Painting over rough, paint-stripped brick - how to cover with primer?

I raised this problem in another section, but have a new angle that I think needs to be addressed seperatly. The problem is that in thinking I could get our painted fireplace back to its original brick, I could use a paint stripper and all would be good. All is not good. It just made a mess, and did get off some paint but not enough. The first try was with a citrus based stripper. I tried again with a more industrial type that burned through my gloves, but still didn't get off enough paint. I am now just trying to get the brick to be clean and smooth enough to repaint. The strippers left little chucks of paint all over the brick, and spots where it will still peel off a bit. I tried hand sanding some, which didnt help much. I am thinking of using a palm sander on it, but I'm still not convinced this will work. I just want to prime it and paint it, but if I do that now it will look rough and will probably start to peel off eventually. I have been told that a strong primer like "Gripper" should be good, and maybe if I use several coats, this will help, and at this point I'll try just about anything.
Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
Thank you, Turaco
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Clean it as best you can , wash it and wait maybe a week for the chemicals to air out. On interior brick with quality paint no primer is realy needed, a Limestone -concrete color you can lighten with white to get it to look like stone is Ben Moore Briarwood. I would not leave any chunks, clean it well or all the crap will show through.
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Purchase yourself a nice stiff steel brush. Unless the finish on the brick is extremely soft, which is doubtful around the fireplace, you should be able to brush most of the loose materials away. Rinse well and wait 5-7 days before painting.
If you are careful, purchase a steel brush attachment for your drill to remove the remaining paint. I say be careful because if you are not you could do more damage than good. Make slow progress until you get the feel of it.
Just a thought, can't say as I've tried either of these suggestions.
JD
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