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How To: Remove Black Stains from Wood Furniture

By Alchemy Fine Living on Mar 27, 2012

Do you have a piece of wood furniture with an unsightly black stain? I recently picked up a dresser that had a really ugly top. It was covered in black stains that had penetrated pretty deep into the wood. It took a lot of patience, and multiple steps, but I eventually removed all of the black stains. Here is what the dresser looked like when I started.

Here are the steps that should be taken in order to eliminate dark black stains and return wood to it’s natural, beautiful state.

  1. Strip the finish. I use Citristrip, which I love. Spray on a thick coat of Citristrip and let it sit for about 30 minutes.
  2. Use a plastic spatula to scrap off the finish.
  3. Use a rag soaked in lacquer thinner to scrub off any remaining residue.
  4. Sand the piece thoroughly with 220 grit sandpaper being sure to sand with the grain of the wood.
  5. Once the piece is completely raw wood it’s time to tackle the nasty stains.
  6. Use household bleach and apply directly to the dark spots using a scrub brush or paint brush.
  7. Allow bleach to sit in the sun. This step may need to be repeated multiple times.
  8. Bleaching the targeted areas will eventually leave light spots in the wood, so to even out the finish rub the entire surface with a rag soaked in bleach and let it sit. Repeat until you have a uniform color.
  9. Sand, sand, and then sand some more with 300 grit sandpaper. Sand until the wood is perfectly smooth.

Once the wood is free from stains and sanded to a smooth finish it’s time to seal it. There are so many stains and sealers to choose from, but I chose a dark walnut finish for this dresser. I used Watco Danish oil. I applied it with a paint brush after beating the top with chains, hitting it with a hammer a few times, and slamming a chisel down in a few spots. (I know it seams totally crazy to abuse it after all that hard work to make the top perfect , but I was going for a super old, farmhouse look).

I applied several layers of stain in order to get the deep, rich finish that I desired.

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