I embarked on an ambitious project to restore a piece of furniture by stripping it, sanding it back, re-staining, and re-varnishing.

The stripping and sanding part has turned into an absolute nightmare. The stain just isn't coming out. Even after hours of work on a single small piece of the furniture, I still cannot remove the stain even near completely.

I just found out that it's largely MDF, not pine like I had thought. Is this why it's so hard to get the stain out? It seems to have penetrated very deeply and isn't sanding away easily at all.

  • MDF is basically pressed wheat chaff. Stain goes deep, as you'd expect. Your options are to prime and paint (with steel wool between), or maybe a colored urethane (again, buffing between coats).
    – isherwood
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 13:59
  • A photo would be interesting, but I think you're going to have to paint it. Maybe stain it a similar color to "perk it up" would work.
    – gnicko
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 17:38

1 Answer 1


MDF "restored"? This is not a term I see used in reference to MDF. Visible surfaces of MDF are always covered with some sort of solid material--plastic, formica, etc. I don't think paint or stain would make an acceptable finish.

You might consider gluing on thin plywood (1/8") with a fine layer on one side.

  • 2
    Not always, but at least a smooth finish is present as a result of the manufacturing process. Any sort of abrasion results in fuzz.
    – isherwood
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 14:02

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