Bamboo and water?!

I am trying to strip a black coating off of bamboo. (made in the Philappeans 60 years ago). I have tried alcohol, acetone, and lacquer thinner. None touch it. Next thing to try is Paint and Varnish Stripper (unless anyone has other suggestions). It say to hose the stuff off after application. How will bamboo react to being hosed off?!
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Most of that "less expensive" stuff was finished with some blend of lacquer. It may have enough Pledge (silicones, etc.) of Johnson's wax (carnuaba and in some blends silicones), Trewax, or anything else that has been applied over the years to skew a test on the finish.
The classic test for lacquer is to put a big drop on the finish and see if it dissolves over a 15 - 30 minute period. But if there were some post catalysing agents added... no telling. Some of the post cats are really hard.
Try to find an inconspicuous place, and put a small piece of cotton cloth soaked with lacquer thinner on it and leave it for an hour. If that starts to melt the finish you know what you have.

Old, completely dried organic materials usually don't do well being "hosed" off.
Regardless of what your testing might find for you, you can probably get the old finish off with Bix in the orange/black can. I think it is called K5 or something like that and is available at HD. Stripease makes a pretty good stripper too at the top of their product line. It is the one that comes out of the can pinkish orange.
When I refinish old organic surfaces (read: wood doors and jambs) I use different strippers, but you will find your technique holds the key to successful stripping. Go down to the library or bookstore and check out the old method of using sawdust as your abrasive to clean off melted material rather an using a putty knife.
After stripping and sanding, I use a rag soaked in the cheapest, crappy lacquer thinner I can find like Crown or Sunnyvale to clean the surface. Clean evenly and don't leave any buildup behind and you will get a good, bondable substrate using that method.
Robert
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Mon, Aug 13, 2007, 5:56pm (EDT+4) snipped-for-privacy@Yahoo.com (Toller) doth query: <snip> How will bamboo react to being hosed off?!
From what I've seen, it won't say anything, just lie there and dry off.
Wouldn't it be less expensive, and a lot easier, to just buy some bamboo?
I've seen it used in the Orient for water wheels and it holds up well. If it didn't, they wouldn't use it.
JOAT I do things I don't know how to do, so that I might learn how to do them. - Picasso
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