Sanding Varnish: 5 Tips

sanding a varnished side table
  • 0-2 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-150

Removing an existing varnish off countertops, tabletops and floors can be a taxing activity, but with a little sanding you can make quick work of the problem.

Tip 1 - Safety First

Always consider safety when sanding. It might not seem super hazardous, but the work involves the varnish dust, which is harmful when ingested. Face masks and goggles are a good idea, as is ensuring proper ventilation.

Tip 2 - Let the Sander Do Its Thing

If you're using an electric sander, let it operate mostly on its own—exerting too much force may damage the wood.

Tip 3 - Adjust the Grit

Start with a lower grade sander of around 20, then eventually increase the sand grit gradually to 120. This will create a smooth sanding effect from start of work to finish.

Tip 4 - Right Sander Choice

Various surfaces require different types of sanders. Larger areas like flooring may need belt sanders. For surfaces that have curves, drum sanders may be the best option to use especially if the surface has intricate designs.

Tip 5 - Lasting Work Takes Time

To get the best results on the sanding work, the process should be done with patience. Do the steps on the work process conscientiously, and a longer lasting result will be your reward.