Wood finishing provides a protective surface that stabilizes wood, preventing dirt and bacteria from accumulating in the wood openings and making the wood more visually appealing. However, there comes a time when woodworkers have to remove the finish. Strippers are used to soften the finish on wood to remove the wood finish. After the stripper has softened the finish enough to remove it, you should scrape off the finish and stripper, after the stripper has sat for 10 minutes.
Things You'll Need
Test to see whether the finish is ready to come off the wood by scraping the finish lightly. When the finish comes off easily, the wood is ready. Otherwise, wait for a few more minutes and then try to lightly scrape off the finish again. Also, try adding more stripper to speed up the process. If the finish isn’t coming off after 30 minutes, you aren’t using a strong enough stripper.
Scrape the wood with a wooden scraper to remove the stripper and finish from the wood. The scraper may not move all the finish and stripper.
Scrub the wood with No. 00 steel wool to remove traces of finish from the pores in the wood. After scrubbing the wood thoroughly, rinse the wood down with naphtha and lacquer thinner. Leave the wood alone for 24 hours.
Brush the areas that are difficult to reach with a stiff brush. Some areas are raised, recessed or curved, making them difficult to scrape.
Tips & Warnings
- The speed at which it takes the finish to come off the wood depends on how thick the finish is and its age. Older finishes come off more easily than new ones.
- Do not use metal scrapers to remove the finish and stripper off the wood because the metal scrapers will leave indents that won’t be noticeable during the scraping process, but become more noticeable after the new finish is applied.
- After stripping the wood, do not sand it. The sanding will make the wood splotchy and uneven.
- The stripper may dry before you can remove it from the wood. Add more stripper to soften up the finish again, but only wait five minutes before trying to scrape.
- Do not use the scraper like a chisel and try to chip the finish off. Make sure the stripper is doing most of the work removing the finish.
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