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Old 11-08-2012, 07:00 PM   #1
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shellac disaster...

Anyone know how to fix this? It's trim from our 1916 farmhouse... I'd rather not rip it from the plaster....
I tried denatured alcohol... Nothing happened. I just wiped it and wiped it... Nothing happened...

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Mrsvwal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2012, 07:14 PM   #2
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shellac disaster...

[quote=Mrsvwal;1047633]Anyone know how to fix this? It's trim from our 1916 farmhouse... I'd rather not rip it from the plaster....
I tried denatured alcohol... Nothing happened. I just wiped it and wiped it... Nothing happened...

What exactly are you trying to do????

You do know that finish is alligatored right??

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Old 11-08-2012, 07:17 PM   #3
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shellac disaster...

It may be shellac in some layer but most looks like old varnish. Whatever it is, you will not get it off with a solvent. And as mentioned it is "alligatored" to the point you cannot finish over it. There are chemical strippers with the paste ones being the safest. Lots of work and a mess though. They are not exactly cheap (but are not outrageous) if you have lots of trim to strip and refinish.

I have hyped this tool before but an infrared stripper was one of the best tools I ever bought and I turned around and sold it for near what I paid for it when I had to stop working. It is lightweight, fast, safe, involves no chemicals and melts through layers of old paint and varnish all at once.

They are expensive but you can rent them. If you can spare the cashflow buy one (new or used) and sell it when done. Get the exterior siding "hands free" rail system to improve resale value. Buying and selling it when done will come out cheaper than renting and you will not be in a rush to return it within the rental period. I think many places have waiting lists for the renting the things.

Of course you still need sharp scrapers (you can hurt yourself or the surface easily with dull ones). And in fact, you might try the draw type to see how much you can get off with one before anything else. I have been pleasantly surprised in some cases. Here are regular flat and contour types. You pull the tool toward you.

Last edited by user1007; 11-08-2012 at 07:21 PM. Reason: Added URLs
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:28 AM   #4
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shellac disaster...

Unfortunaly it looks like someone varnished over the shellac. I had the same thing last fall on a house I was remodeling. All of the trim was natural finished wood, not in the greatest shape but still usable. I tried to remove the shellac with alcohol and no go. I then realized that someone had varnished over it. I tried to sand it to give the paint some tooth but all it sis was load the paper quickly. I decided to try scraping it. I first tried it in a small closet and found that it came right off. I was able to do each room (7 of them) in about 2 hours each. Once you get on a roll it goes pretty quickly and once you get the hang of it there is no damage to the wood. I gave all surfaces a quick pad sanding afterward and primed and painted. I had to spackle dome minor dings and dents from years of wear and tear.
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:31 AM   #5
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shellac disaster...

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