In the workshop- Secrets and Tips to Stripping Furniture Part 2


If you read part one of this series, you know that I gave you 10 different secrets and/or tips to help you successfully strip paint or finishes from furniture.  Ideally, at this point, you have have applied citristrip and have been able to scrape most of it off.

At this point, you can determine whether or not to proceed with the next step or if you need to apply another coat of stripper.  If you  have at least 95% of the wood free from paint or finish, then we can move on to the next step.  Yay!  If it is not the case, apply another round of stripper to those areas where paint or the finish is still adhering to your furniture.  You can catch up with us later!

When most people get to this point, they reach a level of frustration.  Although it is easy to scrape the decomposed paint/finish off the flat portions of your furniture, this definitely isn’t true for the curved legs, spindles, intricately carved areas on your furniture.   There is undoubtedly this tacky, gooey, gummy, gunky remnant of stripper/paint/finisher stuck in these various places to your furniture.  This same tacky, gooey, gummy, gunky substance is also probably stuck to the bottom of your shoes.  It is likely on your gloves.

Getting rid of this gummy gunk can be vexing.

Here is what I do to get through this process.

1. Make sure you cover the ground under your furniture with a drop cloth, sheet, newspaper or brown kraft paper. Work in a well ventilated area.  I usually work in the garage with the door open or outside on the driveway.

2. Get out two types of steel wool.  One variety rated “0” and another variety rated “00”

3. Get a container of odorless mineral spirits or denatured alcohol.  I prefer the denatured alcohol – because I think it works better.

4. Douse the “0” rated steel wool in mineral spirits/denatured alcohol and rub down your entire piece of furniture.  You will likely go through a good number of steel wool pads. That’s ok.  Clean off as much of the gunk that you can using this process.

5. Using a toothbrush/toothpicks/ Q tips and mineral spirits/denatured alcohol, clean away any gunk from areas on your furniture with carvings or intricate details.

6. Go over the entire piece of furniture again using “00” steel wool  and mineral spirits/denatured alcohol applying the same methodology described in number 4.

7. At this point, your furniture should be free and clear of paint or finish. It should also be completely clear of any gooey gummy gunk!!  (Tip: I also check the bottom of my shoes to see if they need to be wiped down because tracking this gooey gummy gunk all over your house and rugs is a disaster.)

8. Using a large bucket of warm soapy water (I use liquid dish detergent) and a rag, wipe down the entire piece of furniture.  Go over it well with the damp rag and repeat this process until you feel your piece of furniture is clean. Let your piece of furniture dry overnight.  Seriously. It’s tempting to try to move past letting your furniture dry completely.  I find it is best to let your piece of furniture dry out completely.

9. The next day, lightly sand down your piece of furniture. I usually use 200 or 220 grit sand paper.  There may be some final specks of paint or finish on the furniture and the sand paper usually removes these last little remnants.  Wipe down your piece of furniture to remove any dust from sanding.

10. You are ready to paint or stain your piece of furniture!!!

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