How to Sand Furniture By Hand: A Complete Guide

If you’re looking to bring new life to your old furniture, knowing how to sand furniture by hand is a crucial skill. This detailed guide will walk you through every step to achieve a perfectly smooth finish, even if you’re a complete beginner.

How to Sand Furniture By Hand
From by Anna Tarazevich

Why Sand Furniture By Hand?

Sanding furniture by hand allows for precise control, getting into those hard-to-reach corners where electric sanders can’t. Plus, it’s cost-effective and can be a meditative process if done correctly.

How to Sand Furniture By Hand: What You Will Need

Step 1: Safety Precautions

Before you begin, put on your dust mask, protective gloves, and eye protection to ensure your safety.

Step 2: Remove Hardware and Clean the Surface

Remove any hardware such as knobs or handles from the furniture. Then, clean the surface using a damp rag to remove any dust or debris.

Step 3: Choose the Right Sandpaper

Start with a coarse-grit sandpaper, like 60 or 100-grit, for removing paint or varnish. You’ll progress to finer grits as you go.

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Step 4: Start Sanding

Wrap your coarse-grit sandpaper around a sanding block or pad. Use firm, even strokes to sand the surface. Always sand in the direction of the wood grain to avoid scratches.

Step 5: Check Your Progress

Periodically wipe the surface with a tack cloth or damp rag to remove dust. This will help you see any areas that need more attention.

Step 6: Progress to Finer Grits

Once you’ve removed the old finish or paint and achieved a smooth surface, switch to a finer grit like 150 or 220. Repeat the sanding process.

Step 7: Final Cleanup

Wipe down the furniture one final time with a tack cloth to remove any remaining dust.

Step 8: Apply Finish or Paint (Optional)

If you’re planning to paint or stain the furniture, now is the time. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.

For more articles on sanding, click here: Sanding: Your Full-Circle Guide to Smooth Mastery


Learning how to sand furniture by hand is an invaluable skill for any DIY enthusiast. With patience and the right tools, you can transform any piece of furniture into something beautiful.

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