Removing old finish

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Forum topic by Brohymn62 posted 04-27-2012 02:19 PM 1429 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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125 posts in 1343 days

04-27-2012 02:19 PM

What are some good ways to remove old finishes, particularly layers of paint?

-- Chris G. ; Los Angeles, CA

14 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


13581 posts in 2094 days

#1 posted 04-27-2012 02:22 PM

Id reach for the card scraper to remove paint. If you could run it through a planer that owuld be even better … watch out for lead and wear a mask.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View Durnik150's profile


647 posts in 2409 days

#2 posted 04-27-2012 02:26 PM

There are several commercial paint strippers out on the market and I have a little experience with the Star 10 products. The paste version works very well.

However, like Chris said, if you can get to a planer it will be faster and easier since the paints sit on top of the wood.

-- Behind the Bark is a lot of Heartwood----Charles, Centennial, CO

View Brohymn62's profile


125 posts in 1343 days

#3 posted 04-27-2012 02:31 PM

I’ve heard several issues about paint prematurely dulling planner knives, myth or should I use my dull blades which I’ve been “postponing” sharpening?

-- Chris G. ; Los Angeles, CA

View willie's profile


523 posts in 1542 days

#4 posted 04-27-2012 05:10 PM

I ran a boatload of painted wormy chestnut through my planer and it really took a toll on the blades. They were new before this and dulled quickly. If your “dull” blades will still cut, I’d run the painted boards through just to clean off most of the paint then sharpen the blades and run them again to final thickness. You’ll get a clean cut and not tear up your sharp blades. A card scraper will work too and I would rather try one of these ways before I use chemical strippers. Chemicals work but can be hazardous and usually make a big mess and more work.

-- Every day above ground is a good day!!!

View SignWave's profile


196 posts in 2122 days

#5 posted 04-27-2012 05:18 PM

Citristrip works well for paint and is not as noxious as other chemical strippers.

-- Barry,

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Bill White

4018 posts in 3048 days

#6 posted 04-27-2012 05:37 PM

Listen to SignWave. I’m finshing a project that has required stripping. I’ve used a heat gun and scraper for flat surfaces. Tried some methylene chloride on detail stuff. What a mess. Went to Citristrip for other details. BIG difference.
I’m not runnin’ paint thru my planer.


View dbray45's profile


2990 posts in 1864 days

#7 posted 04-27-2012 06:11 PM

Depending upon the piece (especially if it was painted) – I make a new piece and replace it – costs less, takes less time, makes less mess, pays better.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View Tennessee's profile


2007 posts in 1602 days

#8 posted 04-27-2012 06:38 PM

For years I used UGL Zar Paint Stripper. Can take off up to 4 coats of paint at a time, just keep pushing a small amount around the surface until it gets too thick to push. Very economical, water wash-off, (I always used lacquer thinner instead with a good mask), and makes it easy to get into those tight spots. I think they still make it.

-- Paul, Tennessee,

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10850 posts in 2202 days

#9 posted 04-27-2012 09:04 PM

heatgun and scraber if its an oilpaint
the oilpaint bobles up and then the scraper takes over while the paint still is hot
but try it on a place that can´t bee seen
for deatails like ogees and stuff like that I make a scraper that have the same form
sounds like a lot of exstra work but in the end it pays of since the job is done faster and better
if its a waterbased paint I usealy just need to sand the surface a little so a new layer of paint
bind to the surface


View dhazelton's profile


1732 posts in 1384 days

#10 posted 04-27-2012 10:07 PM

Are you stripping and staining/varnishing after? Re-painting? Heat gun or propane torch with a putty knife will remove multiple layers of paint quickly. If there is a thin layer the heat will more likely burn the wood, so a liquid stripper and fine steel wool will work better. A paste stripper will work on thicker layers as well. Need to know a bit more.

View bodymanbob's profile


36 posts in 2151 days

#11 posted 04-27-2012 11:17 PM

i9f you use paint stripper, after you put the stripper on the wood cover it with a plastic sheet. So air can’t get to the work. This way gives you a lot more time for the stripper to work on the old paint. But there is steel a big mess to clean up.

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Clint Searl

1517 posts in 1448 days

#12 posted 04-27-2012 11:47 PM

Either Ciitristrip or a methylene chloride based stripper will do the job without marring the wood.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View a1Jim's profile


113822 posts in 2664 days

#13 posted 04-27-2012 11:56 PM

I second the issue of lead paint even after being a contractor for 25 years I had know Idea how serious of a problem can be around children and adults until I took a course regarding lead paint. If in doubt I would use a paint stripper and treat the paint you remove like it’s toxic waste, because it is ,even a small amount can cause very serious health problems.

-- Custom furniture

View gfadvm's profile


13928 posts in 1777 days

#14 posted 04-28-2012 02:04 AM

A heat gun and a paint scraper work pretty well. I usually use my drum sander with 50 grit paper but it will gunk up your paper if you have a lot to do. Paint will really dull planer blades quickly. I would use the planer only if the blades were already for resharpening. I agree that lead is a real concern but I think you can get an inexpensive test kit to answer this question. My dust collector captures virtually ALL of the dust from my drum sander so I’m not too worried.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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