The Best Way to Sand Chair Legs

Sanding furniture is the essential first step to staining unfinished furniture, or the essential second step after you've stripped a finished chair of its original color.

Wet Down Chair

Sanding chair legs is a relatively simple process that any weekend warrior can tackle. The best way to achieve the cleanest sand is to follow a few simple steps.

Using a clean sponge soaked in hot water, wipe down the chair legs before sanding. This causes the fibers of the wood to swell and stick out, almost like whiskers. When you begin to sand, the whiskers will be cut off cleanly. Doing this will result in a smoother sand, and will also allow the stain to spread evenly, if you plan on staining the chair legs later.


After you've let the chair dry (usually a few hours), begin to sand the legs using a steel wool sanding patch, which can be found at any hardware store. Sand with the grain of the wood, as going against the grain can result in very noticeable scratches. Begin on the inside of the legs and sand from top to bottom in long, even strokes. Use firm pressure to ensure a clean finish. Take your time, but don't worry about all the nooks and crannies at this point.

Tiny Grooves

When you've finished sanding all the legs, you'll probably still need to get into the tiny grooves and details. The best way to get into these nooks and crannies it to use a piece of jute twine, also sold at hardware stores. Cut the twine into about a 6-inch-long piece and wrap it around the small area you wish to sand. Take an end in each hand and pull the twine back and forth, which will smooth and sand the grooves.

About the Author

Katie Brennan is an award-winning freelance writer in Denver. She realized her passion for prose at age 12, when she published a non-fiction essay in a national book. Brennan has a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and English from the University of Iowa.