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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    4

    Smile Stripping lots of wood!

    Hi-
    Looking for advice on how to deal with trim and doors in multiple rooms that have many, many layers of paint on them. House was built 1910. Trying to restore/ update home while keeping Victorian style. Also I'm sure there is probably a mix of lead-based paint, oil based, and latex paint covering the wood.
    Is it worth it to strip down to the wood and stain or just get rough surface to repaint over. Looking for lasting solution and we have lots of time to invest. What do you recommend for paint removers?

    Thanks!
    Emily

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,555

    Default Re: Stripping lots of wood!

    For multiple layers I prefer a heat gun and scrapper.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
    Posts
    1,580

    Default Re: Stripping lots of wood!

    eve13021,

    I would concurr with JLMCDANIELS advice. Heat is expecially effective when there are lots of coats of paint. If you intend to re-paint the doors, I find that a propane torch with a flame spreader is much faster than a heat gun, however, you risk scorching the wood here and there. This is not a problem if you are goint to re-paint, but rules out staining. I would not use the torch inside the house on the general woodwork as it is too dangerous there.

    Getting old woodwork clean enough to stain after years of paint is an extremely laborious job.It may not be possible to get all the old pigment out of the grain no matter how much cleaning you do. If the original finish way back when was varnish, you have a fighting chance of getting the wood really clean because the original varnish would have prevented pigment from subsequent paint jobs from getting way down into the grain.

    Several years ago I was able to restore the original woodwork in a beautiful Chicago bungalow back to its original state, but it cost the owner almost $20,000! Mind you, the floors were all wood too and had to be protected from the strippers during the process. But then, these same owners paid $1200 replace one of the original beveled and leaded glass window panes which had been broken. Some people will pay for quality whatever it takes.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Stripping lots of wood!

    Hi:

    Just thought I'd add some thoughts from one who found stripping cabinets to be near impossible. First let me tell you I live in CA. Your reaction is likely so what, a professional's will be "oh brother". I don't know about all the rules and regulations in PA but CA will not permit stripper to be very efficient at all due to all the environmental and health issues. What they sell as stripper is very ineffective and the environment should be a cooler day with humidity higher, probably at least 40% otherwise the stripping product bought at big box stores dries out quickly and then you have a whole nother problem. We called "The Strip Joint" owner by a little old man who wore bermuda shorts, an old faded t-shirt, white socks, and nike sandals. He came to the house to check out what kind of a problem we had gotten ourselves into. He explained about the temps & humidity to work act as we live in the Mojave Desert and those two items play a significant issue. He had a special EPA license for his very "hot" stripper that he would use to do the stripping or he very occasionally would sell a quart to people he trusted to use it properly. We had him strip the cabinets in a bit over 2 hours and did what we likely would never have been able to thought achieve. I share this because prior to your starting, I would suggest you go to a family owned paint store or you may have a specilty refinishing store to get the low down on just what you may be up against. We would have saved a day of frustration and sniping back and forth as we had a limited time. The products of today are nothing like what I used perhaps 20 yrs ago and it really stunk that everything I was familiar with just did not work. Hope things go smoothly.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
    Posts
    1,580

    Default Re: Stripping lots of wood!

    Eureka,

    I can certainly believe that such would be the case in California. They seem to be on a Holy Crusade to stamp out effective paint products. Oil paints , with a few exceptions< are on the endangered species list there.

    Even in other states, not all strippers are created equal. I always kept several varieties in my shop and would experiment at which one was most effective on a particular painted or varnished surface. There are many types of finishes now-a-days, some of which utilize exotic chemistry; water and petro based lacquers, catalyzed lacquers, urethanes, polyurethanes, acrylics, etc. Most strippers state what finishes they are effective on, but it is still a hit or miss trial. Unfortunately, it seems the really nasty caustic ones are still the most effective.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    975

    Default Re: Stripping lots of wood!

    IMHO, using a propane torch for paint removal is nearly pure evil. At those temperatures, you are continuously vaporizing any lead present into the air that you and everyone else has to breathe. Lead vaporizes at 1800 c. Lead oxide a bit higher, but Lead Acetate at even lower temps.
    Then there is the safety issue of using an open flame on woodwork where a smoldering situation could develop; we all know what kind of goodies lurk inside old house walls- all types of flammable detritus; bird and rodent nests, old newspapers and corncob insulation.
    Finally there is the quickly brushed-over admission that you will mar the woodwork itself with charred or discolored areas.
    Quick recap:
    1) you are poisoning the micro and macro environments with the worst form of lead: the vaporized kind.
    2) you could burn down the house you are working to restore.
    3) You will likely char the very woodwork you want to improve.
    A heat gun, like the Makita model with an electronic temperature control will incur none of these risks, but you must still use protection from the lead dust and chips. Clean up with TSP.
    Remove not the ancient landmark, which your fathers have set.

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