Looking for a better way to strip old paint off wood

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Forum topic by Michele Rome posted 07-31-2009 03:48 PM 2229 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Michele Rome

5 posts in 3425 days

07-31-2009 03:48 PM

Topic tags/keywords: trick question

Hi Lumberjocks,
I am new to this so this will be my first entry. Thanks for all the welcome comments. I am just getting started in the biz of Restoring antiques and vintage items. I have a store, where I ONLY sell things made int he USA. Love good craftsmanship..Alot of vintage and Antique things I get are painted and painted with coats of acrylic then oil base paint. Sometimes stripping it with chemicals is too lengthey of a process. I don’t have alot of patience, someone mentioned to me that wood pieces can be blasted with walnut shells, like sandblasting? Does anyone know about this process or where I would find info on the machine etc. OR do you have any great tips about stripping wood. Like I said I am new at this, right now I am using stripping and sanding. One chair took me about 3 hours.
Thanks, Michele

-- Michele, New Jersey,

7 replies so far

View RangerPMac's profile


18 posts in 3434 days

#1 posted 07-31-2009 04:35 PM

I hope you don’t mind my “watching” this thread, as my wife has a kidney shaped dressing table she bought for $100 at a yard sale several years back. It is very ornate with a ton of trim detail. It has been heavily painted over the years and she has asked that I try and refinish it for her. I have been a bit hesitant not knowing what we would find underneath all of the old chipped paint. It does have dovetailed drawers and I also found an ink stamp of Drexel 1964 on the bottom of the table. I’m not sure if this is the date of manufacture or something else.

I look forward to watching and learning!

Oh and the chair is in even rougher shape! :)

-- Patrick - Katy, Texas

View PurpLev's profile


8547 posts in 3851 days

#2 posted 07-31-2009 04:51 PM

I think the chemical stripping solution might be the easiest and safest way about it. esp. when you work on antiques with curves and profiles…. it IS however a time consuming process to clean those up. just let the chemical sit for a couple of hours and do it’s thing, then come back and wipe off with a rag, and clean up the profiles carefully.

Frank Klauz had a good demonstration of this on his DVD about “Finishing” from Finewoodworking.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Michele Rome's profile

Michele Rome

5 posts in 3425 days

#3 posted 07-31-2009 07:05 PM

To Ranger P Mac.
Lots of times there is veneer on the older pieces it sounds like your piece is vintage, the veneer flakes and then since its hard to repair. People sand it alittle and throw paint at it. Strip it with chemical and see whats underneath, wood or veneer and then take it from there. Anything wood can be sanded back to its original finish, Veneer, well thats another story.

-- Michele, New Jersey,

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3947 days

#4 posted 07-31-2009 08:18 PM

Heat guns work rather quickly on flat and router profiled surfaces. Heat and scrap at the same time with a putty knife. Uneven surfaces, heat and use a wire brush to remove the finish. Veneers may lift, so you’ll want to check a small area first. Ornate areas you’ll have to use some chemical stripper to get the finish out.

View pommy's profile


1697 posts in 3894 days

#5 posted 07-31-2009 08:34 PM

I use costic soda but you have to be very very carefull when using it i have it in crystal form which i dilute to a paste

Tenontim : heat guns are ok but if your not careful you can burn your wood and it is hard to get the burn mark out and as you pointed out veneers do lift as well and you couldn’t get the veneer back you have ruined your project



-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

View woodman71's profile


162 posts in 3527 days

#6 posted 08-02-2009 12:30 AM

Hello Michele as far as blasting it with walnut shell they use this in the auto industry like in auto body shop.They do this to remove paint from cars and because the metal is thinner than in the past it works great and is a lot less hard on the metal compare to sandblasting and it call media blasting there are diffident mixer of this. I would suggest if you would like to try to have this done look up media blasting in your area and ask them if they think it would work I myself work in the auto collision industry and never thought of this working on wood it a good question and if I ever had to restore a piece i will give it try I also like to say that media blasting and sand blasting are two diffident thinks so make sure if you look in to this it media blasting you want. hope this helps.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5128 posts in 4163 days

#7 posted 08-02-2009 11:23 PM

Methelene chloride gel stripper is nasty stuff, requires good chemical worker’s gloves, seriously good safety goggles, adequate ventilation (as in outdoors), and works well. Even after stripping, a great deal of scraping is usually necessary. Media blasting is gonna be an expensive process if you’re going to invest in equipment.
Refinishing/restoration is a learned skill, so take your time. If you get in a hurry…...well, kiss that project profit bye bye.


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