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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    2

    Default stripping "milk paint" from woodwork

    I live in a Civil War home built in 1864. The woodwork is poplar and oak. On it is what I am told is called "milk paint" and several layers of it. What is a good product to use to get this horrible stuff off. Thank you.

    P.S. I plan on varnishing, not repainting. The products I have found say for use when planning to repaint.
    Last edited by CJKeith; 12-10-2011 at 03:51 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    975

    Default Re: stripping "milk paint" from woodwork

    Hi,
    The problem is that the stripper chemicals required to break down the milk protein binder also change the color of many wood species.
    Ammonia and Peel-away (original formula) work great on milk paint. Ammonia turns oak a grayish brown, and Peel-away1 will turn pine green and oak a nice nut-brown. I think you are pretty much okay with either one on the poplar, though. Ammonia (use clear ammonia without added detergent) will simply evaporate, but Peel-away has to be neutralized. Good luck.
    Casey
    Remove not the ancient landmark, which your fathers have set.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: stripping "milk paint" from woodwork

    Bear with my questions, please. So if I use the peel away....are you saying it works good? If I neutralize the peal away...........how do I do that? Thank you for your time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,557

    Default Re: stripping "milk paint" from woodwork

    Considering the age of the house it is possible you have hide glue based paint rather than milk paint. That just takes a lot of multiple stripping with paint remover.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    975

    Default Re: stripping "milk paint" from woodwork

    Quote Originally Posted by CJKeith View Post
    Bear with my questions, please. So if I use the peel away....are you saying it works good? If I neutralize the peal away...........how do I do that? Thank you for your time.
    Peel away will darken the oak. Ammonia will gray it. I think you will be forced to sand and scr ape to keep from darkening the color of the wood, unless brown is okay with you. And the brown color from a caustic is deep and indelible. I personally would be okay with brown oak. The other thing is that scraping and sanding is definitely going to remove the old patina from the wood, so you are in a trap either way.
    If it's glue based (I think that's called a distemper paint) then it would be water-soluble, but that's not going to get the pigment out of the oak pores.
    Sad to say, but you're screwed.
    Casey
    Remove not the ancient landmark, which your fathers have set.

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