How to Remove Paint with Chemical Strippers
Learn how to remove paint from wood by using a chemical stripper or varnish remover.
Wear heavy-duty rubber gloves to protect your skin from the chemicals. Wear a respirator to protect your lungs. Lay a protective covering on the floor.
Using a paintbrush, apply stripper liberally to the painted surface. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
Using a paint scraper, attempt to remove the paint. If the paint doesn't come off, apply more stripper, and let it sit for another 5 minutes.
Once the chemicals have done their job, remove the paint with a scraper. Use a shave hook to get into small crevices, steel wool for deep ones. Never use steel wool on oak: it tends to scratch the wood's surface. Instead, use a piece of burlap.
When you've removed the bulk of the paint, clean up any leftover patches with steel wool or burlap dipped in fresh paint stripper.
Neutralize the stripper by washing the wood with water or turpentine (according to the manufacturer's instructions).
Let the piece dry thoroughly, and treat it like new wood.
Liquid paint strippers are suitable only for use on horizontal surfaces. For all other woodwork, use a gel stripper, which clings to the surface and doesn't drip. When using a gel stripper, follow the same steps as for a liquid product.
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