Paint Stripper

What paint stripper should you use for stripping furniture?

Here you must go to your local hardware store and find something suitable.

Just make sure what you buy is for hardwood or is suitable for veneer especially if you don't know what is under the paint on your antique furniture.  There are products especially for pine furniture, but do not use these on hardwood as they can react with the wood leaving black spots or discolouring the wood all together.

As with all restoration projects a mixture of common sense and caution equals good results.

  • Some paint strippers react with hardwood and leave black spots.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully.
  • Wear the appropriate clothing.
  • Wear gloves - preferably long ones.
  • Wear goggles and mask if need be.
  • Lay a large piece of plastic or newspaper underneath to protect your floor.
  • Work either outside or inside but with plenty of fresh air - the fumes can be quite nasty.

Below is a short video showing some of the steps I take when stripping old wood pieces of furniture.

Ways to use Paint Stripper

Do not paint the stripper on the whole piece of furniture at once.

Rather do a little at a time - if you are not sure of the reaction then do a small section where it is not likely to be seen - e.g. back of foot.

If there are many layers of paint then paint the stripper on, cover with plastic and leave for several hours. The plastic will help prevent the stripper drying out.

Make sure that whatever you are using to take the stripper off has a nice sharp clean edge and won't leave scratches in the wood.

You might have to go through the procedure a few times before you have all the paint off.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning off the residue.

If using water - please try and use as little as possible finishing off with clean water and wiping dry afterwards.

If there is carving to be stripped, you will have to use your imagination to find suitable implements for getting into the cracks etc.

Toothpicks and sharpened dowels are good, tooth brush or nail brush - be careful about using screw drivers and other sharp implements, if you slip you could damage surrounding wood.

I find Scotchbrite pads good and plastic net pads which catch up all the gunge are good. A Nylon scrubbing brush can also be helpful.

Be careful about using steel wool as any left in the wood can lead to black spots developing, especially on oak furniture.

You have got the paint off and cleaned everything down, making sure you have done the sides of doors and drawers where drips are often left and checking underneath that there is no residue left.

Now it is time to clean up the rest of the mess, put your piece of furniture somewhere flat to dry for the next few days or weeks depending how wet it got.

Clean yourself up sit down and have a cup of tea with the proud feeling of having achieved something!

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Related Pages

Cleaning Furniture

Restoration tips