Homemade ventilation *Chemical stripper*

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Forum topic by Hoosier1989 posted 03-02-2016 03:45 PM 767 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 810 days

03-02-2016 03:45 PM

Topic tags/keywords: stripping refinishing ventilation oil

I have work to do on a new project of stripping and refinishing 40 quarter sawn Oak butcher block tables. The tables are coated in a thick nasty coat of poly. The tables are sticky and gross. Napkins, menus and pizza pans stick to the old finish. I’m using a Sam maloof type of finish 2 coats of a base coat and 2 coats of a top coat. Those ratios 1/3,1/3,1/3 base coat. Top coat is almost half mineral spirits, satin oil poly with a dash of BLO. Ok so I’m new with chemical stripper and I’m working in a garage. I under estimated how toxic this stuff is. Problem is ventilation I’m using 4 box fans under my garage door now. I’m trying to limit exposed to the stuff. Other problem is shop temp and poly remnants left after stripper. What I have been doing is keep the shop at 70-75 throw the stripper on quick then get out. Wait 15 minutes and come back and open up the garage doors and run fans full blast. I’m wondering what is the best to wash with. Lacquer thiner with steel wool or mineral with steel wool. I’m trying to get all the remnants out in one swipe or would I be better just jumping to sanding after stripping majority of finish off. I’d like some input and idea from you. First photo is lacquer thinner steel wool washs. 2nd is finish pre strip. Ink from a menu in the finish. 3rd mineral spirits steelwool wash.


-- cashcow, Indiana

10 replies so far

View ChrisK's profile


1959 posts in 3075 days

#1 posted 03-02-2016 04:10 PM

Have you looked into self contained breathing apparatus like firemen wear?

-- Chris K

View bbasiaga's profile


1231 posts in 1989 days

#2 posted 03-02-2016 05:12 PM

Hi from a fellow Hoosier.

A respirator from Home Depot or Lowes with Organic Vapor/Acid Gas Cartridges will help a lot. But have you considered non chemical stripping? A scraper plane could do it. Even a belt sander, though with that you’ll need to be more careful about keeping it flat. Just set the thing up in your driveway, and scrape away. No fumes. Just dust, which IMO is better.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View Hoosier1989's profile


4 posts in 810 days

#3 posted 03-02-2016 05:22 PM

I do wear a respirator and goggles. I am doing one table at a time and put the stripper on as quick as I can then get out of my garage. When I come back I open the garage door and start scraping the finish off. My new home made ventilation is working surprising well. Now ventilation is taken care of the heat thing is bout only thing to worry about.

-- cashcow, Indiana

View hotbyte's profile


991 posts in 2969 days

#4 posted 03-02-2016 05:28 PM

Sounds like a major chore! Be careful!

Brian’s idea of a scraper might let you minimize chemical usage.

View JAAune's profile


1797 posts in 2310 days

#5 posted 03-02-2016 05:34 PM

Organic vapor respirators quickly fail with exposure methylene chloride fumes. You need an external, air-supplied mask and pump or extremely effective ventilation to work indoors.

Is the stripper non-flammable? If so, it’s probably methylene chloride. Once you’ve got the ventilation, that’s the best stuff to use since it’s effective and doesn’t pose a fire hazard. It is a major health hazard though and is the culprit behind those deaths that occur when people are refinishing bathtubs.

Simplest solution is to work outdoors. Just setup in a shaded area. Direct sunlight evaporates the stripper too quickly.

-- See my work at and

View daddywoofdawg's profile


1028 posts in 1569 days

#6 posted 03-02-2016 10:15 PM

View davezedlee's profile


28 posts in 818 days

#7 posted 03-03-2016 12:02 AM

stripper fumes are heavier than air, so i would keep your garage door setup the same way, but move the tables closer to the door, and have the fans BEHIND you (still on the floor), gently blowing the fumes out the door

that way you don’t have to leave

to get rid of those residues, scrape off as much as you can, then flood the surface with stripper and use a plastic 3M stripping pad or scrub brush to “float” any remaining finish into the stripper flood

that should get ALL of it

View shipwright's profile


7979 posts in 2792 days

#8 posted 03-03-2016 12:27 AM

You can make your own fresh air supply very easily and at a fraction of the cost of commercial ones.
This should really work well for you.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View Grumpymike's profile


2238 posts in 2309 days

#9 posted 03-03-2016 12:31 AM

Hmmm, you are moving somewhere around 134 cu. ft. of air out of your garage with your fans … how do you replace the exhausted air …
For my two cents, I’d investigate another stripper. I have used in the past a low odor stripper that worked very well.
Lets see now, you are venting out of your garage into your neighbors yard, man I bet they like that.
You need a spray booth like they use for painting cars, with the proper filters and venting.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View skatefriday's profile


416 posts in 1476 days

#10 posted 03-03-2016 04:12 AM

get one of these.

- daddywoofdawg

Do not get one of those. Organic vapor cartridges are not effective against
stripping solvents. JAAUne knows what he’s speaking of. You need a fresh air

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