the orbital sander. Allow the weight of the tool to do the work.
  • Don't continue to sand with sandpaper that has lost its abrasiveness, otherwise the effect is more like polishing than sanding.

About the Author

Deborah Jones started her freelance writing career in 1990. Her work has appeared in The Writer's Forum, "Reader's Digest" and numerous D.C. Thomson magazines. Jones has a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and a postgraduate certificate in education, both from the University of Derby.

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