Removing Several Layers of Paint From a 4X6 Back Porch

For years I have been repainting (not staining) this porch about once a year and not worrying too much about appearance (uneven paint layers, blistering.) Today I decided I would "do it right." (Not so sure that was a good idea.) The porch appears to consist of oak tongue and groove. There has been some shrinkage so it will be necessary to fill some deep cracks, some as wide as 1/4". As for the paint removal, large areas can be lifted off with a putty knife, but other large areas remain unmovable. The wood surface is generally in good condition and I don't see a lot of surface or other rot. The boards really don't need to be replaced. As there are several layers of paint, I have ruled out use of a liquid remover, which brings me either to burning or use of a floor sander. (It's a fairly small area.) What are your thoughts? I don't really see using a standard propane torch as I think it would take too long. (Is there any better tool for burning off paint?) And I am concerned that the floor sander might not get through all the layers. (If a floor sander is an option, what size should I get and what grit of sandpaper?) I don't need to end up with a really smooth finish, anything would be better than what I have! It's a can of worms all right but I'll enjoy seeing it look better in the end. Thanks as always for your help! Frank
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I have something like this - (Amazon.com product link shortened)
Hold it over the surface for 6-10 seconds, then scrape. It works best when there are multiple layers of paint. Leave the loose paint on before heating - it keeps the underlining wood from burning. I use a thin bladed putty "knife" as a scraper.
Bob
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