Old shelf liner....how to remove?

wingo_43March 5, 2008

Hi........I'm usually over in the Palms forum, but have a restoration question. I posted this over in Woodworking, but didn't get any responses.

See the attached photos. I recently acquired this lovely old hutch from my late grandmother's house. I can't find any marks to indentify the company or date of manufacture, but my grandparents had this since I was a kid, and I'm 45 now. At some point in the past, one of my grandparents applied self-adhesive shelf liner to the top surfaces, probably to cover scratches. I'm assuming this stuff is made of vinyl, but it's quite old and brittle now. I've had a heck of a time getting this stuff off. You can see in the first photo where I started peeling back one corner. The areas where I've managed to peel some away, there's a very sticky residue left on the wood.

My question is: How do I get rid of this sticky surface? I want to refinish the piece, so I don't want to use anything that will cause problems later. I had thought of WD-40, since its so great at removing glue and other adhesives, but WD-40 has an oily feel to it. Afraid it would soak into the wood then cause trouble later when I go to apply the stain or varnish. I figured with so many of you here having experience in restoring and being do-it-yourselfers, you might have some ideas.


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A blow dryer on high heat and a plastic bread tie will help you remove it without chemicals.
I'd think before you refinish it you will have to sand the piece down some, which will remove any left over glue.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 9:25AM
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Goo Gone works good on sticky stuff like that.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 11:33AM
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I was thinking that an iron on a very warm setting might do the trick,

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 8:00PM
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Thanks carol.....the blowdryer worked like a charm. Softened the liner paper enough so I could peel it off in long strips.

As for the Goo Gone, I wasn't impressed. Basically overpriced orange oil. I slathered it on with a brush and left it for several minutes. It barely made a dent. Had to scrub with a Scotchbrite pad to make any real progress. This stuff may work for other things, but for the adhesive left by the contact paper, nada. I won't waste my money on it again.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 11:09PM
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Anything with an adhesive backing usually will come up with heat applied to it in some form. The blowdryer is the least dangerous of the options and the one I always start with.
I'm glad it worked.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 12:47PM
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