Best way to remove old paint from Oak?

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Forum topic by MJinCA posted 06-27-2016 08:17 PM 620 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 872 days

06-27-2016 08:17 PM

Topic tags/keywords: oak planer jointer sander milling joining sanding refurbishing

Hi all, new to these postings but a longtime reader. So many good tips and information…a good kind of overload!

My neighbor is remodeling his house and is letting me remove his old oak floors…house was built in the 50’s. They are 1/4” thick, 2” wide and most of the pieces are 12’-14’ (!!) long. There will be a lot of nail holes to fill, but those details add character, right?

Only problem is while the lumber is good on one side (a 1/32 pass through the planer did the job) the other side—which were originally facing up which in the house—is painted. In some places, it’s quite thick. What is the best way to remove this paint? USe my planer – thought about this but don’t want to ruin the new blades? Use a powered hand planer? Some other way?

Not all pieces will be used like this, but I do want some S4S oak to use. Any thoughts/feedback appreciated. Thanks!


8 replies so far

View splatman's profile


586 posts in 1573 days

#1 posted 06-27-2016 08:57 PM

Floor finish will dull planer knives in a hurry. A powered hand planer would fare1 no better. A drum sander would be the way to go. If you don’t have one, and you wish not to buy one or cannot afford even a used one, use a belt sander.

A Shelix planer head (in case anyone asks) would last not much longer. Learned that the hard way.

[1] Is it fare or fair? Don’t know.

View diverlloyd's profile


3180 posts in 2031 days

#2 posted 06-27-2016 09:06 PM

I have a buddy that refinishes furniture and he swears by a heat gun then some sanding

View bbasiaga's profile


1240 posts in 2169 days

#3 posted 06-27-2016 11:04 PM

Unless you want to do a chemical stripper….which is really bad for you….so I would say don’t.

You could get yourself a scraping plane, or card scraper and holder and try that. Lots of manual labor though.


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

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1627 days

#4 posted 06-27-2016 11:13 PM


How old is the paint? Older than the 70’s? Yes? Now you have a lead paint abatement issue.

However you do it, you MUST capture the chips / dust as HAZMAT. Put down painters drop clothes. You might also want to contact the locals about disposal requirements.

Wear a mask.


-- Madmark -

View TheFridge's profile


10500 posts in 1660 days

#5 posted 06-27-2016 11:30 PM

For once he might have a good point.

Get a lead paint sample tester. Relatively cheap.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View MJinCA's profile


3 posts in 872 days

#6 posted 06-29-2016 05:01 PM

Thanks all. I don’t the paint is older than the 70’s, but who knows. A lead paint test will be useful.

View gargey's profile


1013 posts in 950 days

#7 posted 06-29-2016 05:13 PM

What are you going to do with a pile of 1/4” thick (or less) oak with nail holes? Doesn’t sound worth the effort to me.

View MJinCA's profile


3 posts in 872 days

#8 posted 06-29-2016 05:32 PM

I don’t mind the nail holes. Yes, it’s only 1/4” thick, but if the oak was reclaimed 1” thick x 6” wide x 12’ long planks I’d feel the same way. For one thing, my home is finished with the same flooring, so I can tear out the crap linoleum in my kitchen and put down oak floors.

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