Tips and Tricks

Safety for DIYing and Refinishing

I’ve been refinishing furniture for about 18 years now.  I have experienced my fair share of “oopses” due to failed protection.  Everything from stabbing myself with chisels to melting my gloves in stripper.  Proper precautions are no joke in this industry, and quality of protective gear DOES matter. Sharing my favorite products for safety for DIYing and Refinishing. 


 Personally I don’t wear protective eyewear.  Before you say anything, have you seen these giant glasses I wear?!  I’m probably going to look back in photos and make fun of myself someday.  In my case, if I doubled up on my eyewear I wouldn’t be able to see what I am doing.  So common sense plays a key factor here.  If you don’t wear glasses (like Becca) get some standard safety glasses. My husband likes these.


Proper foot attire is also important safety for refinishing. Some people think that this isn’t as important if you aren’t working on heavy construction sites, or if your work is all at table height.  That is a myth.  In a workshop setting (even in your basement or garage) you can step on nails, staples, or large splinters, which will go through most everyday-shoe soles.  You can also drop tools or pieces of furniture on your toes (I have done this many times…). You don’t necessarily need steel-toed boots, although some on-site jobs will require them.  Personally, I just like my Ariat hiking boots – they have a thick sole, I can wear them for days, and they are a little taller with ankle protection for when I’m climbing through junk! 


It is so, important from sanding to spraying wear your mask. For sanding I just bought an Elispe half mask which I must say is surprisingly comfortable! I typically get somewhat claustrophobic in masks, but this one I could leave on all day. I highly recommend it. It alsreo comes with a great plastic bag to prevent contamination when your not using it. What a great idea! 

For spraying I use a 3M mask this one here is comparable. Check what the mask is used for. This one is for formaldehyde which is common in most waterborne finishes. This is a difference between dust and gasses and which cartridges you would want to use on your mask.


Stripping gloves are SUPER important.  When you use lacquer thinners, you need a real chemical-resistant pair of gloves.  The risk in not wearing them?  You could literally melt your gloves right off your hands – Imagine what that could do to your skin!  We used to double up on gloves when I owned my refinishing shop. We even had those gloves that tied all the way up to the neck and a full plastic apron (talk about neck pain). Your best bet would be a lined plastic glove like this.

Staining Gloves: Ok, so unless I am using oil stain or using a sponge I don’t wear gloves.   Unless you are a clean freak (which is fine!) it’s a bit of a waste since I can just wash my hands with a heavy hand soap.  In my opinion, there is no need to fill up a land fill with unnecessary plastic gloves.  To each his own, though!  So if you do prefer to use gloves for staining, these are the best. If you have a latex allergy, use these.

I hope this has been helpful and your can now use some safety when refinishing!  Feel free to message me for more recommendations!

Junk on (safely)!  🙂

Tara Lou

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Tara Lou

Mama, wife, furniture connoisseur, small business owner, nature-lover, homebody, hunter.

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