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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012

    Default Refinishing Old Dresser

    I have an old dresser I am trying to refinish. I've already removed the shellac and am starting to sand. My question is: I can see black in the wood grain and I'm pretty sure it's mildew. Should I use denatured alcohol in case it is stain or bleach/water to remove the mildew? Regardless I know it is mildewed because it reeks of the smell.

    Any help here would be appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago

    Default Re: Refinishing Old Dresser


    The musty smell probably is coming from those interior parts of the dresser which rarely got a finish on them, hence they absorb moisture during prolonged storage in damp basements or other damp areas.

    Regardless of what you do to the stains, seal the interior bare wood with clear shellac. It is the best smell sealer available. It is also alcohol based which will help kill any latent spores.

    For stain removal, I prefer oxalic acid. This can be bought as crystals, but it is also the main ingredient in most deck cleaners. Unlike bleach, oxalic acid does not leave the wood kind of greyish looking.

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