Paint Removal on a Hoosier

Hello all. I am in the process of restoring an old hoosier style cabinet. Has a tag on the front that says Napanee on on half and Coppes-Inc on the other. What product would you guys suggest to remove the layers of paint that has been applied to it over the many years. I have the top part of the cabinet already dissasembled and have already tried a spray called "Tuf Strip" which did so-so and a gel stuff that wasn't worth the time opening the jug it came in. My heat gun worked the best but that last layer just won't budge. The cabinet is made of oak and from what I can tell it was originally painted white with possibly the milk based paint used during that era. I'd like to find something that would lift the paint out of the grain if that's possible. I have refinished several pieces over the years but nothing which was painted. It would be nice to restore it to natural oak but if I have to paint it back white I guess that's what I'll do. This cabinet is not being restored to sell but just to put in our house. But something has to be done to it before that will ever happen. :) Right now it's pretty hidious to say the least.Here is a pic of it if you would like to see it. http://www.flickr.com/photos/32092861@N08/2997742579/in/photostream /
Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
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tal7901 wrote:

I'd use a methylene chloride based stripper such as Klean-Strip KS-3 Premium. See:
http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?&catalogId053&productId0144685&marketIDf&categoryIDP0468
--
Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
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I have to agree with Jack. Part of my business is refinishing, and that's about the best over the counter product out there. The BIX products sometimes work where that one won't.
A couple of thoughts. Go to the library and find a book that shows how to remove the stripper with coarse sawdust and a brush. For tougher finishes, that's the ticket. Hard yellow pine sawdust from a dull, few toothed saw blade is the stuff. I get it from a local lumberyard where they saw up boards for homeowners.
With the sawdust as your pore cleaner and abrasive, a stiff brush will grind the sawdust into and out of the pores. It cleans them out, and picks up the old finish and spent stripper in one shot. Plan on lots of elbow grease. The down side to this method is that the inside corners, small details, etc., are difficult to reach. Try a small brass brush in these areas.
All that being said, your piece may not actually be the best candidate for refinishing. Oak tends to wick finishes into the tubules, and that means heavy power sanding to get it all out. Those old oil/alkyd paints penetrated quite well, and you mitgh wind up sanding a lot of wood off to get to something clean. Even in that case, the wood might still retain a haze or color of the painted finish.
If the piece was lacquered and painted later, you could be in luck.
I would take out a shelf, or test the back of a door, find another inconspicuous spot to test, then go from there.
Robert
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Hello,
Removing the last layer from oak is always a pain. Based on your post, you might need to get a stripper specifically for milk paint. Try the Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company. The stripper is caustic based but it works very well on milk paint. As for getting a finish out of the pores of oak, repeated strippings are usually necessary. Try using synthetic steel wool, commonly avaliable as Scotch Brite pads. I am not a big fan of wood chips since the job becomes far more messy than necessary. Don't be afraid to cut up the pads to get into tight spaces. If you intend to repaint with spmething appropriate to the era that the piece was constructed, don't worry about paint in the pores.
Good Luck.
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Thank you all so very much for all the info. My wife and I was out today and stopped by Home Depot and got the stripper that Jack recommened along with the wash. Also picked up a couple plastic scrapers they had there by the strippers. I already had a bunch of synthetic pads so I didn't get any of those. I went to work as soon as we got back. That is some great stuff. I tried it on one of the shelves first just in case:) Coated it real good and covered it with plastic and came back about 30 minutes later and was amazed. Took it right down to the bare wood in some spots. It might not be milk paint after all. Did it a second time on those spots and waited. Had to do a little scrubbing with the pads but now that shelf is bare. Hopefully the exterior reacts the same way. How long has this been on the market you think. If my memory is correct I used something with that consistency about 20 years ago on something hehe. Can't remember what but it did a great job. Maybe the very same stuff. I just hope this thing turns out looking good or I'll never live it down. I told my mother-in-law several years ago that if she ever wanted to get rid of it that I'd like to have it to refinish. She, my wife, and all others laughed. It did look a little better back then. Then it got set out on the porch (enclosed) for years. One day I got the call! Now it's set in the corner of my shop for some time waiting for that right moment. I don't have anything pressing to build so now is the time. I don't like starting something if I haven't got the time to finish it, So I'll stay on this until it's done. I'll put up a link to the finished product hopefully before Christmas. Thanks again for all the help. Hopefully I can return the favor some day.
Todd
Also that wash is some nasty stuff. Make you sillier that a drunk rat. And I had my overhead door open. Don't like that stuff at all.
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Whoa, Todd. Don't use any of those chemicals without the proper protection. And don't think because you can't smell it, you aren't getting poisoned. Literally, poisoned.
The stripper you are using is a blend of more nasty things than you can imagine. I am sure you have found this out if you got some on your unprotected skin. So just think what that will do to your lungs...
KS3 has concentrated industrial solvents with the heavy alkali based chemicals suspended in the goop. These solvents are highly concentrated and extremely dangerous. Why do you think it works so well?
Get yourself some nitrile gloves, some goggles (for any errant splash), and most importantly a good respirator mask. Get the kind for fumes, the kind that has the activated charcoal in the filters. (My personal favorite is the 3M brand)
You should be wearing one of these when you apply your new finish anyway, so go ahead and get one to protect you from the fumes you are generating now.
Robert
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