You'll need to fix any structural damage to furniture before refinishing furniture. Small holes and cracks can be filled with wood filler. Deeper ones may take two or more lighter applications. When the filler is dry, sand it smooth before repainting. For natural wood-grain finishes, you might try painting in the grain with artists' acrylics and an ultra-fine brush. You can fix a blister in a wood finish by making a slit in the blister with a craft knife, then carefully pushing wood glue into the crack with a toothpick. Use blocks to protect the wood when you clamp it until the glue dries. If veneer is lifting away from your furniture, you can glue it back in place. Cover the veneer with a damp towel and apply an iron set on low for short periods until the veneer softens. Remove the old glue with coarse sandpaper and apply a fresh coat. Wipe off any excess before weighting or clamping the veneer back in place. To strip paint or varnish from furniture before refinishing it, you have two choices: solvent-based or water-based. Solvent-based strippers work quickly, but they emit toxic fumes and are extremely corrosive to skin and many plastics. Water-based strippers are safer, but take hours to soften the finish. Whichever you choose, let the stripper work for the recommended time, then scrape off the old finish with a paint scraper. Use an old toothbrush or a special brass-bristle brush to get curved and molded areas. Use number-two steel wool to remove anything that remains. You may have to repeat the process for optimum results. Let everything dry thoroughly before applying new paint, stain, or varnish.
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