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Question: I often see vintage furniture I'd love to upcycle, but am put off by the preparation work. Is it really needed?

DIY expert Jo Behari says: While it might not feel like fun, good prep work with wooden items is the key to a longlasting finish. Begin by sanding, starting with coarse grades of sandpaper and working down to finer ones. Investing in a good electrical hand sander with small heads will speed up this process. Work with the grain of the wood rather than against, and clean the piece in between each round of sanding. Next decide on the finish.

A quick layer of varnish will give a natural look. If you need to take off any paint, a remover such as Nitromors works well. Simply paint it onto the surface, wait a while and the paint will bubble and crack, allowing you to scrape it off with a filling knife. As this product is toxic, make sure you work in a well-ventilated environment and use gloves. If you're planning on painting the item a different colour, you don't have to remove the existing paint. Just sand it well to give a fresh surface.



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