|Please read the following risks before
you start stripping:
If you are using a product to remove paint, do not breathe
it in or let it have contact with your skin or eyes.
Stripping product can be flammable. Avoid methylene chloride
if you are pregnant, or have heart or lung problems. Use a
water-base stripper if possible. Wear Long sleeves, pants,
safety goggles, rubber gloves, and a respirator. Work in
well-ventilated area, preferably in a garage or even
Dispose of stripper properly. This is an environmental
hazard and must be treated as such.
Try to use furniture refinisher before considering
Always test methods on scrap pieces of wood before trying on
Plug up open screw holes with newspaper.
If hinges are stripped, soak them in stripper for the
suggested time. Repeat if necessary.
Try dip stripping before you buy do-it-yourself stripping
Keep turning the piece of furniture while you are stripping
to prevent dripping or you can use a semi-paste stripper. If
you need to use liquid stripper, try sprinkling some whiting
or sawdust on it. Sawdust works well on open-grain and soft
Place shallow cans such as tuna cans under the legs of
chairs before stripping to catch any dripping that may
Wood shavings or sawdust can be used to help loosen finish
in intricately carved furniture and also will absorb crud.
When working with several coats of paint, cover the
furniture in plastic after applying stripper to help keep
the stripper working longer.
Heat sources like an iron are a great way to help remove
Oven cleaner is also a great form of stripper.
Ammonia is another option for paint which refuses to be
Try these steps before considering stripping:
Mix equal parts of boiled linseed oil and mineral spirits.
Warm mixture and rub it on with a cloth or steel wool.
Remove any dirt and buff with a soft cloth.
Try using refinisher. Lightly brush it on, wait time stated
on refinisher, and rub with steel wool. This will remove
scratches and dirt, repair stains and gouges, and help get a
finish lighter in color than the old one.
Try using a solvent reworking the finish before paying for a
commercial refinishing product.
What kind of stripper do I use?
Moistening a rag and alcohol and rubbing can soften shellac.
Lacquer thinner is also an option.
If neither of these work, you are most likely working with
varnish. Paint removers such as Zip Strip will work well for
hard to remove finishes.
Rubber gloves, respirator mask, goggles. Drop cloth or
newspapers for floor.
Putty knives are often used when stripping furniture.
Rounding the corners of a putty knife can help prevent
scratching in your furniture. Spraying the putty knife with
cooking spray before can help prevent the knife from being
coated with stripper. Plastic spatulas are also a great tool
for scraping. Paint brushes with 1 inch bristles are often
used to remove soften finish in hard to reach areas such as
carvings and grooves. You can use an old paint brush for
Cutting off a small section of a scrub brush and using that
may also work well. A toothbrush or toothpick works well in
hard to get areas.
Removing finish from an old piece of furniture:
1) Apply stripper with paintbrush.
2) Brush on heavy layer going back and forth with the grain
of the wood. Allow time for the stripper to work according
to package directions. The finish will bubble up when it is
ready to be removed.
3) Scrape excess stripper off with a putty knife.
4) Use a brush with brass bristles along edges and corners.
5) For a final removal, use a No. 2 steel wool pad, wiping
with the grain.
6) Clean out sludge in carvings and grooves scraping lightly
with a scratch awl. You can also use an old toothbrush to
get into grooves.
7) To neutralize the stripping chemical, rub the entire
piece with No.00 steel wool dipped in mineral spirits. Rinse
the pad often in the mineral spirits. Never use water, as it
will raise the grain of the wood. Wipe over the entire piece
with a clean dry cloth.
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