Whether you’ve bought a used furniture set or are restoring or refinishing an old one in your home, safety comes first when doing the job right.
Not only do some old furniture pieces have dangerous chemicals on them, but the chemicals used to refinish them can be just as hazardous. You not only need to know how to do refinishing but what tools and preparations you need to engage in.
Taking into account that not everyone is an expert re finisher, and that being said even the knowledgeable still need to know that safety comes first.
It should start with knowing what chemicals are on the furniture first. If you don’t know then take into account what they might be. Safety glasses, gloves, respirators are standard operating tools from the start. Working in a well ventilated area is a must. Even if you have to do some work outdoors, it’s better than doing them in a cramped basement or other room where you can’t get air in and out.
Be careful with sawdust. It can ignite when it comes in contact with outlets and such. Always unplug your tools when changing things like sandpaper. Keep the floor you’re working on clear of obstructions like fallen cups, bolts, screws, nails, toys, etc., you don’t want to stumble over something while you’ve got a power tool in your hands or near a sturdy object with sharp protrusions.
Lighting should be bright and adequate and always keep a small flashlight at the ready for those places that could use a good peeking into. Don’t pick up a heavy chair or table to look under it or into some hard to see place when you can just flick on the flashlight and get a good glimpse.
Do whatever you can to prevent children, pets, and even nosy family members from barging in on you while you’re working. Make it clear to everyone that you’ll be doing work and that you are not to be disturbed with foolishness of any kind.
No open flames when doing refinishing as some chemicals are flammable. This means absolutely no smoking.
Keep a first aid kit at the ready. Ask someone to spot you by either hanging out and keeping an eye on you or by checking in every half hour or so to make sure things are okay. Sometimes a chemical reaction can overwhelm a person very fast and knock them out.
With old pieces, remember the old paints might have contained lead. Follow stripping procedures for this to the letter and don’t try to shortcut.
Overall, think first. Prepare, and plan and things should go well and safe.
Image credit: tiero