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Old 11-05-2010, 08:15 AM   #1
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advice needed: stripping very old woodwork


Good Morning Everyone, I bought a 200+ year old New England farmhouse which is in serious need of TLC. One of the things I like about the house is that it has all the original woodwork. But like the rest of the house, the woodwork needs some help too. I've browsed the forums and found a great deal of information already, but I am looking for some "personalized" advice because there is no margin for error on this project. What I am trying to do is restore the old woodwork. As you can see in the pics, some of the old paint is flaking and falling off. However, the paint that isn't falling off is stuck on the wood like there's no tomorrow. Since I don't want to damage the woodwork in any way, I don't think I want to use any type of tools to remove the old paint. Can someone recommend a paint stripper for such a project and/or recommend an easier way of going about this project. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!




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Old 11-05-2010, 08:47 AM   #2
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advice needed: stripping very old woodwork


You can use circa 1850 heavy body paint and varnish remover to remove the old paint. It will remove multiple layers and it is gel formulated which is great to work on vertical surfaces and it contains no harsh chemicals. Just apply it with a brush and when the paint starts to wrinkle use saw dust (yes saw dust) to rub into the remover that way you arenít damaging the wood and the only tool I used was a dental pick to get into those hard places to remove any excess paint.

Note: you will have to wear gloves and follow the directions on the can. Also before you start your journey on removing the paint check it out for lead paint.

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Old 11-05-2010, 08:59 AM   #3
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Your trim is totally gorgeous. can you just imagine who made that and what kind of life he had, how his family lived? Sorry, I always did that when I went into one of the old antique homes I was to restore. Back then most of the paint was milk paint but you know it has seen paint since then. Please be very cautious as your home has gone through the era of lead paint also.

As for stripper, when I was in the business I would take the trim or doors or what have you to a professional stripper and when it came back it had the most beautiful aged color. The down side to commercial stripping the doors is the stripper used a hot chemical vat and what glue, if any was there, was gone and the doors were very loose and the joints very open. Some had holes that were undetectable before which needed attention. Some of the trim had small holes also. One door we did not commercial strip still had a musket ball from the Civil War which we left and hand stripped.

While this may be interesting there was little that I was involved with after the stripper got through except for tightening, plugging and filling the doors and trim and reinstalling or reproducing the trim and doors where needed.

I was fortunate enough to find a very very good painter who took most of the load off me and my crew, so I would recommend finding a very good painter. Some of the painters out there don't just slang paint as so many think they do, many of these fellows and gals are artist and can do some very amazing things that we could just not imagine.

I am sorry that I got carried away here but restoration was one of my favorites. You are surly aware that what you are doing is a labor of love as 95% of the people will say, "just tear it down". What a shame they just don't understand. Once again, sorry to get carried away.

Epson posted as I was posting and he knows what he is talking about. I was not involved in the paint/strip part.

Looking closer to your trim, it is not just one piece trim but several pieces to make up one trim.

When you take your trim off, if you do, be sure to mark it in some way that you will know where to replace it or you will pull your hair out.
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Old 11-05-2010, 09:21 AM   #4
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Sorry, I couldn't stay away. I was just looking at your trim again and was thinking about how some of the older homes looked and many of the old homes, especially on the exterior. They didn't try to remove all the old paint, they only removed what was lose. When we replaced some columns with new ones the painter would take strips and patches of newspaper and glue and put the newspaper strips and patches on the column and paint over the patches to simulate peeling paint to make it look as original as possible. OK, I will shut up now.

Just one more thing, most of the interior of the homes did have the paint removed or filled smooth, but some did just remove the lose, which I didn't like, on the inside of a home, outside was ok but not inside to me.
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Old 11-05-2010, 09:46 AM   #5
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advice needed: stripping very old woodwork


Thanks for the replies so far, very helpful... Jiju, sounds like you know what it's like to own an old OLD house... I'll have some pics posted on here later that I bet you'd appreciate! stay tuned...

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Old 11-05-2010, 10:52 AM   #6
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I look forward to seeing your home, Thanks for sharing with us.
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Old 11-06-2010, 04:33 AM   #7
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OK, here's the outside of the house.... which YES it needs paint BAD!! But believe it or not, the clapboards are not rotted. They are still solid despite the obvious years of neglect. Like the woodwork inside, the outside has a very nice design to it which, in my opinion, provides just the right amount of old farmhouse character and charm that this place deserves. I intend to preserve and restore as much of this character as possible as I go about my various projects.... no vinyl siding, no replacement windows, no skylights, UGH!! Maybe it's just me, but it kills me to know people would actually do that stuff to a house like this. Anyways, I have my work lined up so I will be spending a lot of time in these forums! Thanks for the help so far!!
















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Old 11-06-2010, 06:07 AM   #8
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Keep the progress pictures coming,that house is a rare gem!
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Old 11-06-2010, 06:15 AM   #9
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advice needed: stripping very old woodwork


Try a search next door at Contractor talk Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum

Look for a member --frankawitz--He is a decorative plaster restorer--he had a post on removing paint from the fancy work

I don't have time to find it myself,but the method was very effective----Mike---

Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum - View Profile: Frankawitz

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Old 11-06-2010, 09:35 AM   #10
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If you intend to hire a contractor make sure they are RRP lead paint certified. I'd bet dollars to donuts that paint has lead in it. There are EPA laws on renovating, remodeling or painting houses with LBP pertaining to contractors.

If you do the work yourself you don't HAVE to follow the guidelines, but I'd recommend checking the EPA website for tips and techniques. Otherwise you run the risk of polluting your new home with lead dust.

BTW, in the 70's I owned a home that looked VERY much like that one including the little porch. Except I also had a rather large 4 column porch on the wide front with 2 front doors!. I worked on it 7 years (while trying to live there) and never really got it done.

I eventually sold the house to an investor lady and she MADE IT INTO A PUPPY MILL! After several years she virtually abandoned the place and the local farmers kid got it for a song. He didn't want the house and we torched it one winter. The thing was totally involved in 20 minutes and collapsed into a heap at 45.

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Old 11-06-2010, 01:22 PM   #11
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advice needed: stripping very old woodwork


Quote:
Originally Posted by tcook555 View Post
OK, here's the outside of the house.... which YES it needs paint BAD!! But believe it or not, the clapboards are not rotted. They are still solid despite the obvious years of neglect. Like the woodwork inside, the outside has a very nice design to it which, in my opinion, provides just the right amount of old farmhouse character and charm that this place deserves. I intend to preserve and restore as much of this character as possible as I go about my various projects.... no vinyl siding, no replacement windows, no skylights, UGH!! Maybe it's just me, but it kills me to know people would actually do that stuff to a house like this. Anyways, I have my work lined up so I will be spending a lot of time in these forums! Thanks for the help so far!!















Oh wow!!! it is just beautiful. You for sure have a gem in the rough, that would be so much fun to restore. By all means keep the modern look away from your home, it is too beautiful to spoil. That is not to say you can't use modern materials but use them to look just like the original. You are ready know restoring a antique home will cost some serious money unless you do most of it yourself.

Please do keep us updated and take plenty of pictures. We are here to help you anyway we can.

I was watching a program on the science channel last night and they were stripping older trim and doors. They had a hoes hooked to a hand held brush and the chemical ran through the center of the brush as they scrubbed. I was thinking a person could buy one of the mechanic cleaning machines and do that but I think the chemical would ruin the machine.

They were using a brush that looked about the size of a tooth brush to get down in the deep parts. I wish I could help you more on the stripping but I have little experience in that area.
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Old 11-06-2010, 01:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoz49 View Post
If you intend to hire a contractor make sure they are RRP lead paint certified. I'd bet dollars to donuts that paint has lead in it. There are EPA laws on renovating, remodeling or painting houses with LBP pertaining to contractors.

If you do the work yourself you don't HAVE to follow the guidelines, but I'd recommend checking the EPA website for tips and techniques. Otherwise you run the risk of polluting your new home with lead dust.

BTW, in the 70's I owned a home that looked VERY much like that one including the little porch. Except I also had a rather large 4 column porch on the wide front with 2 front doors!. I worked on it 7 years (while trying to live there) and never really got it done.

I eventually sold the house to an investor lady and she MADE IT INTO A PUPPY MILL! After several years she virtually abandoned the place and the local farmers kid got it for a song. He didn't want the house and we torched it one winter. The thing was totally involved in 20 minutes and collapsed into a heap at 45.
That is a crying shame, another of the old ones gone forever.

I restored one home, which was a Victorian, built in 1842 where the back of the house and porches had rotted off and it had been used as a chicken coop for years.
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Old 11-09-2010, 03:41 AM   #13
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advice needed: stripping very old woodwork


Thanks again from everyone! Based on your input, I think I'm going to takes epson's advice and try the Circa 1850 heavy body paint and varnish remover. They have a video on their website that made it look easy.. almost too easy, but we shall see. I like that idea of rigging a hoe/brush to make the job easier. I think I'm gonna give that a try too, given the amount of woodwork inside this house... I think my back will thank me.

I will keep pics posted as I go along. I might even start a thread in the project showcase if I get ambitious enough. I still have to get the plumbing and heat working before I can do anything else so it'll be awhile before I get to anything cosmetic. On a side note, I am in the process of restoring the old sash windows and found an interesting source for information from a guy in Massachusetts with an old farmhouse. Check it out here if interested: http://thisoldfarmhouse.blogspot.com...n-project.html
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:07 AM   #14
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Good luck on your new adventure. Just remember that patients and time will get you a finished result that you will be proud off…
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:22 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tcook555 View Post
On a side note, I am in the process of restoring the old sash windows and found an interesting source for information from a guy in Massachusetts with an old farmhouse. Check it out here if interested: http://thisoldfarmhouse.blogspot.com...n-project.html
They did a nice job but made some strange choices. Felt weatherstripping?? Try Terry Meany's book when you are ready.

http://www.amazon.com/Working-Window.../dp/1592287085

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