Easy Ways To Strip Paint from Wood

How To Strip Paint
by noricum under CC BY-SA  with wpseopix.com
STripping Paint On Old Furniture


Here’s a familiar situation: you go to a furniture shop. You survey all the items and find a wooden piece that would look great in your home. You have all the reasons to buy it, except for one: it is covered in ugly, chipping paint. You go home, letting go of the almost-perfect piece of wooden furniture, and wish that you had a way to address its aesthetic problem.

There are a lot of ways to solve this type of problem. All you have to learn is how to strip paint from wood. Learning this procedure is very important especially if you want to apply a new color to a piece of furniture with paint that has been severely damaged, peeled, pitted or badly chipped. It can also be utilized to bring back the natural wood finish of a previously painted piece of trim in your home.

Aside from improving the appearance of a piece of pre-owned furniture, knowing how to remove paint from wood also has its practical value. A heavy build-up of paint on the closing edges of wooden doors and windows may also cause these to stick, which may cause damage to them. Applying another coat of paint without stripping the old one can make this situation even worse. It is therefore important to learn how to strip paint from wood for this practical reason.

A lot of people think this process is quite tedious and sometimes a perilous task. Stripping paint from wood can however be accomplished with ease and safety with the use of the proper tools and the appropriate techniques. There are three basics to learning how to strip paint from wood, each with its own advantages and disadvantages: through mechanical means, through the use of heat and through utilizing commercially sold chemicals.

Stripping Paint Through Sanding


The most common way to strip paint from wood is through sanding. This method is particularly appropriate for wooden surfaces with only very thin coats of paint that have to be removed. You can tell the existing paint is suitable for sanding if you can already make out the wood grain underneath while looking at the piece of furniture, or if you can already see bare wood in areas with chipped paint. On the contrary, hand sanding is not advisable when dealing with carved or shaped wood, since it may flatten and ruin the detail of the surface.

To start mechanically removing paint from wood, use a coarse sandpaper. Shift to a medium grade sandpaper once the wood grain underneath begins to appear. In some cases, the use of fine sandpaper may be required to remove rough edges that may have been caused by the coarser sandpaper.

Since hand sanding requires a lot of effort to accomplish, consider wrapping the sandpaper around a wood or cork block when working on flat surfaces. Another way to make this task a more convenient experience is through employing wet sanding, or applying water on the wooden surface, especially to those you do not intend to varnish. This will lessen the amount of dust produced while sanding. Just make sure that the wood is fully dry before final dry sanding and repainting. Also, always wear a face mask whenever doing your sanding work so you will not breathe in dust particles which can cause damage to your lungs. Also, the paint may be lead based which can lead to neurological disorders. If the furniture or house is old it probably has lead paint.

If you feel that manual sanding is too tedious, you may want to employ a mechanical sanding tool available on the market. Circular sanding discs mounted on an electric drill may be used, but it may still be too difficult to use for common do-it-yourself enthusiasts, who may end up scoring the wood. A more convenient tool to use is the sanding drum. This piece of equipment can be purchased with different grades of abrasive from coarse to fine— perfect for the various stages of sanding. Other tools for mechanical sanding include the power drill accessory and Orbital Sander power tool. Make sure to carefully read the instruction manuals of these tools before using them to prevent any accidents.

Stripping Paint Using Heat

A more advanced way to strip paint from wood is through the use of heating devices. For this purpose, you can use a regular blowtorch. This device allows you to adjust the flame to various sizes and temperature options. Another piece of equipment you can utilize is the heat gun, which usually has one or two temperature settings. The size and shape of the airflow of heat guns can also be adjusted normally by fitting different kinds of nozzles.

When using heating equipment for stripping paint on wooden surfaces, it is recommended that you get the feel of the blowtorch or the heat gun first before using it on the actual wooden furniture. Practice using the tool on a piece of scrap of painted wood first. During actual use, always hold the tool at a constant distance from the wooden surface, approximately 6 to 8 inches for consistent paint stripping. Also keep moving the tool back and forth. You know that the paint is ready to be stripped when it starts to wrinkle and bubble.

Of course, the task of removing paint through heating does not end there. You need to scrape the paint off the wooden surface. There are a number of scrapers currently sold, with various types available such as concave, convex, straight edge and pointed. You will also need to sand the exposed timber to get a more satisfactory timber surface.

Stripping Paint Using Chemicals

For more stubborn paint on wooden surfaces, there is one more way to strip paint from wood: through the use of commercially sold chemical strippers. There are two general types of chemical strippers available in the market: the gel type liquid, which is applied on the wooden surface with the use of a brush, and the paste type which is laid over the paint.
After applying the chemicals on the wooden surface, the paint should also be removed using a scraper. When doing this, always keep the scraper in an upright position to avoid damaging the timber surface. To remove smaller spots of paint that are difficult to remove using a regular scraper, you can also use medium or fine wire wool.

Having sufficient knowledge about how to strip paint from wood will allow you to have full control of how you want your pieces of furniture to look thus improving the beauty and appeal of your home interior.

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