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How to Refinish Walnut Wood

Suppose that your walnut furniture has been scratched or stained or otherwise damaged and you want to restore it. To do this well takes some chemicals, a fair amount of elbow grease and some serious time. You'll need to find a place to work where there is plenty of good ventilation and where you can easily clean up the mess after you're done.

Step 1

Clean the walnut wood to remove any dirt as well as any residual wax or furniture polish. Apply a chemical stripper such as 5F5 or Zip Strip to remove the finish from the wood. Follow the directions on the package as to how long the chemical should be left on the wood.

Step 2

Rub the walnut wood surface with lacquer thinner using steel wool. This will remove any leftover chemical stripper as well as smooth the wood.

Step 3

Remove any stains that are still left on the walnut wood by applying oxalic acid. Lightly sand the area where the stain was.

Step 4

Finish sanding the surface of the walnut wood with 220-grit sandpaper. Brush off the tiny particles left after sanding.

Step 5

Polish the wood surface with walnut oil. You can substitute either linseed oil or a commercial product like Minwax Antique Oil.

Things You Will Need

  • Chemical stripper
  • Lacquer thinner
  • Oxalic acid (to remove any stains)
  • Steel wool
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Walnut oil

About the Author

Lesley Barker, director of the Bolduc House Museum, authored the books "St. Louis Gateway Rail—The 1970s," published by Arcadia, and the "Eye Can Too! Read" series of vision-related e-books. Her articles have appeared in print and online since the 1980s. Barker holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Washington University and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Webster University.