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View JustAWS's profile

Removing paint on old furniture (refinishing project)

by JustAWS
posted 11-12-2018 03:52 PM

5 replies so far

View Rich's profile


5997 posts in 1475 days

#1 posted 11-12-2018 04:13 PM

A cabinet scraper is the best bet for getting into the corners. You can pick one up for a few bucks and watch some videos on how to set a burr on it and the proper way to use it. It’ll make lots of your work easier than sanding.

For the separating parts, yes, just inject some glue and clamp it up.

I can’t help you with the gouges without seeing them. A photo would help.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View bilyo's profile


1167 posts in 1988 days

#2 posted 11-15-2018 07:41 PM

You have put a lot of time and effort into this project. What you needed to start was a stronger stripper. With all the layers of unknown finishes, I think about the only products that will do a good job are those that contain methylene chloride, like Kleen Strip. Although most of the work is done, a product like this will help you finish it up allowing you to get all of the old finishes out of the corners and crevices. A scraper like Rich suggested will also be helpful in removing the softened finish after the chemical has done its work. Just carefully follow the directions on the container. This can be nasty stuff. Dress for it with safety glasses, rubber gloves, and do the work in a well ventilated area; outdoors if you can. This is also a messy process. So protect yourself and all the surrounding surfaces including the floor.

For the joints that are coming apart, if you can take them all the way apart without damaging anything further, that would be best. You can then clean off the old glue and get new glue on all mating surfaces. If you can’t do it with out breaking something then, as Rich suggested, just get glue on as much of the contact surfaces as you can and clamp it together.

For the gouges; only you can decide if they are severe enough to be filled. With a coarse grained wood like oak, they may not be obvious enough to bother filling. Otherwise, as you are applying the stripper, use a stiff brush like an old toothbrush, to clean out the gouge. Then when it has dried, use some 5 minute epoxy to slightly over fill the gouge. Then sand smooth. If you like, add a small amount of fine sanding dust to the epoxy to give some color. If you are going to use stain before finishing, you may not need to color the epoxy. Experiment.

View HokieKen's profile


15158 posts in 2024 days

#3 posted 11-15-2018 08:00 PM

I’m with bilyo. I’ve refinished a few pieces both painted and stained. I’ve learned to use stripper and if it doesn’t work, try a different one. And the “environmentally friendly” ones… don’t usually work nearly as well. I’ve had good success with Kleen Strip and Jasco strippers.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View OSU55's profile


2658 posts in 2875 days

#4 posted 11-15-2018 09:01 PM

Yep the metheme chloride strippers are the only way to go, and a hand scraper to remove the corners etc. I did a lot of this years ago. Its one of the reasons I decided to make my own furniture – lot of nasty work and was never completely pleased with the end result. I still have some pieces I did 25+ yrs ago.

View WoodenDreams's profile


1164 posts in 796 days

#5 posted 11-16-2018 05:29 AM

There are finishing and paint strippers on the market. A friend of ours bought a house with built-in hardwood cabinets & trim moldings in each room was painted over. he used a liquid stripper, let it soak, then used a card scraper. No sanding needed. Took him 6 months to do 7 rooms, but WOW, What a awesome difference & raised the value of his house.

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