Refinishing Furniture - Learning As You Go

This week I started a new project.  I want to make unique organizational pieces by refinishing and re-imagining vintage furniture.  The immediate endeavor involves a credenza and two bedside tables.  I love mid-century modern furniture and its clean lines make for a great first attempt.  

I started by watching some videos on YouTube.  Seemed easy enough.  Turned out there were some tricks that were not revealed in the video that I had to learn the hard way.

1.  Longer is NOT better for paint stripper.  The package says to "leave stripper on the paint 15 minute or longer if needed".  I assumed the longer the better so I carefully applied stripper to my entire project.  Actually, you are much better off to goop, even pour the stripper onto a single surface and take it off nearly immediately.  

2. The sandpaper that comes with a sander is NOT for actual use.   It doesn't work at all.  When I attempted to return my "useless" sander, the nice man at Home Depot clued me in on this tip and I returned with "real" sand paper and the difference was magic.

3. The process of sanding and thereby transforming dirty, dented, still paint stained wood to its original condition is soothing and very rewarding.

I have now finished sanding the credenza, all 11 drawers, two doors and two bedside tables.  I have chosen the stain and the paint and next week, will get to the "fun part."