Taking Paint Off Wood

kvk

Member
2008-01-25 4:37 pm
I have some old shelves that are nice wood and are old enough that the wood has stabilized. I'm thinking of using these in a speaker project.

The wood has paint on one sdte I'd like to take off. If I have a 12" wide electric plane, I'd just run them through but I have minimal tools.

Anyone have suggestions for getting the paint off?

It's only one side and I really don't need to get it all off if the painted surface goes on the inside of the enclosure. I just need to get an 1" or so around the edges to a gluing surface and show it doesn't show a line at the seam.
 

OzMikeH

Member
2007-03-18 9:22 am
It all depends exactly what the paint is and what was used to prime it.

I've had good success on skirting boards of old houses with a scraper and careful application of a heat gun. pick the last fragments out of any holes with a scalpel.

Chemical strippers are an absolutely last resort. They can mess up your finish later on.

To get the board dead flat as you'll need for a cabinet I suggest passing it through a big thicknesser if you can afford to lose the thickness and have access to one. If they aren't dead flat they are not much use.
 
Laquer Thinner might work well.

In my area, there's a small Planing Mill business that will run small lots of boards through their machines, for a fee. I got some aged but sawmill-rough hardwood lumber once, very, very cheaply, and took it to them. They planed it, sanded it, and polished it, and also ran it through their joiner so the edges were perfectly flat and smooth. It was cheap, as I recall. The result was absolutely gorgeous!
 
Check on a woodworking board for best solutions.

I agree with the cautions about chemical stripping. Sometimes it's a must however if you're dealing with more than three coats of finish. In which case you'd use it to get the bulk off without letting it soak into the grain. It will still get 85 percent of the bulk off so that you can sand the rest.

Look for any name-brand small orbital sander on sale at the local big box store. I have the most compact model DeWalt that is pretty much permanently hooked up to a spare shopVac, sans filter, and hosed out of the basement window. A good supply of velcro mount papers in various grades and you'll wonder how you ever got along without this tool.

It coarse strips light finishes off very quickly and after a couple of finish grade passes leaves a fine enough surface to hand wool it down to perfection.

The way these are designed to remove dust is wonderful. It's a real treat to be able to keep the crud from building up on the paper and send everything out the basement window without even wearing a mask.
 
Believe it or not, if the paint is old and brittle, it will come right off with a putty knife. Though this works better for old shellacs and varnishes.

Over time these old finished get very brittle and will crumble under a sharp putty knife. The way I sharpen my putty knife is to put it in a vise so it is stable, then use a file and file the edge perfectly flat and square. There is always the temptation to put a sharp angled edge on it, like a blade, but I've never found that necessary.

When you sharpen it flat and square, while the edge is plenty sharp, there is also a curl of metal over the edge. That mean the putty knife can be pulled or pushed and it will still cut. Push for big deep cleaning, and pull for fine scraping.

It depends on the type of paint you have, but give it a try.

Second best is a heat gun and a putty knife sharped as instructed above.

The absolute last method is chemical stripper. I've never found it to work very well, it's toxic, and messy. But if you are desperate, and you know which is the best stripper to buy; it will get the job done.

steve/bluewizard