Homer Formby is well known for his line of furniture finishing products. A third-generation refinisher of fine furniture, he thought about the stripping problem and reasoned that in the great majority of cases, there was no problem with the stain, only with the deteriorated finish. So why not simply take off the finish and retain the original stain, and then apply a new finish over the old stain? This would make a lot of re finishing much quicker and easier.
Having decided that there was no reason to completely strip most furniture to the bare wood. Formby developed his "Furniture Refinisher." The label says that the product dissolves varnish, lacquer and shellac without stripping the wood. The materia] is applied with fine grade steel wool pads, which are rubbed into an area about a foot square until the finish in that area is dissolved and picked up by the pad. The routine continues until the finish of the entire piece has been removed. During this process, the original stain remains intact, so that the restoration is completed by simply applying a new finish coat. There is no need to deal with stain problems.
The idea is good. It should be noted that the refinisher is a methylene chloride product and should be used with the same care as any other such product. It should also be noted that stains that were applied to the surface may be removed along with the finish. The final result depends on what stains were originally used.
This method assumes, of course, that you want the furniture restored to the original color. If you don't, then you have to use a paint remover or stripper as we described earlier. Formby's refinisher does not work well on paint, polyurethanc varnishes or other synthetic finishes.
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