Tips and Tricks

Safety for DIYing and Refinishing

I (Tara) have been refinishing furniture for 18 years now.  I have experienced my fair share of “oopses” due to failed protection.  I have done 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.  Becca and I feel that we are among those whose duty it is to encourage this in order to continue encouraging others to do their work efficiently and safely!

First I’d like to share some of my favorite protective wear with you so you can avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made.

First up… eyewear.  I personally 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.

Above: Becca’s Safety Girl boots

Next is footwear.  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 (we 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!  Becca really likes her Ariats and Safety Girl boots.  The Ariats are much more comfortable, but the Safety Girls offer a little more protection (plus, they’re pink… and Becca likes a lot of pink in her life).

Masks!  So, important from sanding to spraying wear your mask. I just bought an Elispe half mask which I must say is suprisingly comfortable! I typically get somewhat claustrophobic in masks, but this one I could leave on all day. I highly recommend it. It also comes with a great plastic bag to prevent contamination when your not using it. What a great idea!  Becca also likes the disposable respiration masks, which are a very affordable option that is efficient enough for most jobs.

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 I don’t wear gloves (Becca doesn’t either).  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 our 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.

We hope this has been helpful!  Feel free to message us for more recommendations!

Junk on (safely)!  🙂

Tara & Becca

Coming up next week read all about The Upcycle Girl #2 Becca!



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Tara Lou
<p>19 years ago, I started my path in furniture by preserving antique furniture, and restoring furniture after home disasters. More recently I have started working with clients to revive their furniture to todays fashions. When I’m not chipping my nails flipping furniture I am out with my kids hunting, fishing, foraging, gardening or hiking.</p>

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