We just stripped all the brass hardware / knobs on all our doors. We
boiled them in water for 20minutes to 1/2 hour and the paint wiped off
fine. Polished them up and sprayed on a clear laquer (sp). Perfect.
This project will be trial and error. The original finish is probably
shellac or lacquer. Polyurethane is also possible.
Things to try, in order:
* Heat - Use a hair drier to heat up the paint. Paint gets softer when
it's hot. Scrape carefully, maybe just with a fingernail. If you get it
too hot, the old finish will come off too. Don't use a paint stripping
* Gentle abrasion - Maybe really fine sandpaper will do it for you.
Try 1000 grit wet/dry sandpaper with water.
* Scraping - Heck--maybe just some judicious work with a knife will do
* Solvents - Experiment with different solvents to see what dissolves
the paint but not the original finish. Test the original finish in a
hidden spot. Denatured alcohol might dissolve latex paint or shellac,
but won't touch much else.
* Strippers - Paint stripper will take off pretty much anything, but
it will get the original finish too. See what happens if you take off
*all* the finish on the back. Does the antiqueing come off too? If not,
strip the sucker and spray it with polyurethane.
* Replacement - How much is your time worth? Get a new one.
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