Saturday, July 19, 2008

Stripping: Not for Entertainment

When renovating an old house you usually need to strip or replace porch railings, doors or moldings. I did a little of each and it was not entertaining. My old house has 5 outside doors with porches or balconies. That is a lot of posts to refinish or replace. As mentioned in the previous blog, I had replacement posts turned by an expert woodturner.

To strip turned posts, I bought a plastic flat storage container just longer than the posts and wide enough to hold several posts. I poured enough Citrisrip (about 1 large bottle) in the container to come 1/2 way up on the sides of the several posts and sealed it with the lid. I soaked the posts for several hours turning them over from time to time. After the paint bubbled and lifted, I took each post and scrapped off as much paint as possible into a separate container then returned the posts to the plastic container to soak again in the stripper. When most of the paint was loosened and wiped or scrapped away, I rinsed off the posts and let them dry. I used a utility knife or any other tool that worked to dig paint out of creases. I sanded the posts with a Makita BO5010 5-inch Hook & Loop Random Orbit Sander (one of my favorite tools). I hand sanded any places that the sander could not touch.

To strip woodwork or doors, I used plastic drop cloths. I folded the drop cloth once and laid the door on it. I then painted the door using Klean-Strip® Strip-X® Stripper. I folded the drop cloth around the door to let the sripper soak into the paint. Every half hour or so, I would rewet the door with another coat of stripper. A couple of hours later the paint lifted as the stripper soaked through the paint to the door’s surface. The plastic helps keep the stripper from drying out. I found Jasco® stripper dried too fast for this method, but works great for a first coat to get the stripping started. Be patient and let the stripper do the work! After a couple of hours, I unfolded the drop cloth and used a 3 or 4-inch spackle knife to scrape off the paint. Sometimes I used a small chisel for hard-to-scrap places. Repeat the process until most of the paint is removed then sand. For woodwork, I painted it with stripper and cut strips of a drop cloth and covered the stripper-covered moldings. The wet stripper held the plastic in place. I would pull back the plastic and rewet the molding with more stripper from time to time until the paint bubbled down to the bare wood.

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