Removing old finish

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Forum topic by Brohymn62 posted 856 days ago 1123 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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120 posts in 891 days

856 days ago

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


10705 posts in 1642 days

#1 posted 856 days ago

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 1957 days

#2 posted 856 days ago

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


120 posts in 891 days

#3 posted 856 days ago

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


464 posts in 1090 days

#4 posted 856 days ago

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


135 posts in 1671 days

#5 posted 856 days ago

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

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3422 posts in 2596 days

#6 posted 856 days ago

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


2488 posts in 1412 days

#7 posted 856 days ago

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


1447 posts in 1150 days

#8 posted 856 days ago

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 1751 days

#9 posted 856 days ago

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


1173 posts in 932 days

#10 posted 856 days ago

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 1700 days

#11 posted 856 days ago

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.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1431 posts in 997 days

#12 posted 856 days ago

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

-- Clint Searl.............We deserve what we tolerate

View a1Jim's profile


112026 posts in 2213 days

#13 posted 856 days ago

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


10755 posts in 1326 days

#14 posted 856 days ago

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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