Limited re-finishing


How can I strip the polyurethane coating and the walnut stain from ONLY the TOP of my coffee table WITHOUT affecting the sides and legs?
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snipped-for-privacy@co.riverside.ca.us wrote:

Good luck. Most of the stuff that will chew through poly are very aggressive and won't stop stripping exactly where you want.
I would think your best bet would be to strip all the way out the edges, leaving a band of finish where seepage or removed material may seep, leak, or be pushed into the area you don't want.
Then you could sand the areas remaining clean.
Or you could sand the whole thing.
BTW, if it is a factory finish, it most likely is not polyurethane. Probably tinted catalized lacquer.
Robert
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How can I tell if it's tinted catalized lacquer or polyurethane? Will a stripper remove both? (Can you recommend a brand name of the stripper?)
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snipped-for-privacy@co.riverside.ca.us wrote:

If the table is from a factory, you can almost bet it is lacquer. To make sure, (this assumes that one way or another you will be removing this finish!) put a dot/drop of lacquer thinner on the finish. Wait about 15 minutes. If it dissolves the finish it is lacquer. Wait times may vary as you could have a lot of different waxes, silicones, etc., built up from waxing and dusting. You might get lucky here and find a test area in an inconspicuous spot if you are not really ready to commit to this test.
If it doesn't dissolve, it is something else, and that something else could be anything.
To decide which stripper I use, I scrape my pocket knife along the finish with the blade at 90 degrees to the top/finish. If it scratches easily >to the wood< and the scraping reaveals that the finish is brittle, then the finish is shot. No reason to bring in the artillery on the stripper. An old standby of mine is the BIX in the orange can (K3?) that will get that stuff off easily. The main ingredients are methyl chloride and methanol. Others are in there, but that is what does the work.
If you have a harder or more durable finish, you may want to use the something like the StripEase brand of heavy duty finish remover. Flip the can around and read the ingredients. There is a name for the stuff that is methyl chloride plus all the nasties like, acetone, xylene, toluene and methyl alcohol. While both strippers are nasty stuff, this one will knock you down with the fumes. But it will break the bonds on just about anything so you can get it off. But you should only use it if needed, and I think that you should be fine with the BIX.
Go get yourself some nitrile gloves, and a fumes rated (organic vapor) mask no matter which one of those you choose. All strippers are dangerous, and it requires safety precautions.
Got a good snort out of the naysayers of label cautions on another thread. I would invite any of those scoffers to have this stuff on their skin for just a few (on a hot day, just a couple) of minutes. Work in a well ventilated area with your tools all laid out, and a good home for the old goopy finish. I use contractor trash bags or cheap containers from the dollar store.
Be sure and follow the instructions and neutralize or wash the surface after stripping. Don't allow your surface with the stripper on it to dry out while it is working. If you have a dry spot and the rest of the door is fine while the stripper is working, just paint a little more on that spot. Use a cheap chip brush on the application as these materials will dissolve many types of nylon and polyester bristle brushes.
Allow the wood to dry thoroughly after removal so that you don't cut into it when you are sanding. To get the last bits of old finish, or micro particles of finish out of the grain, wipe down with a rag with lacquer thinner on it before finishing.
Some of the non volatile acid based strippers (water based) I hear work well. I don't have 4-8 hours to give to the stripper for it to do its work. And then some of them don't work well anyway. But they are much less dangerous, and some of them even smell like oranges.
Let us know how you do!
Robert
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On 9 Jun 2006 00:12:07 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Mmmm. The orange stuff is nice, but it takes a bit more time and work. I had to lay it on with a brush, then cover the area with tinfoil so it didn't dry before it ate through the paint on some walnut built-ins I was refinishing. Took off seven layers of latex and oil-based paints, though- and it smelled good, too. It won't remove analine dye that has soaked into the wood.
That being said, it's too much of a crap shoot to use any chemical if you don't want runs getting on the sides and legs, though. I'd go with the card scraper- then it doesn't matter what the finish is, and there is no toxic goo to clean up. I like the Lie-Neilson ones, myself- for about $7, nothing I've found does a nicer job. I've got a couple of Sandviks as well, but they're too f*#%ing hard to roll a burr on unless you're carrying a vise on the jobsite. If you want to save some wear and tear on your hands, you might want to get a scraper holder that sets the bow for you, and keeps the heat away from your thumbs.

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Prometheus wrote:
SNIP

SNIP
Which one was that? I have heard of these working, but never taking off 7 layers of anything. Was that at one time? That could be a neat tool in the box for later use.
Robert
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On 9 Jun 2006 16:32:25 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

It was about 6 years ago, but I believe the name was Citri-strip. Came in a translucent plastic jug and was an almost neon orange color. Also used to (and probably still does) come in pressurized spray cans, which I thought was kind of nifty, as it foamed nicely and stuck better to vertical surfaces.
To get the seven layers off (yes, I counted them...) in one shot it did require the tinfoil. Trying to get it to soak that deep while exposed to air would take off one or two layers of paint at a time at best, and was likely to dry up and start acting more like an adhesive than a stripper. I generally did a second coat of the stripper the next day and let it sit for 1/4-1/2 hour to get the last little bit of gunk stuck in the cracks out, but it was a very useful tool overall- I stripped two built-ins that covered a 14' by 8'6" wall each and two pairs of arts-and-crafts style square pillars with attendant trim with the stuff, and I'd use it again without complaint.
Your previous point was right on the mark, though- it does take quite a bit longer. I was doing a lot of work on the place, and would apply a coat in the morning, cover in tinfoil, go on to something else for most of the day, and then come back to strip the area at the end of the day. It was generally loose enough that most of the paint came off stuck to the foil, and the rest scraped very nicely. Being sort of thrifty, I'd usually give the foil a quick shake over the garbage can right away, and just reuse it for the next area.
Not the quick solution, but much more pleasant to work with- still worth wearing gloves for, but it smelled good and didn't require an organic vapor mask to use... The client was paying for it, so I don't recall if it cost more than the other stuff or not. It's one of those things where you can earn brownie points with the right client by being 'green', which often more than makes up for the extra time- along with the lower amount of wear and tear on the lungs.
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Prometheus wrote:
card scraper......

carrying a vise to the jobsite is no big deal if you have the right vise. try a saw filing vise. it's perfect for the task.
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A saw horse, a short length of 2x4, a C clamp = jobsite vise.

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Good advice, if I ever could manage to remember to bring my c-clamps along. One of the major perils of doing this as both a hobby and a job is that it's very easy to nab work tools to use in the home shop, and then forget them on the bench. C-Clamps are one of those things that always get left behind, and the F-clamps are just too big to mess around with for a little scraper.
My usual method with the Lie-Neilsons is to seat them in one of the inevitable saw kerfs on my horses and burnish. The Sandviks usually just slide out on me doing that- they are nice once you get them tuned, though.
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On 9 Jun 2006 17:32:03 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I'll check that out- thanks!
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On 8 Jun 2006 23:29:09 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@co.riverside.ca.us wrote:

When if comes to chemical strippers, it's easy to tell the good from the bad. If the can features pictures of bunnies, lambs, clouds, and words like "safe" or "friendly", save your money, it'll be useless. If you see skull & crossbones, plus "danger", "poison", and "highly corrosive", that's the stuff you want. Add a face shield, organic vapor respirator, heavy nitrile gloves and you'll be all set.
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Bill wrote:

I guess you've never used PeelAway. They have several formulations and the couple I've used have worked great. I've seen people do whole clapboard houses with the stuff with the fabric laid over it to keep it from drying out too quickly. When they pull the fabric off it pulls all of the layers of paint with it. There's a minor amount of scraping afterwards, but it does an amazing job. There are formulations that remove epoxies and polyurethanes, others for latex and oil paints, etc.
The nicest thing is that it isn't canned death. If it makes you feel any better, you're still supposed to wear gloves and a respirator (though many people don't).
R
R
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wrote:

No, I haven't. I'll look for it the next time I absolutely, positively have to strip something. I just hope SWMBO doesn't find out about it, though. "Canned death" is something I use to get out of some stripping jobs. "I'd love to refinish that for you dear, but a heat gun would damage it, and you know how poisonous those chemicals are..."
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snipped-for-privacy@co.riverside.ca.us wrote:

How about sanding?
BjarteR
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snipped-for-privacy@co.riverside.ca.us wrote:

card scraper
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

That would be my first choice to remove the finish and most of the stain. Then to bring it down to bare wood with a smooth finish ready for refinishing, a touch of sanding.
R
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I took " snipped-for-privacy@aol.com" suggestion and used Jasco's Premium Paint & Epoxy Remover because it:
1. "removes tough and easy coatings including paint, epoxy, urethane, latex, lacquers" 2. is "fast-acting in 5-15 minutes" 3. "removes "multiple coats with one application".
I used a new paint brush to flow the remover on in a thick coat in one direction. I waited 15 minutes (until surface was blistered) and I removed the finish with a plastic spatula.
ALL OF JASCO's CLAIMS WERE LIES!! After following the above process FOUR times, almost all of the original finish remained.
I then used a DeWalt Heavy-Duty 1/4-Sheet Palm Grip Sander. I started with 80-grit sandpaper and it removed ALL of the finish very quickly and cleanly. I then used a 150-grit sandpaper and finished with a 220-grit sandpaper. FANTASTIC RESULTS!!
Jasco wasted my money and wasted my time. It should be ashamed and embarrassed to sell such a worthless product.
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