stripping 1916 trim

kindred_nyFebruary 27, 2012

I have begun stripping the trimwork (doorways, windows and baseboard) in my 1916 home. The people who owned the house just before the previous owners are still in the area, and they said they painted the trim since "it was ugly wood, chestnut or something". I have stripped about 1/2 of a doorway so far, but can't get all the paint off with the "friendly" stripper I am using (kids and pets in the house, so I don't want to use really aggressive stuff). I have most of it off, but some just won't come up with scraping and stripper. It doesn't look like it's in the wood, just really stuck to it. It's probably lead based, since it was painted on so long ago, and some spots where the top layer came off look somewhat shiny. (there are only 3 layers of paint; 2 green layers and a white layer) I have "washed" it with 0000 grade steel wool and denatured alcohol, but that's really not working either. How course can I go without gouging the wood? And would courser steel wool do the trick? And Any other hints for getting a good base? I'm hoping to use linseed oil, then shellac as a finish. In the kitchen I may apply varnish since it's a wet room.

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Definitely use a 00 steel wool; 4/0 is just for rubbing out final finishes.
Any chemical stripper will work optimally at 85 degrees F. Winter I have always found to be too cold and dry for chemical strippers to really work well.
If the wood has no sealer underneath, using only chemicals will tend to grind the pigment into the pores.
A hot stripper is always more satisfactory because it quickly lifts as much pigment out of the pores as possible.
Some people testify that brushing on a coat of shellac and then stripping again will pull more pigment out of the wood, the logic being that the paint will stick to the shellac; I can't verify this legend, but if you find yourself at an impasse, it's probably worth a halfhearted try.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 8:09PM
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Thanks, Casey. I have heard people mention a really good hot stripper, but I can't seem to recall the name of the one everyone raves about. Do you happen to know?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 8:23PM
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Silent paint remover?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 5:09PM
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By "Hot Stripper" I did not mean to imply:
Gypsy Rose Lee.
Any heat tools (heat gun, heat plate, silent paint stripper).
I did mean a chemical stripper with methylene chloride as the active ingredient, like (my fave) "Kutzit". The kind that smells and burns the skin, but works with amazing speed and gets the job done faster so you can enjoy your accomplishment.
A heat tool is great too, esp. if there is shellac underneath; so much better than chemicals alone.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 7:50PM
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have you tried the Peel Away Paint Stripper that you cover with paper. Paint sticks to paper with the stripper, very messy but works.

Here is a link that might be useful: Peel Away Paint Remover

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 10:27PM
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I've never heard of that kind of stripper, sloyd. Thanks! I just might have to try that! :)

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 6:38AM
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With seven kinds of 'peel away' it is pretty hard to make any judgement about the product.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 10:31AM
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