How Do You Refinish a Cedar Chest?


Quick Answer

To refinish a cedar chest, put it on a tarp, remove the hardware, strip and sand the wood, apply the new stain and sealant, and dry the chest. This two-day process requires protective clothing, a tarp, screwdrivers, a chemical paint stripper, a scraper, sandpaper, wood stain, sealant and a paintbrush.

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Full Answer

  1. Prepare the chest

    Set the chest on a plastic tarp. Remove all the hardware, and set the pieces aside.

  2. Strip the existing finish

    Put on long rubber gloves and a particle mask. Apply a chemical paint stripper according to the manufacturer's directions. Once the old finish softens, scrape it off with a paint scraper. Use slow, gentle strokes to avoid damaging the cedar. Remove lingering residue with fine sandpaper.

  3. Apply the finish

    Paint the chest with the stain. Let the chest dry for several hours, and then apply a second coat. Wash the paintbrush, and let the chest dry overnight.

  4. Apply clear sealant

    Apply a coat of clear sealant. Consult the manufacturer's directions for drying time, and then apply a second coat. Dry the chest overnight.

  5. Reinstall the hardware

    Touch the chest lightly to verify the sealant is dry. Reinstall the hardware, and move the chest to its original location.

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