How To Strip The Old Paint Layer Off Wooden Furniture

Sometimes, you need to clean up your old furniture, restoring its aspect. Thus, you would need to get rid of that old paint layer which is not easy since we are talking about wood. However, in my opinion, I think that the old paint layer can be removed. Thus, stay with us and keep reading because it is an interesting topic for many of you.

There are 3 main methods for removing old paint or lacquer coatings that cover the furniture:

– grinding
– sanding
– chemical cleaning

1. Grinding

This is similar to the wood, with white grinding. You can use a coarse abrasive paper with grains of 60 and 80. It can be done manually or by machine. Manual grinding involves a lot of work because the paint coat has fixed itself well in time and is not very easy to remove. However, the manual is easier to reach in narrower or hidden spaces, and abrasive materials can be adapted for such places (abrasive sponges, narrow abrasive strips).

Mechanical grinding greatly reduces the effort, making the machine all the work. Small, hand-held or industrial grinding machines with abrasive tape can be used. It is a useful method for large flat surfaces, but harder to use when we have objects with curves, sculptures, milling or patterns that prevent the machine from reaching the wood.

After the paint coat has been removed, the surface is wiped with a thinner to remove remaining traces. Then, you can do the wood grinding exactly as when grinding in white, using finer abrasive paper – 150 or 180 – to remove the high fiber and prepare the wood for the next finish.

The disadvantages of grinding are the high consumption of workmanship and materials (bands and abrasive paper are quickly collapsing and need to be replaced to make them effective) and the impossibility of reaching hidden and very narrow places.

2. The sanding

It was originally used to clean the rust and old paint layers. Over time, the method has also been used in the wood industry. Thus, it was used not only to clean the old layer but also to structure the wood. In fact, it is now mainly used for this purpose, the wood having the appearance of one that has been out for a long time outside (such as the old fence boards).

It is also an abrasion cleaning, only in this case fine abrasive granules are splashed on the cleaning surface with a special gun. The cleaning is done very well, behind the wood remaining clean and fine, without requiring any other polishing. You can use sandblasting agent sand, but other materials (walnut shells, small corn, etc.) can also be used.

The disadvantage of the method is that special equipment is needed and the one who makes the sandblasting must be appropriately equipped and trained in the field.

3. Chemical Cleaning

This implies a chemical action on the paint layer, not a mechanical one such as the above. On the old paint layer, there is a solvent – more or less aggressive – or even more aggressive substances such as acids (hydrochloric acid derivatives) or bases (caustic soda) to soften it and make it possible to remove it. For DIY projects, you can find in specialized stores the pickling materials that have a medium aggressiveness to be used without great risk.

The way of working is simple. The decanter is applied with the brush on the painted surface and left to act for a period. If persistence is aggressive, some minutes are enough. If it is a very slow solvent you will have to let it work for 10-12 hours, perhaps even 24. The substance will soften the paint layer and then clean it with a scraper. You can use a spatula without problems. When the substance is aggressive, the paint layer swells, so removal is easier. With the diluent, the material only softens.

If the layer was not completely removed the first time, the operation can be resumed 2-3 times until total removal. The surface is then wiped with a cloth dampened in the diluent, then sanded as if polished. If there are dark stains on the surface that you want to remove, use whitening and discoloration methods.

WARNING: If you used special pickling substances, you may need further neutralization. The used substance should have instructions for use and indicate what the support should neutralize in order not to influence the future finish layer.

In addition to these methods, the paint can also be removed with the wire brush by heating with a heat source (hair dryer) and removing the layer soaked with the squeegee or by direct burning with a burner. They are, however, less and less used, the best being the ones from the above.

If you have correctly and completely removed the old paint layer, it means that the wood is ready for a new experience. It’s like a fresh, clean cloth awaiting the painter. Good luck!

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