How to remove paint spatters from wood without removing finish?

jlc102482April 18, 2012

I recently picked up a large antique cupboard that was originally part of a butler's pantry. It had been stored in a basement for a while and has some paint spatters and drips on it. Is there any way to remove the paint spatters without also removing the original finish in the process? I'm not sure what the original finish is, though I do know that the cupboard was original to a house built in 1900. Thanks!

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What kind of paint and what kind of finish?

Latex paint will often come up with denatured alcohol or xylene with minimal damage to the underlying finish unless it is shellac.

Alkyd (oil paint) is harder.
Regular paint thinner can often soften it enough for removal.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 10:02AM
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Any dots of paint should come off by lifting with a single-edge razor blade. Tiny atomized spatters or smears will come off with some 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper or a rubber sanding block, lubricated with paint thinner or water+detergent. If the old varnish is nice and thick you don't have to worry about sanding through the finish to bare wood. Pick off the big flecks, then abrade the mist/smears.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 5:47PM
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