newbie- paint removal from old decorative fireplace mantle

I have to remove about 50 years of paint from a fireplace mantle-
I'm looking at:
1. heat gun 2. Chemical peel
here's the caveats- 1. the house is old and 100% likely has lead paint prior to 1979 and 75% likely has lead paint prior to 1958. 2. I got the floors redone first (long story) and I can't let any chemical get on the new floors obviously.
Amateurs told me the heat gun is the only way to fly. what do you pros suggest? links to sites with FAQs and other help?
If this works, I'm doing all my wood trim, esp doors, jambs and frames.
thanks!!!
Don
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Not a real good idea: it's slow, and you risk burning the wood. You also need to use a putty knife or paint scraper in conjunction with the heat gun, and thus there's some additional risk of gouging the wood.

Works great. Just make sure you have plenty of ventilation, use eye protection, and wear chemical-resistant gloves.

That makes the heat gun an even worse idea. You *don't* want to be cooking lead paint inside your house.

Heavy polyethylene sheeting to protect the floors.

Naaah. Heat guns don't really work all that well for removing paint, compared to chemical strippers.

Even more reason to use a chemical stripper instead of a heat gun. The multiple inside corners created by the stop strips on door jambs will be very difficult to get paint out of with a heat gun and putty knife, and while you're trying to heat the paint in the inside corner, you're burning the outside corner that's only half an inch away.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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wrote:

there's a chemical stripper that comes with a paper backing that's used on boats. when you remove the backing, the stripper and old paint sometimes go with it.
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Try, alt.home.repair
However, it would depend on just how ornate the wood is, and how was I planing to refinish it. If it is very ornate, I would remove the mantle and have it professionally stripped. If its not to ornate, I'd just chemically strip it in place. Simple decorations, remove and make a new one.
Dave

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