Stripping old wooden furniture

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Forum topic by Delengowski posted 09-06-2012 07:21 AM 3122 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Delengowski's profile


1 post in 2284 days

09-06-2012 07:21 AM

Okay I’m stripping the paint off of my sisters furniture in her room(was once our grandmothers) the plan is to strip the paint, sand off of the old the lacquer with a coarse then hit it up with a very fine sand paper before painting it. This is my first time ever doing a project like this, I have painted, sanded, but never stripped before. currently this is my project



I still have bits of paint everywhere, but what really brings me here is the paint smearing thats all over


Now I have a lot of left of residue from the paint stripper; should I just wipe that way with a cloth? I bought mineral spirits and steel wool (medium) but I don’t think I’ll need it. And that paint smearing can I just sand that off when I do the lacquer?


11 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


17421 posts in 3028 days

#1 posted 09-06-2012 10:05 AM

Id try using a card scraper on the flat surfaces. Much easier than sanding. Restoring amd strpping furniture is a tough job requiring a ton of patience. It a gorgeous piece of furniture tgat youre bringing back to glory. Good luck

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3766 days

#2 posted 09-06-2012 11:18 AM

For future reference, a heat gun and putty knife and/or small wire brush works really well for removing the bulk of the paint. Then you just have to use stripper to get the paint from the areas that you can’t get to with the putty knife or wire brush.

View lunn's profile


215 posts in 2330 days

#3 posted 09-06-2012 11:28 AM

Try Kutzit brand remover it’s liquid. I hate the gells. At this stage your at now. Use a small paint brush and apply stripper let it set a few mins. dip the brush again and scrub the area and wipe off. Only do a small area at a time abt. 8”x8” Keep the stripper clean never pour more than it takes for the area. For the detail areas keep applying till most of it is gone. Then i use a small soft brass brush. When all the paint/finish is gone pour the stripper onto 0000 steel wool and give it a good washing that will remove the rest of the resadue Never Never sand. If you sand even a small spot it will stick out like a sore thumb. Patience is the best tool for the job.

-- What started as a hobbie is now a full time JOB!

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2536 days

#4 posted 09-06-2012 03:19 PM

I partially agree with lunn. I LOVE the gels, and make sure your paint stripper has methylene chloride in it. Put on a small area, as lunn says, let it sit, scrap it to the next area, let it sit, and keep repeating until you realize the paint stripper finally is stopping, then remove and put on a new batch. It is amazing how many times you can move it and it still works.
In the pictures, it is obvious the paint remover took off the thinner coats of paint, but you also got into the lacquer in areas. A gel will sit, has a really slow evaporation rate, and does the job much better than a liquid.

Finally, people hate this, but hopefully you are outside, because I would wash with lacquer thinner. It will cut through both the stripper, any remaining lacquer, and give you a nice wood finish. You can put it liberally on a t-shirt and wipe, and it should remove the remaining finishes, or use steel wool as a wiper.
Lunn is right when he says never sand. Also, the 0000 steel wool can be used when doing the lacquer thinner wash-off. No water, please…it will raise grain and possibly ruin the wood.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3307 days

#5 posted 09-06-2012 04:41 PM

To answer your question about smeared paint left over after you do the stripping I have to agree with lunn about using Kutzit liquid stripper to wash off the last of any paint and lacquer. I like the gells to start with if the paint is really thick, but I have better luck cleaning out the final details with the licquid stripper and some steel wool. Keep the stripper clean and it will do a great job getting rid of the smeared paint and lacquer. Wipe off excess with rag. You do want to wash down the project with something like lacquer thinner or acetone to remove all residue. All strippers have wax in it to help reduce the drying time, so you really want to wash off all residue before you apply a new finish (especially if you are going back with a clear finish like lacquer. Lacquer hates wax and will react instantly if there is any wax left.) You shouldn’t have to be as careful since you plan on repainting your project.

-- John @

View kattygomes's profile


1 post in 2033 days

#6 posted 11-22-2012 11:22 AM

Yes.. A card scraper is the best option for cleaning the surface of furniture. It cleans the spots of old paint very easily. But always remember that never use the scraper too hardly otherwise it can harm the surface of furniture.


View dhazelton's profile


2771 posts in 2318 days

#7 posted 11-22-2012 02:05 PM

Heat guns are fine for thick paint removal IF you don’t care about the inevitable scorch. Carbide blade in a paint scraper or paste stripper to get the heavier stuff off (remove with wide putty knife) followed by rubbing with fine steel wool dipped in a pan or time can of the liguid stripper, sometimes called ‘After-wash” on the can. Since you are repainting you don’t need to worry about a little residue left in the pores. You’ll get to a point where a quarter sheet or third sheet electric sander will take over, starting with 150 or 220 grit paper depending on how much paint is still left behind.

View JAAune's profile


1801 posts in 2338 days

#8 posted 11-22-2012 07:24 PM

I generally use semi-paste stripper to do the heavy work but prefer a liquid stripper for the end where I use a stiff floor scrubbing brush to clean off the surface. A scraper is great for flat surfaces.

After stripping, everything gets washed successively using green Scotch Brite and mineral spirits, lacquer thinner and alcohol.

Sometimes I will sand and scrape afterwards but if I’m trying to keep the patina all the cleaning has to be done with stripper and solvents.

-- See my work at and

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2308 days

#9 posted 11-22-2012 08:33 PM

I’d throw some 40 grit on a ROS and make that job on the surface take about 5 minutes to a beautiful bare wood. A mouse with 60 grit will get the rest (second pic) but don’t push too hard.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View dhazelton's profile


2771 posts in 2318 days

#10 posted 11-22-2012 11:03 PM

That dresser is veneer – don’t use 40 grit. 40 grit is for floors.

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2308 days

#11 posted 11-22-2012 11:10 PM

Ah, didn’t know it was veneer.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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