Remove stain from cabinet

I have a dark stained cabinet that I would like to sand down & re-stain to go with other furniture pieces. What would be the best sander to use for the large area's? Orbital, Sheet sander, Finish sander etc.? Don't want to mess the grain up. I just added these two pictures that show the fruitwood stained pieces & the dark china cabinet
remove stain from cabinet, cleaning tips, kitchen cabinets, painted furniture
remove stain from cabinet, cleaning tips, kitchen cabinets, painted furniture
  16 answers
  • Brenda Jackson Wenzinger Brenda Jackson Wenzinger on Sep 25, 2013
    a palm sander will give you more control.

  • Paul Paul on Sep 26, 2013

  • Yvonne Mrad Terry Yvonne Mrad Terry on Sep 27, 2013
    We sanded down my parents cabinets that had really dark paint on them, he father made the cabinets over 40yrs ago, I had forgotten what beautiful wood he had used, it is white oak, after we put the clear stain on the grain really pop out.. It was a lot of hard, messy work, the outcome was worth it.. The Best Of Luck...

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Sep 27, 2013
    Pick up a Random Orbit sander. I have three different models and of those my fav is the variable speed Rigid from home depot ( the 5" model ) I would start with some 120 grit...this is about as aggressive as you would want to go, after the old finish is removed with this you will want to follow up with some finer grit, 150 or 180 then the final with some 220. Be careful on the "edges" I'm assuming this is a "solid" wood piece and not veneered?

  • Paul Paul on Sep 27, 2013
    its a solid wood piece :) thanks so much for the advise

  • Pam Pam on Sep 27, 2013
    Definitely a random-orbit sander. Easy to control with one hand but won't leave clear marks.

  • Christine Christine on Sep 27, 2013
    Oh, me! ME! Don't jump in sanding because it's so hard on the wood and can make uneven places when dealing with indents, trim or carving. I've been stripping antique doors and have found Citristrip (and Soygel). It removes stain. Just sucks it right out of the wood. I swear! Put it on thick and leave it. When the pink gel turns to BBQ sauce, take a scrubbie and WATER and (I tilt my doors on their side and push a lot of it off with a plastic scraper, then) just scrub with the grain. It takes the stain right out of the wood. I'm down to SERIOUSLY beautiful bare wood on these antiques. When taking off paint, it doesn't matter if the Citristrip dries. But if you let it dry when removing stain, the wet part keeps sucking out the stain so you end up with some blotches. You can either keep wetting the dry spots or put some plastic wrap (I use cut up grocery bags) over it, press them into the wet stain and leave it. I use a squeegie to press down the grain of the wood, removing any excess water from the scrubbie. If you want more stain out, must put on more Citristrip. I learned to be patient and I generally only need one, thick coat. When it's completely dry, I take a sanding sponge and smooth out the raised grain. I don't need my orbital sander at all. I'd do ads for this product for free. It's made stripping furniture (7 kitchen cabinets, and my mahogany front door and sidelights at the same time as these 15 doors) actually fun. One application for paint and a 2nd if I want to get the stain out. (Not 13, butt-breaking applications of chemicals!) No safety equipment, no flesh-eating chemicals, just easy to remove paint ribbons. Paint comes off in sheets, stain in BBQ sauce. When it gets on my hands? I just rub Citristrip on like lotion, wait a few minutes and wash my hands. I have no hesitation in recommending this. I've picked up 3 tables and a credenza at a thrift store that are on deck next. Can't wait!

  • Paul Paul on Sep 27, 2013
    thanks for your answer..i will look up citistrip!

  • Christine Christine on Sep 27, 2013
    I'm down the road from you. Lowe's doesn't carry it, but HD does.

  • Christine Christine on Sep 28, 2013
    I don't know where the pictures were the 1st time I jumped in, but I can tell you you'll LOVE Citristrip on this piece. In the ornate carving, just use a stiff toothbrush to get the liquified stain out. Some might remain, but it'll just look antiqued. Or, you can just put more on. Sure you want to waste your time on this? I'd be happy to run by, pick it up and dispose of it for you. Just say the word!

    • See 1 previous
    • Christine Christine on Sep 28, 2013
      @KMS Woodworks That's a lovely picture, KMS. A Beautiful piece, in its entirety, I'm sure! If you read the web site, there's a very small blurb that talks about removing stain. It says water. I questioned that by calling them and "Nick" vehemently said Mineral Spirits. So I did that. It was a horrible mess. Not only could I not get it off my hands, but it seemed to reactivate the stain, which soaked right back into my piece. The stain color, however, became magenta, burgundy, fuschia, and all kinds of colors not found in nature. That's how I discovered I could rub the Citristrip on my hands, wait a minute and wash them to get crap off my hands. I went back to water (I'm a rebel that way) and have had nothing but success. I use a plastic scraper to move down the grain of the wood to force out extra water so it doesn't damage the wood, nor take so long to dry. I have to state here, though, that every one of the pieces I've stripped (And I'm on a ROLL) have behaved differently. One piece's white paint turned into milk and ran off like water. Boy was that an easy one! Another French door I couldn't get the paint off with even evil chemical strippers. It's become [ahem] "antiqued" and I actually like it. My point is that one thing might work for one person or one time, but the reactions seem to have a life of their own.

  • Paul Paul on Sep 28, 2013
    I added them to show how dark the empty china cabinet was in the room. The China cabinet with things in it is not that easy to pick up & dispose of :) I will be holding on to that piece for awhile.

  • Karon Nelson Roberts Karon Nelson Roberts on Oct 01, 2013
    It's Beautiful! I would not use a sander... I would use a stripper. You paint it on--follow directions on how long to let it set-- then wipe it off. I redid a cabinet using a stripper... the old paint/wax bubbled up and I used cotton clothes to wipe it off--no scrapping or anything. Easy way to work hard. Then I stained it. My son refinished hard wood floors in hundreds year old homes and buildings.... only time he sands is to even out the rough spots. then stains the floors. Good Luck

  • Paul Paul on Oct 01, 2013
    and the stripper worked well on stain? the piece I am removing the stain from is the dark one on top on the left.

  • Karon Nelson Roberts Karon Nelson Roberts on Oct 02, 2013
    Yes. Stripper is what my son(he passed away 2/14/13) used on the heart pine floors that he did in old homes and businesses-- Summer 2012, they redid the floors at the Old Pink House in Savannah, Ga. This house was there during the American Reveration

  • Paul Paul on Oct 02, 2013
    I will use the stripper first & see how it turns out.. thanks for everyone's help!

    • Christine Christine on Dec 18, 2013
      @Paul Paul, how did it come out? Did you try the Citristrip? Since this post, I've done a few more cabinets and some bedroom furniture in barter with my doctor. Love the stuff. 'Nuff about me. How did your piece turn out? Did you leave it on long enough to suck the stain out?

  • Paul Paul on Dec 18, 2013
    we decided to do a bathroom remodel so I have put that on hold for awhile.. will let you know how it turns out.