DIY Home Improvement Forum banner
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello!
I'm having a big problem I'm hoping someone here might be able to help me with. I have a pine dresser and desk that were made for me in 2003 that I'm trying to refinish. My plan is to remove the paint and stain the furniture for a more natural look. The only problem is I can't seem to get the shiny white (most likely polyurethane) paint off the either piece. It took me about 45 minutes with my palm sander and 120 grit, 80 grit and then a little manfully with a 60 grit to remove the gloss alone on the top of the desk. Yesterday I finally went to my Ace Hardware, and was told to get Zip Strip paint stripper, in which the paint on my desk proceeded to eat up like I was feeding it the classic nourishment of Satan's Official Hardware store where it must have originated from. 5 coats and it STILL wasn't budging (only small slivers of paint), so I went back and bought 50 grit paper and Klean Strip and have been trying that on my dresser (palm sanding with 120 and 80 PLUS hand sanding with a 50 grit), but I'm on my second coat of the KS and nada. What should I do?? It's too late to just decide to paint it, as I seem to have already done a bang up job of scraping up many areas of the wood in my desk and dresser. But what should have been a fun Sunday afternoon project is rapidly turning into a frustrating mess. The guys at Ace Hardware are stumped and even my father (who is a trained woodworker) isn't even sure what I should be doing at this point. Help! :(
 

·
retired painter
Joined
·
12,220 Posts
Hard to say without seeing it but generally you remove 95% of the coatings with a chemical stripper and then finish with sandpaper. Is the whole piece solid pine or are there other woods or plywood also?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks mark sr! The whole thing is solid pine, except the backs of each piece (which I was going to go over lightly with a 220 grit just got absorb some stain for a nicer look), which are bare particle board. The pic of the dresser and the desk together are before I started working on them. The pic of the desk is after 4-5 coats of Zip Strip, and as well as the 120, 80, and 50 grit sand papers. I have been using the 50 grit by hand since my Ace didn't have it for my palm sander. The dresser is after using the 120, 80 with the palm sander and 50 grit by hand, as well as 1 coat of the Zip Strip throughout, and two coats of the Klean Strip on the top after that.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,982 Posts
Usually a chemical stripper eats that right up. I use very caustic paint stripper, I believe it's called Stripeeze. It might be hard to find these days. I put it on really thick and cover it with plastic for any kind of tough paint. That almost always works. Let it marinate for several hours or even overnight. That will soften just about any paint coating.

If everything you've done hasn't worked, you might try a furniture refinishing store. They can dip your items in one of their stripping vats and that would work if nothing else will.
 

·
retired painter
Joined
·
12,220 Posts
I'm not real knowledgeable about the different strippers and have always relied on the folks at the paint store to sell me the right one for the job at hand. It's not uncommon to need to apply the stripper multiple times. Generally the more caustic the stripper is the more effective it is. If you apply more stripper does the remaining paint bubble?

I like the quarter sheet palm sanders as they don't rely on special sanding pads. You could go over it with a belt sander but you'd need to be careful not to cut any grooves in the wood that you'd have a hard time sanding out. Glad you don't have a veneer to worry about.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Gymschu! What type of plastic do you use to cover your "marinating" furniture with? And thank you mark sr! The paint on the dresser bubbled slightly in some areas, but it didn't bubble at all with the desk. I like my palm sander as it's still managed to sand nicely with the grain of the wood. My fiancee however is adamant that his father's belt sander is better and is going to pick it up today and have at it tomorrow. Which is another thing I'm worried about, for exactly what you said, creating grooves in the wood. He's also grabbing me some 50 grit paper for my palm sander, so hopefully It'll help get the majority of the paint out before he come gets home from work tomorrow and tries to attack it. And while I am very glad I don't have any veneer on it to worry about, I do have a keyboard tray that doesn't remove, that might be the worst part LOL.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So I finally just called the place that made it for me, and they called up the old order from years ago and it's actually birch, and was painted with water based Benjamin Moore paint. They have NO idea why it's not coming off.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
131 Posts
Any impermeable plastic you don't mind throwing away will work. I recently used cling wrap from the kitchen with some citri strip. You could use cut up trash bags, or even painter's plastic.

I agree that the belt sander is too aggressive. It's asking for trouble.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
411 Posts
How long are you letting the stripper sit? Paint stripper contains wax, which will float to the top and help reduce evaporation. This means you need to let it set for awhile and not keep working back and forth with a brush orabrasive pad right away, or you'll just break up the wax layer and let the more active ingredients evaporate before they have a chance to work. Plastic film, as suggested above, in a good idea to let it sit and work even longer without evaporating.

Paints strippers also don't work well cold, but assuming your in the norther hemisphere, that usually isn't' a problem this time of year.

I'd like to see you move the piece outside when stripping. The fumes (assuming a methlylene chloride based stripper, which kleen strip is, and I think Zip Strip, but can't verify this) are pretty nasty, and aren't removed with a cartridge style respirator.

I don't see the belt sander working well. It will get the paint off, but it will damage the piece in the process.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
973 Posts
Two things to try. First off use Superstrip. It is a semi-paste and is the strongest stripper in the Savogran DIY stripper line. Kleanstrip is the weakest and Zipstrip is the same as stripeeze. OR, and this is what i highly recommend because i've seen it work miracles, is to use Peelaway water based stripper. You apply it, lay a provided paper over it, and let it set for up to 24 hours. I've seen it take 30 coats of latex paint off that way. It may be hard to find, but MOST water based strippers can be used the same way. Pretty much any of the ecologicamical strippers are water based. They don't instantly bubble up what is being stripped like a methylene chloride based (what you've been using) stripper does, but you can coat the entire piece and let it do the work if you use a water based "safe" stripper. The company that makes peelaway is Dumond Chemical i believe and if you look them up online they should have a list of dealers or may even sell direct.

Also, the coating on your piece is more than likely a waterbased epoxy. The methylene chloride strippers typically don't work on those very well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
I have just used Ready Strip that can be purchased at Ace or Home Depot. Similar to Citistrip. Green, not caustic to the skin, no fumes. BUT, you have to wait it out for 3-4 hours while it penetrates. I cover the piece with plastic wrap after putting down the stripper which is thick but can still sag/drip. I have also used Franmar's Soy Stripper. It works well but is harder to find except at Rockler or Woodcraft. Citistrip works better than Ready Strip or Soy, but it gums up and is a pain to clean off. The others work with a degreasing agent.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
973 Posts
I've never been fond of the citrus based strippers. The more caustic strippers seem to work faster - maybe I'm just impatient.
That's because the citrus strippers are intended to take a little time to work. The main advantage is you can use them on a much larger area then the old fashioned chemical strippers, which would start to dry out before you could scrape them off if you used them on to large of an area. I've had customers use readystrip on an entire entertainment center, putting it on the entire surface and covering it with plastic. They let it set overnight and the next morning the paint (several coats) was literally running off of it. The more caustic strippers work much faster though and if that is what you are used to then they work fine. They can be troublesome with some veneer adhesives though.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top