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Painting Over Varnish Without Sanding

I've seen some older posts already about painting directly over varnished furniture, but it's not exactly the same problem that I have. I was just wondering, I have a small, mahogany corner shelf unit that someone forgot to move when we were oil-painting the door next to it.


It's full of white spatters, but I don't want to toss it if I can paint over it to hide the spatters. It's very hot here where I live, would it be a good idea to stick it outside in the hot sun so as to fade away the varnish before I paint it. Sanding it down is too difficult as it is full of carvings and swirls. Anybody have any suggestions?

By Cettina from Malta, Europe

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August 1, 20100 found this helpful

Cettina, are the spatters large? Are the spatters in the scroll design? You could always use a stripper to get the paint off but if it is in the scrolls that would be difficult. I think your only option would be to sand, at least get the worst of it done that way. Or, another possibility, you might take a putty knife and see if you can get some of the paint off that way.

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August 1, 20100 found this helpful

Hi laniegirl. The spatters are large, with lots of drips over the scrollings. I could sand down the flat parts but there is no way I can get to the carved bits without scraping which would probably ruin the delicate engravings. Its a shame that the little unit was overlooked until it was too late. its not particularly valuable, its just pretty and i would like to save it if I can.

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August 5, 20100 found this helpful

I would sand what you can with a small sander and then use an attachment to try to get what you can of the decorative parts. You could hand sand the rest, but it will get old fast.

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August 7, 20100 found this helpful

Go to the hardware store and get liquid sandpaper, comes in a variety of names. It is a cleaner, slight stripper. I use this in my 100 year old house to clean woodwork without having to refinish anything. Cleans it up nice and shiny.

This is not tsp.

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August 10, 20100 found this helpful

Never heard of such a thing as liquid sandpaper but the concept seems exactly what I need. Thanks for the suggestion. I will go and see if such a thing is available in my country.

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March 30, 20160 found this helpful

It's called sugar soap

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