How to Remove Varnish from Wood Without Chemicals [2022]

People varnish wooden furniture and other woodworking stuff to protect the wood from being damaged. In fact, it’s a great product to preserve your woodwork from scuff, scratches, and stains, etc. But, of course, by the time it gets old or requires re-varnishing, you need to remove varnish from wood.  

However, removing varnish from wood without chemicals is easier than you think. In order to do that, you need to define the existing finish first. After identifying the finish, you can easily remove the varnish. Let’s check the difference on how to remove varnish from wood without chemicals or hazardous equipment. 

Here are the most popular two ways you can remove varnish from wood without using any chemicals. Let’s check them out. 

  • Sandpaper 
  • Heat Gun

Check below for details on how to use and remove varnish from wooden stuff. 

How to remove varnish from wood without chemicals In 2 Ways

How to Remove Varnish from Wood Without Chemicals
Image Credit: Pixabay

1. How to remove varnish from wood using sandpaper?

I believe you are an environment enthusiast and want to protect it in every step of your life. In that case, sandpaper is the most environment friendly wood varnish removing method to implement. However, sanding is the easiest and most efficient way to varnish off the wood as it’s chemicals free.  

In order to get rid of varnish from wood, initially, you need 150 grit sandpaper. Then, after cleaning the whole surface, you need to apply 220 grit sandpaper to finish the wood. As this process is labor intensive, you need to do this for a long time until the varnish is off fully. 

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Furthermore, you can use an orbital sander to varnish off, but ineffective for tight space. In that case, you need to use traditional sandpaper as mentioned above to remove varnish. 

2. Remove varnish from wood with a Heat Gun.

Basically, a heat gun works fantastically to remove varnish from wood.  As it’s a chemical free method, it can protect your valuable wood from being damaged.  In fact, it works better than most chemical based varnish removal processes. However, the heat gun softens the varnish, and the wood handle scraper removes the varnish by sweeping. 

Nevertheless, you need to wear protective gear like leather gloves, goggles, mask, etc., during work. So let’s check the working process.  

First of all, wash the wooden surface with warm soapy water and ensure no dust or rust is left. Then use a towel to dry all the moisture. For your kind information, dirty or dusty wood may burn faster with minimum heat, so you need to be careful about that. 

Now connect the heat gun with the power supply and turn it on. In the beginning, make it medium heat and gradually increase the heat. Next, however, select a particular area and start heating over it. You will see varnish gets soften and use a scraper to get off. Don’t heat the whole surface of the wood at a time, as the varnish won’t get off quickly.

In the end, you will notice some spots you can’t clean off. In that case, you need to use sandpaper to remove varnish from tight spaces. 

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This is how a heat gun works to remove varnish from wood. 

Final Thoughts

I have discussed the most famous two ways of removing varnish from wood without chemicals. Now let’s try your own. 

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