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How to Remove Paint from Wood

Priya Johnson Jun 23, 2019
Removing paint from wooden furniture can be quite a daunting task. Before you get the old paint job off, you cannot proceed to the fresh, new coat of paint. By moving one step at a time, you can carry out this paint stripping job with minimum effort.
Wood is used in the construction of houses, furniture, boats, ships, toys, etc. With a fresh coat of paint, the piece of wood simply takes on a splendid appearance.
However, the paint applied does not hold on forever, and sooner or later begins to peel off, leaving the furniture looking all dull and unsightly. Paint removal can be a cumbersome process, but is an inevitable task.

Removing Paint from Wooden Furniture

The older a piece of furniture gets, the higher will be its sentimental value. Some folks possess wooden furniture passed down from their ancestors. The problem arises when this furniture loses its paint.
Specks of paint eaten away here and there gives it an unappealing appearance. Repainting is the best solution, however, before this is done, there is another feat to be accomplished―the earlier paint has to be removed.

Step 1: Protective Gear

Putting on the appropriate gear is the first step that needs to be undertaken before any cleaning process. Gloves, mask, a pair of goggles, full-sleeved shirt, and a pair of old pants are requisites to such a paint removal job.
The paint stripper used to remove paint can be quite harsh on the skin and eyes, which is why it is important to observe different precautionary measures.

Step 2: Ventilated Area

The best place to begin stripping paint off wooden furniture would be the outdoors. However, if you do not have this facility, open all the windows of the room and leave the fan on. The basic point to be remembered is that the room should be well ventilated.

Step 3: Methylene Chloride Application

After dusting the dirt off the piece of furniture, apply methyl chloride solution onto the areas where the paint still exists. If you want you could add some wax to the methylene chloride solution. By adding wax, the evaporation rate of methylene chloride solution can be slowed down a bit.
Since methylene chloride is a strong chemical it needs to be handled carefully, so, make sure you follow the instructions mentioned on the tin to the tee.

Step 4: Paint Dissolution

Use a paint brush to gently spread the methylene chloride solution all over the paint-adhering areas. For the corners use a toothbrush. Brush only in one direction and avoid splashing the solution around.
Cover the wood with wax paper. This prevents methylene chloride from evaporating quickly, thereby giving it more time to work on the paint. If you do not have wax paper, cover the furniture with a plastic sheet.

Step 5: Final Removal

When the paint has softened, bubbles will emerge on the surface. This is the indication that it's time to scrape. Peel off the wax paper or plastic sheet and use a paint scraper or plastic spatula to scrape off the paint from the wooden surface. A gooey material will come off.
Clean the wood with a clean rag that has been dunked in mineral spirit. You will have your wooden furniture free of paint and ready to be freshly painted upon.
If the paint doesn't seem to budge, do not scrape harder. This will only damage the wood. For stubborn patches of paint, just apply a second coat of methylene chloride. Once you are done, carefully discard the scraped debris. Check with your local hazardous waste office to find out how it needs to be disposed.
If you are dealing with antique furniture, then, it's better to contact professionals to get the job done. It's not wise to risk a piece of ancient family history for a few dollars. All the best!