Soda Blasting Equipment

Soda Blasting Case Study: Eco-Friendly Furniture Refinishing

Eco-Friendly Furniture Refinishing Soda Blasted


(Solid Mahogany Podium – soda blasted with ACE Model 2-PS Soda Blaster- total time 35 minutes – Picture courtesy of High Grade Finishing / Ainsworth Antiques, Enfield, CT)

A few weeks ago, I got a phone call from Russell at High Grade Finishing / Ainsworth Antiques in Enfield, Connecticut. Russell had heard about soda blasting machines and wondered if it would be applicable for stripping antique wooden furniture. He had grown tired of using chemical strippers or farming out the stripping, and dealing with inconsistent results and timeframes.

Russell is a very thorough person, and he wanted to be sure that the soda blasting equipment would do what he wanted it to do. I recommended that he use the ACE Model 2-PS Heavy Duty Portable Soda Blaster with a fan tip nozzle for the best results. After a number of phone conversations and emails, he decided to give it a shot. With his permission, I want to share the emails and pictures that he sent me about the results. It’s fair to say he was very happy!

In this case study we’ll look at a step by step guide on how you can use soda blasting equipment to strip back furniture quickly and gently to restore it to its previous glory, as wel las some of the results Russel managed to achieve with his furniture.

Step 1 - Prepare the furniture

One of the beautiful aspects of soda blasting equipment for restoring furniture is you have to do very little preparation. The soda blasting machine is effective at removing all types of paint, stain, oil, dirt, and grime that might be present on a piece of furniture without causing damage to the underlying material.

While soda blasting equipment produces much less media after use than other techniques such as sandblasting you can still expect some level of mess to clean up afterwards! This is typically a dust/powder as the soda crystals are shattered during the soda blasting process.

The most important task is to find an area to work in that is easy to clean afterwards. Many people use a driveway or yard to set up the furniture for soda blasting but it can be used indoors in a garage or workshop too.

Step 2 - Soda blasting the furniture

Lots of antique furniture will have rounded shapes, corners, fine detailing, and be awkward to restore completely with traditional methods such as hand sanding. Soda blasting machines are also quicker and gentler than most other options including chemical strippers.

A soda blasting machine is able to get the stain, paint and any other coverings off even in small areas, or intricate carving such as on an ornate table leg.

You may need to experiment with the pressure setting on your soda blasting equipment to find the optimum power to restore the furniture depending on what coating has been used. We would also suggest finding the right nozzle to achieve optimum results when stripping furniture such as a fan tip nozzle.

The good news is soda blasting media is gentle and won’t damage the wood, metal or other materials you are trying to restore. Soda blasting machines allow you to work efficiently and can deal with small tricky areas much quicker than when using hand tools. Russell found this out for himself the first time he tested our Soda Blasting equipment.

“Yesterday we used the ACE soda blaster for the first time ever. The results were overwhelmingly great. We stripped off old varnish and lacquers on 9 separate items. I timed each item to the minute. The 9 items were completed in just 99 total minutes on just 1 -50 lb. bag of maintenance flow soda. Below I have posted just a few of the items with strip times. Every item came out smooth and spotless leaving much less sanding to do, unlike chemical stripping.”


Eco-Friendly Furniture Refinishing using Soda Blasting  Eco-Friendly Furniture Refinishing using Soda Blasting


Eco-Friendly Furniture Refinishing using Soda Blasting  Eco-Friendly Furniture Refinishing using Soda Blasting


“Platform rocker whole chair stripped in 5 minutes, top has burl walnut veneer no damage at all. It stripped all the detailed areas instantly much quicker than chemical stripping.  This machine is going to save us a fortune. We used to farm out a large portion of the stripping. We no longer have to do so, nor do we have to rely on other vendors to do an adequate job.”

Eco-Friendly Furniture Refinishing using Soda Blasting Eco-Friendly Furniture Refinishing using Soda Blasting Eco-Friendly Furniture Refinishing using Soda Blasting

Step 3 - Clean up and refinish

As you can see from Russell’s testimony and the images - the results of soda blasting are fantastic and the speed and efficiency of the process make it perfect for professionals or amateurs who love to restore old furniture.

Once the furniture has been stripped, it is required to remove the blast media dust particles from the furniture itself and gather up any dust from the surrounding area such as the pavement or driveway. As mentioned, because soda blasting equipment only produces a small amount of waste media it is pretty quick and painless to clear up after blasting your furniture.

Once complete you will have the beautiful original material of the furniture on display and you will have the choice to refinish however you like to get the desired final result - with paint, varnish or any other technique you can imagine.

Where to buy Soda Blasting Machines

Soda blasting machines are worth the investment if you are a professional furniture restorer or if you are a keen hobbyist who loves to work on furniture restoration projects. ACE has a number of excellent options for your soda blasting equipment needs so if you are looking for the best place to buy soda blasting machines - look no further!

For example the Heavy Duty Portable Soda Blaster Model 2-PS has heavy duty ASME construction and is still low in price. The adjustable pressure regulator allows the operator to blast at low pressure for sensitive jobs or at high pressure for tough applications.

The ACE SODA PLUS the ideal soda blasting solution for small workshops, garages or factories where floor space is a consideration. The 10 lbs capacity media tank allows 15-30 minutes of continuous soda blasting. Refilling the tank is quick and simple. A heavy duty work deck, generous arm hole openings and fluorescent lighting make the ACE SODA PLUS a comfortable work experience with superb visibility for the operator. To buy soda blasting equipment or soda blast media from ACE check out our soda blasting machinery page here.

All of our products use environmentally friendly soda blast media too so you can restore your furniture without causing damage to the environment.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and Russell’s photos show the true beauty of soda blasting equipment. Soda blasting really is one of the most exciting, environmentally friendly cleaning processes available today. We are all put here on this planet for a short time, so let’s make the best of it and help preserve it for future generations.