We are in the process of repainting and changing the look of my house. Everything is oak. Base boards. Kitchen cupboards. Stair railing. When the house was built the original owner went with a yellow stain. We personally are not the biggest fans of the yellow but we love the look of oak.

Our Plan

We want to strip down all the oak and restain it to a darker brown colour. We have done our upstairs bathroom so far. And to be honest it is alot if work. Lots of sanding and scraping. What we are looking to do is see if there is a easier way to restain.

Are there any tools that are designed to sand base boards? A special planer? Custom power sanders? Something that will make the process much faster?

We have a shop filled with lots of wood working equipment and wouldn't be afraid to buy a special tool for making the job easier as we have a place to keep it and will more then likely make good use of it in the future.

All of your input is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  • 1
    Welcome. I've made some edits to strip your post to the essentials, per our site guidelines. Are you doing the refinishing with the boards in place or removing them? What profile and size are we talking about? Please revise your post to add information (rather than commenting).
    – isherwood
    Feb 17, 2020 at 17:50

2 Answers 2


I have had good luck using CitriStrip. It's environmentally friendly and probably safe for your expecting wife. Get the majority of the work done with CitriStrip and then light sanding. It takes some time to do it's work, but it's surprisingly effective. Smells like oranges! If you are interested in this approach I can post additional tips and hints using this.

  • I agree chemical strippers (environmental or not are the way to remove most finishes. Unfortunately they don’t usually pull the color of a stain out. The good part is you want a brown so after striping I would try several different colors on the inside of the doors so if you don’t like it won’t be visible when closed, start light and continue increasing the amount of brown until you have the shade you like. Remember with dark colors a small area may look good but all the cabinets may make the room dark. I usually suggest a slightly lighter color when there is a lot of woodwork to cover.
    – Ed Beal
    Feb 17, 2020 at 18:50

Last summer i refinished a lot of oak flooring using a variety of tools and methods. What we liked best for just stripping were wire mesh screens used with ~18" floor buffers. Compared to sandpaper, they pull the finish off in no time flat. But you can't floor buffer baseboards, or can you?

I've since used my leftover screens on a small handheld polisher/buffer to strip tables and shelves. It would work on baseboard too, no doubt. I cannot overemphasize how quickly this works compared to sandpaper. Even small squares on sanding blocks are quite superior.

Try just buying a floor buffer screen from a big-box in the rental tool section and sticking it on a buffer pad. Do it outside; the dust is insane. If that's not enough, a planer ($$$) will make short work of finish and optionally stain.

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