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MsKitty32 01-23-2013 09:58 PM

Chemically Stripping Old Doors
We have a house that was built in the 1940s. I am attempting to chemically strip doors. I have seven of them to strip - ha! I am not new to stripping paint either chemically or with a heat gun. With that said, I have NEVER EVER had such a problem removing the paint from these doors. In fact, I had to give up using the chemical stripper and heatgun after removing the top layer of paint which was latex and move to sanding the doors outside with a vaccum hooked up to the sander and a good dust mask, etc. due to possible lead in the paint. It's horrible! I have been sanding with 50 grit sandpaper. Not to mention the grooves in the door that I have no idea how to remove the paint from because I cannot sand those particular spots other than by hand. I have a dremel tool but I am not sure I have the correct attachments as they seem to be pretty rough on the wood and very little pressure flattens the grooves. There are three coats of paint on the particular door I am working on. The first was latex and easily removed. The second was yellow and my problems started there. The third is a cream color that will barely budge with chemical stripper.

Has anyone run into this problem? What can I do?

Honestly, I did not want to replace these doors with new because I don't feel that new doors would fit as well. Also, decent doors are expensive and I don't have the means to replace that many. I really would like to use the original doors.

Thanks for all help.

cdaniels 01-23-2013 10:41 PM

We have a place here in town that strips doors for us occasionally. It is done in a vat with chemicals.They have stripped doors for me in the past that that were over 100 years old with multiple layers of paint that have come out good enough to stain. I would suggest checking the yellow pages for such a place in your area.Maybe a furniture re-finisher could recommend someone for you. Good luck.

747 01-24-2013 01:42 AM

Exactly there are places which will put the door in a tank. Pick them back up ready for primer and paint or stain.

chrisn 01-24-2013 04:15 AM

Why are you stripping them to bare wood? Get off what comes off easily sand the rest smooth, prime and paint.

Gymschu 01-24-2013 07:12 AM

As mentioned already, if you're determined to get down to the original bare wood, take them to a furniture refinishing store or a local place that does chemical stripping. It will be the best $$$ you ever spent. They can do it quickly and easily eliminating the struggle you are having and you will be safely away from harmful dust and fumes.

MsKitty32 01-24-2013 06:39 PM

I will have to check around again for someone who can do the chemical stripping for me. The reason I didn't go this route was because the two people that I know of that do this did not due a very good job for my mother or father-in-law this is why I attempted on my own. I have stripped doors before and have never ever run into such stubborn paint.

Also, we are putting up new woodwork and I am not painting it. In fact, I really loathe painted woodwork. I prefer just staining the wood with a nice color and putting a couple of coats of poly on. This is why I would like to get all of the paint off of the doors so I can stain them. I am not sure how good painted doors with natural woodwork would look. I am not opposed to it - just not sure if it would look decent. Anyone done this?


oh'mike 01-24-2013 06:50 PM

Not all strippers are the same----for the nasty stuff--I used to use 'Marine Strip' and a couple of others that were very strong--

I haven't done much stripping lately so you will need to see what the best are now a days--

Some are worthless on the old paints---Milk paint is only removed with lye---those are to new for that,however---

Try different brand---the longer the warning label the better the stripper--just kidding--NOT--:laughing:

MsKitty32 01-24-2013 07:17 PM

I was wondering if it wasn't milk paint even though I really don't understand what "milk paint" is.

Isn't lye some nasty stuff?

Brushjockey 01-24-2013 08:15 PM

In reality you can't strip paint without nasty. Pretty and lemony isn't gonna cut it.

One way to go and be less caustic is some stuff called peel away. there are a few types- go to a real paint store and ask about it.

oh'mike 01-24-2013 09:00 PM

Milk paint is a nontoxic water-based mixture used as a paint. It is made from milk and lime with or without pigments added for color.[1][2][3] Borax may be added to the milk paint recipe to assist the lime in dissolving the casein and as a preservative.[4][5]
Though milk paint has been used for thousands of years it does not compete commercially with oil paints mostly due to its short shelf life.[6] Milk paint will spoil and must be used within a day or a little longer if refrigerated.[7]
Milk paint can be used to mimic the look of antique furniture.[8]
See also

From wikipedia---

Boiling lye is dangerous of you allow it to be---the worst part is not the possibility of injury so much as the damage it does to the wood fibers---

It is an effective and cheap stripper for some projects---

jsheridan 01-24-2013 09:07 PM

There's a dipping place in Wilmington, DE that I went to once. There's a neighborhood of just single story garages where there are mechanics, sign companies, storage garages, etc, and they're old. The dipping place must have been a triple unit. You walk in and it's mostly dark with a few fluorescent overhanging lights. Very dark and dingy, spooky. Then I look over and see it, the vat. It has mist coming off of it. I thought I stepped into Silence of the Lambs II. There's no one there.
I'm standing there with my shutters and saying hello, hello. Out from behind a heavy black curtain steps this tall, lanky old guy who looks like Vincent Price on a bad day. He's looking at me but one eye is pointing to the side wall. He started to ask me what I needed and I could tell immediately he'd been working around that mist for a long time. I didn't know whether to tell him or run away. It truly was a spooky experience. But I did get my shutters stripped. True story.

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