Stripping paint on moldings and right angles

Hi everyone,
I am stripping a large amount of trim, baseboard and molding to the wood.
What is the best way to get in to the tight angles, like where 2 pieces meet at a right angle? I have a palm sander, an orbital, and a Black and Decker "Mouse" and none of the get right in there. Is there a special tool?
What is the best way to sand the moldings? None of the power sanders fit in to the spaces. I remember seeing somewhere a drill attachment that had a series of flexible "fingers" on it that looked like it might be effective.
Thanks for your opinions!
Ryan
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tool?
brush on a light coat of stripper?
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Group: alt.home.repair Date: Sat, Nov 29, 2003, 8:53am (CST+6) From: snipped-for-privacy@NOSPAMearthlink.net (TheChairman) Hi everyone, I am stripping a large amount of trim, baseboard and molding to the wood. What is the best way to get in to the tight angles, like where 2 pieces meet at a right angle? I have a palm sander, an orbital, and a Black and Decker "Mouse" and none of the get right in there. Is there a special tool? What is the best way to sand the moldings? None of the power sanders fit in to the spaces. I remember seeing somewhere a drill attachment that had a series of flexible "fingers" on it that looked like it might be effective. Thanks for your opinions! Ryan
=============================== Sure hope you don't have any lead paint "issues". BTW is the moulding worth saving or have you not thought of just replacing it with new trim. Al
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Power tools are probably not the right way to go with this sort of work. Chemical strippers will get a lot of it but not everything. A heat gun may be a better choice but each situation is different. It really dpends on how many coats of paint there are and what the fist coat was (shellac, paint, stain?). Nothing will get everything the first time. I almost always end up with sandpaper wraped around small tools, spoons, scrapers, etc. to get the last bit.
Greg
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The Chairman wrote:

What is a "large amount"? One room? 15 room house? Semi-paste (not water wash) paint remover will do the trick. I would start with it, at least in the crevaces, and finish up with the sanding if you don't have lead paint. If you have lead paint, stripper and proper disposal is the best method. Semi-paste has to "work" for a while, which you can follow with cleaning with an old toothbrush to get into tight spots, and letting it work a while longer before removing it. Often takes three applications if there are multiple coats of paint. It can be scraped off and re-used, except for the final appl., which should be clean. Toothpicks, large darning needles, seafood picks, etc., can be used to get the softened paint out of cracks. Scrape off the major part of the stripper, wipe with med. coarse steel wool, scrub with med. steel wool and mineral spirits, dry with old rags or paper towels. Repeat applications until all paint is gone.
Sanding through multiple coats of paint will probably cost as much as paint stripper. Unless it is old molding, and not replaceable, it is likely cheaper to tear it out and put in new.
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I redid a lot of old moldings and found the best way was to remove them, being careful not to split them, before attacking the paint. Both paint removal and refinishing are a lot easier on the workbench.
The Chairman wrote:

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My husband and I are stripping a large amount of trim, baseboard, and molding ourselves. We've heard our share of "rip it out." We have plaster walls and removing the molding is simply not an option, as handy as a dip and strip solution would be.
Happily a lot of our molding is perfectly flat and not difficult to sand at all. It's the window mullions and colonial casings with the angles and ridges that are hard to get into, and corners, of course. The worst is that the chemical strippers lead to a lot of stripped paint collecting in the ridges and corners which I have been painstakingly trying to remove with a combination scraper.
The best I can think of at the moment are the angled sanding blocks made by 3M and the like, and trying to flush or wash the corners with liquid -- not semi-paste -- stripper and a flannel or cotton cloth or even a cotton swab.
Good luck.
Holly Pepperell, MA
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Holly wrote:

I'm curious why moldings can't be removed from plastered walls. I've done some with no apparent problems. Did I miss something?
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I used a heat gun to strip the chestnut trim on my old house. Get one of the test kits for lead paint first. You don't want to use anything but chemical stripping if you have lead paint. (Sanding is probably even worse than the heat gun, especially if you don't get the old paint too hot.)
If you end up needing to remove the trim, try punching the nails through the back of the trim: just take a nailset, put in on the head of each finishing nail and pound it the rest of the way through the trim. On painted trim, sometimes you need to pry the trim away from the wall just a bit to locate the nails.
Bill

wood.
tool?
in
effective.
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Thanks to all those who responded. So far, there has been no magic answer. What is becoming quite apparent is that elbow grease, patience and time are the only real ways to do it.
My plan for the rest of the house is to use a combination of heat gun-age and chemical solvents, and I am going to try to do as little sanding as possible. Even though the sanding feels more "satisfying" to me, I will restrain myself and try to preserve as much of the old wood patina and grain (1900 - 1920s) as possible.
Anyway, a big thanks to all who responded. Each post was helpful.
Ryan
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