Hey guys! I’m going to keep this post short and sweet!

I sand my items (well, MOST of them) because they’re usually vintage, old, and sometimes crustier than others. Slapping paint on a finish like that will never look good or professional, so even just scuff sanding your piece to remove the shine and smooth it out will help its appearance but also help the primer (next step) adhere better. I always say there are no shortcuts when it comes to painting furniture, and it’s usually what you do before and after your painting that counts for a professional look.

I’ll be using my client Shanna’s adorable antique secretary desk as part of my How to Paint Furniture Series where each week I’ll be talking about the steps to painting furniture. It’s gorgeous, but we painted her furniture set in Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist, and this brown wood desk is out of place. Let’s paint it up! Take a look at the shiny and crusty finish though, that’ll have to be sanded first before we do anything else.

First, I went around the piece and inspected for dings and damage. I used DryDex spackling which goes on pink and dries white. Another favorite is Elmer’s wood filler. I like these ones vs. Bondo which is popular. Bondo dries really fast but is highly toxic – I don’t recommend it. Once it’s dry, you can sand it up when sanding the rest of your piece, as below.

I used my Bosch ROS10 orbital sander on as many areas as I could – the top, under lid, and pullout tray under the lid.

I used the Norton sanding sponge for beveled areas and curvy details.

I used Norton 150 grit sanding paper cut up and wrapped it around a hand sanding block to get the flat areas where an orbital sander couldn’t get to.

When the Norton sanding sponge/hand sanding block just wouldn’t do the trick, I put a gardening glove on and took a piece of sand paper and went to town!

Now – the trick is to not take the finish down to the raw wood. We just want to remove the shine, give the piece some tooth for the next step to stick to it, and to make it nice and smooth. It’s just not necessary and in my opinion, a waste of time. I don’t want you working harder than you need to!

Once it was all sanded up (it looks more intense than the sanding work I put into it – it wanted to come off really easily), I used my central vacuum to suck up all the dust. Then I went over the whole desk with a swiffer, and finished with a tack cloth to remove alllllll the dust!

This piece is now ready for the next step and next week’s lesson – priming! You’ll learn all about it then 🙂

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