Patina is an aged look that occurs in wood naturally over time, usually due to the stain or finish that was used. Removing the patina usually involves the use of chemical strippers which can be purchased commercially or mixed from a combination of solvents. These break down and soften the finish so it can be removed more easily. Sandpaper removes the rough look of the wood and any remaining patina to prepare the wood for refinishing.
Move the wooden object outdoors or into a well-ventilated area, if possible. Open any doors or windows and turn on an exhaust fan if you're working indoors. Lay a drop cloth to protect the surfaces on which you will not be working.
Clean the wood thoroughly, using a cloth dampened with turpentine. This is necessary to remove any old wax or polish that was previously applied to the wood.
Apply a paint and varnish remover. Alternatively, apply a combination of equal parts denatured alcohol and paint thinner to the wood, using a paintbrush. Work on one small area at a time. Allow it to sit until it softens the finish.
Scrub the softened finish to work the stripper into the wood, using 00 steel wool for hardwood; 000 for soft wood. Alternatively, use a scraper. Wipe the wood quickly with a cloth before the finish dries. Repeat this process until all of the finish is removed.
Wipe the wood with a clean, damp cloth. Allow it to dry.
Sand the wood in the direction of the woodgrain to remove any remaining finish or rough spots in the wood, using 120-grit sandpaper. Smooth the wood with 220-grit sandpaper, working in the direction of the woodgrain.
Wipe off any dust from sanding, using a damp cloth. Allow the wood to dry completely.