You've successfully subscribed to Lived-In Style Magazine : Vintage Inspiration from Ki Nassauer
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access to Lived-In Style Magazine : Vintage Inspiration from Ki Nassauer
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.
Success! Your billing info is updated.
Billing info update failed.
Refinishers' Tool Kit

Refinishers' Tool Kit

The Lived-In Style staff isn't afraid to get down and dirty with DIY, thanks to an arsenal of the best products to clean, refresh, and refinish good old junk.

Lived-In Style

What do you get when you cross an old grain separator and some clean-it-like-you-mean-it gear? Well, toss in some finish and you've got a brand-new bar! And we bet you have a great grimy piece or two that's just waiting to blossom, so we wanted to share our favorite tools to help you get the job done. Ready, set, refinish!

Before and after image of fanning mill turned into a bar cart.
Photo: Adam Albright
  1. Original Krud Kutter Cleaner/Degreaser. This biodegradable liquid removes grease, oil, wax, tree sap, and more from all sorts of surfaces. The Lived-In Style team used Krud Kutter to clean the grungy old wood fanning mill that was a piece of farm equipment used to separate grain from straw and dirt. The mill's new destiny: a funky new bar cart.
  2. Disposable Blue Shop Towels. Heavy-duty blue shop towels are super-absorbent and less likely to rip than regular paper towels, which is key when working with degreasers or strippers. We believe they should be a staple for anyone who works with junk. Try Scott Shop Towels.
  3. Oxalic Acid. Ki uses extreme care when working with this chemical, which removes black marks that are left behind when metal oxidizes on wood. "When you can't sand deep enough to remove stains, bleach out the stains with oxalic acid," Ki says. Be sure to read and follow all safety instructions.
  4. Disposable Blue Nitrile Gloves. Mechanics often don nitrile gloves , which are stronger than white latex gloves and won't disintegrate when working with stains and strong cleaners.
  5. Goo Gone Original. This liquid cleaner is good for greasy things; on this old fanning mill, we used it to clean up the gears and other slippery parts.
  6. Bestine Solvent & Thinner. Ki keeps this liquid on hand to remove gummy, sticky residue. She likes that it's not oily, but it can only be used on hard surfaces such as metal and glass, not on wood.
  7. Rust-Oleum Hammered Spray Paint. For quick makeovers, this textured spray paint gets two thumbs up from Ki. "It has a design-quality finish," she says, having recently used it to redo a metal table for her daughter. "It adds a slight texture to a surface, so if whatever you're spraying isn't perfectly smooth, it makes it look better, not worse." Her favorite color: Dark Bronze.
  8. Minwax Polyurethane. Polyurethane in clear satin adds a sealant coat with a hint of shine.
  9. Howard Feed-N-Wax Wood Polish & Conditioner. "It brightens dry wood and brings out the grain," Ki says. "I've used it for years."

*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.