Removing old paint isn't a lot of fun, but a few paint removal tools can make the task easier.
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When removing lead-based paint, you must wear a respirator mask. No matter what kind of paint you're working with, always wear gloves and protective eyewear.
The manual paint scraper is the most basic tool for removing paint and rust. It's especially handy for working in corners and tight spaces. A metal brush attached to a cordless drill is great for removing paint from metal surfaces. Move the brush back and forth against the surface of the metal. An electric grinder may be used at low speed for removing paint from wood or metal. Choose a model with depth controls, which allow you to hit the surface lightly or more deeply.
Heat guns are a high-tech tool for removing paint from wood surfaces. Gloves are essential when using a heat gun because the tool can heat up to 1,000 degrees. To use a heat gun, wave it back and forth about 1" above the painted surface. Continue to keep the gun moving constantly to prevent scorching the wood. When the paint starts to bubble, remove it with a scraper. Finish the job by rubbing mineral spirits on the surface.