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Stripping Furniture

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 outside.
Dispose of stripper properly. This is an environmental hazard and must be treated as such.

Try to use furniture refinisher before considering stripping.

Always test methods on scrap pieces of wood before trying on furniture.
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 supplies.

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 woods.

Place shallow cans such as tuna cans under the legs of chairs before stripping to catch any dripping that may occur.

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 buildup.
Oven cleaner is also a great form of stripper.

Ammonia is another option for paint which refuses to be stripped.

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 this.
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.

Paint Remover
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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