How To Refinish A Wooden Rocking Chair? Safely!

Wooden rocking chairs have been a family’s favorite piece of furniture for generations. They provide a comfortable and relaxing experience, making it the perfect place to read a book, watch TV, or simply unwind. Over time, wooden rocking chairs can lose their charm, leaving them looking drab and outdated.

Refinishing the wooden rocking chair can be a great way to give it a makeover and bring back its former glory. In this ultimate guide, we will take you through the step-by-step process of refinishing a wooden rocking chair.

Assess the Condition of the Wooden Rocking Chair

The first step in refinishing a wooden rocking chair is to assess its condition. Check for any cracks, scratches, dents, or damage that may need repair. If you find any structural damage, consider getting it fixed by a professional before proceeding with refinishing.

If the chair is in good condition overall, you can proceed to the next step.

Remove the Old Finish

The second step is to remove the old finish, which can be done in one of two ways – sanding or stripping. Sanding is a more time-consuming process but is great for chairs with thin or cracked finishes.

Stripping is a quicker method and is recommended for thick finishes. Once done, clean the chair thoroughly and allow it to dry.

Repair and Sand the Chair

The next step is to repair any damage to the chair, including filling in cracks and gaps with wood filler. Once that is done, it’s time to sand the chair thoroughly to remove all traces of the old finish, repair, and damage. Sand the chair in the direction of the wood grain with fine sandpaper.

Apply a Stain

How To Refinish A Wooden Rocking Chair

Once the chair has been sanded, it’s time to apply a stain of your choice. Apply a moderate amount of stain with a brush or cloth and allow it to dry. Check the color depth, and if it’s not satisfactory, another coat of stain can be applied until you achieve the desired color.

Protect and Finish the Chair

The final step is to apply a protecting finish to the chair. Polyurethane is an excellent choice for this purpose. Apply a moderate coat with a brush and allow it to dry, following the manufacturer’s instructions for drying time.

Once dry, sand it slightly with a fine grit sandpaper and repeat the process for a second or third coat, allowing each coat to dry between coats.

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Types of Wooden Refinishing

1. Varnishing

Varnishing is a process in which a clear, hard resin is applied to the surface of the wood in order to protect it from damage and wear. Varnish can be applied by brush, roller, or sprayer, and is typically allowed to dry for 24 hours before being buffed to a high shine.

2. Staining

Staining is a process in which pigment is added to wood in order to change its color. Stains can be applied with a brush, rag, or sprayer, and are typically allowed to penetrate the wood for 30 minutes before being wiped off.

3. Painting

Painting is a process in which pigment is added to wood in order to change its color. Paint can be applied with a brush, roller, or sprayer, and is typically allowed to dry for 24 hours before being buffed to a high shine.

4. Whitewashing

Whitewashing is a process in which white paint is diluted with water and applied to wood in order to lighten its color. Whitewash can be applied with a brush, rag, or sprayer, and is typically allowed to dry for 24 hours before being buffed to a high shine.

5. Distressing

Distressing is a process in which the surface of the wood is intentionally damaged in order to give it an aged or weathered appearance. Distressing can be achieved through various methods such as sanding, denting, or scratching the surface of the wood.

Best Wooden Refinishing

The best wooden refinishing involves a process that requires skill, precision, and attention to detail. It’s not simply about applying a coat of paint or varnish. Instead, it involves careful examination and preparation of the piece, including sanding, stripping, and re-staining until the desired look is achieved.

Moreover, a skilled refinisher will use only the best quality materials, ensuring that your furniture will not only look spectacular but will also be protected for years to come.

So, if you’re looking for the best wooden refinishing, look no further than a trusted, experienced professional.

Related Topic: How To Fix A Broken Wooden Chair Spindle?


In conclusion, refinishing a wooden rocking chair can make all the difference in rejuvenating its appearance, making it a treasured piece of furniture once again.

We hope this ultimate guide has equipped you with the knowledge and tools to transform your chair into a masterpiece that you and your family can enjoy for years to come. Remember, it may take some time, patience, and effort, but the result will be worth it.

As always, we advise that you follow all safety precautions, including wearing a mask and protective gloves, and that you work in a well-ventilated area. Happy refinishing!


Do you have to sand a rocking chair before painting?

Before painting a rocking chair, sanding is recommended to ensure a smooth and even finish. Sanding not only removes any existing paint or finish but also smooths out any rough spots or imperfections in the wood.

Without sanding, the paint may not adhere properly and may also look uneven in areas where the wood is rough. Therefore, taking the time to sand your rocking chair before painting can result in a polished and professional appearance.

What is the best way to sand a rocking chair?

When it comes to sanding a rocking chair, there are a few things to keep in mind to achieve the best results. First, make sure to use sandpaper with a grit of 120 or higher for a smooth finish. Start with the largest surface areas and work your way to the smaller details.

Use a sanding block for the flat surfaces and a contour sander for the curves. No matter your method, be sure to sand evenly across the entire chair to avoid any uneven spots. Finally, wipe away any dust before applying a finish to your beautifully sanded rocking chair.

What kind of sandpaper to use on wooden chairs?

When it comes to sanding wooden chairs, it is important to choose the right sandpaper for the job. Generally, 120-150 grit sandpaper is recommended for initial sanding to remove any roughness or bumps on the surface. For smoothing out the wood and achieving a finer finish, 220-320 grit sandpaper should be used.

It is important to use finer grit sandpaper for a smoother finish, but be careful not to over-sand the wood, which can lead to damage. By choosing the appropriate sandpaper, you can achieve a beautifully smooth and polished finish on your wooden chairs.

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