I've had a few questions about how I refinish my dresser tops so I thought I would just do a post on it. I'll just start with a picture of all the products I use.
I start out by putting stripper on the top with a chip brush (not pictured) and let it sit for 10-15 minutes then start scraping it off with my plastic putty knife (I guess that's what it's called). There may be a few places where the poly doesn't come off so just put a little more stripper on. It's usually ready to scrape off in 5 minutes or less. When I have all the stripper scraped away I pour a little mineral spirits on the top and use this tool:
to scrub away any leftover stripper. I take the dresser out in the sun so the mineral spirits can evaporate. The I use my orbital sander with a 100 grit sandpaper to remove any poly left on the top. Then switch to 220 grit for my final sanding. I then put some mineral spirits on a paper towel and wipe away any sanding dust. Let the mineral spirits evaporate again and I'm ready to stain.
This is what my tops look like when I'm done removing the old finish:
At this point if feels as smooth as a baby's bum. :)
I put my stain on with a foam brush, leave it on around 5 minutes then wipe off any excess with an old t-shirt. I give it at least 24 hours to dry before putting Minwax Polycrylic on it. It's water based so you need to work fairly fast so it doesn't dry. I use a foam brush to apply this as well. I like to start at the back middle of the dresser and work it all the way across then keep moving up until the top is done then apply to the sides. I let the first coat dry 3-4 hours then wrap a piece of 400 grit sandpaper ( my favorite is at home depot) around a sanding block and gently sand the surface. Use a damp paper towel to get rid of the sanding dust then repeat this 2-3 more times. Your last application should feel nice and smooth! I always use the satin finish just because I don't like my tops to shiny. :) That's it! If you have any questions that I haven't answered, just ask and I'll be glad to answer!