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Getting Rid of Varnish from Wood

Posted: November 29, 2019 at 10:20 am   /   by   /   comments (0)
Applying varnish on wooden plank

Do you have an old piece of furniture or wooden floor that you would like to upgrade? Well, in order to color it, you will have to remove the existing varnish. Don’t worry, though; you can remove the varnish in many ways. 

Sanding is a very commonly used technique to reveal a fresh new layer of wood. Sanding is great because it is not that time-consuming, but the biggest problem is that it produces fine-particle dust. Plus, through sanding, you can scrape off more wood than desired. Since sanding is out of the list, another great method you can use to remove varnish is wood stripping! According to #1 Deck, when it comes to wood stripping, you have 2 main options:

Heat Stripping 

Heat guns are one of the best ways to get rid of varnish from old wood. They work very efficiently but don’t cover much ground at a single time as compared to other chemicals. They must be held far away from the surface of the wooden piece. Once you heat the area with the heat gun, you can easily scrape off the softened varnish using a paint scraper or a thin knife. Don’t waste too much time and do it quickly before the varnish cools down. 

Heat guns can produce intense heat so be careful not to burn yourself or char the wood. You can also use an infrared gun to heat the area, but an infrared gun doesn’t produce as much heat as a traditional heat gun. 

Liquids and Gel Stripping

Liquid and gel strippers are cheaper than other wood stripping options. You can easily apply them using a simple or expensive paintbrush. It is important to wear gloves and goggles for eye protection as these liquids and gels can be harmful. Liquids act faster than citrus gels. Once you apply them, you will have to make sure they don’t dry up on the wood. Once you notice bubbles on the surface, it means that the stripper has softened the varnish. Now you can scrape it. 

Choosing the Best Method

If you don’t want to opt for sanding, then you can choose a wood stripper to get rid of the varnish. These are various wood strippers that you can use such as liquid and gel strippers or chemical strippers. You can also use the heat stripping method to get rid of the varnish. You can use liquid and gel strippers, allowing them to seep into the wood finishing which will loosen it. 

The heat stripping method is great for softening the overall wood finishing. Both these methods, however, require scraping. Chemical strippers tend to work very quickly but often discharge too many fumes. Citrus strippers are nearly odorless but tend to work extremely slowly. Heat guns can soften the varnish within a minute or so. Heat guns can even char the wood at times while infrared heat guns produce less heat. Traditional chemical strippers are cheaper, while citrus strippers can be pretty expensive. Standard heat guns and infrared heat guns might be costly but can be reused. 

The bottom line is that there are many ways to remove varnish from wood. No matter which method you try, make sure that you take certain precautions. Read the instructions given by the manufacturer before using any chemical or substance to make sure you don’t harm yourself. And, if you need to split your own wood, consider getting a wood splitting maul. To learn more about this tool, see it at

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