Stripping Polly


(now that I have your attention - grin)
About 15 years ago I redinished an old family heirloom round oak table top in Flecto Varathane. I had stained the wood and gotten the color exactly right before putting the Varathane on. The Varathane bubbled like it was carbonated. After letting it sit jn a back corner of the garage for a long time out of shame, I'd like to tackle it again. What will strip off this finish? I need a stripper rather than just sanding because of details routed into the surface. Ideas?
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wrote:

Idea #1: If really precious, then take it to people who do this for a living, and bite the bullet and pay.
Your heirloom, so work carefully at first on a small area not too noticeable.
1. Take off as much as you can with a heat gun and sharp scraper. No need to say you must pay attention to avoid marking. Don't be in too much of a hurry so as to not leave any scratches.
2. If some is stubborn, mix 4 parts boiled linseed oil, 1 part mineral spirits, apply, and leave it overnight. Then heat and scrape again.
3. Apply paint stripper liberally. Assuming most has been removed by scraping, remove with rags ...lots of rags, reapplying as necessary.
One I stripped and finished to restain with one coat of varnish, over a couple of days, was a walnut dresser for a friend using this technique. Applying paint/varnish remover and rubbing torn rag strips [lots of them] back and forth, like polishing shoes, around turned legs made that part easier. I'd advise possibly restaining to even things out after scraping, but that's your decision on what you see at the end. Don't forget the toothbrush to get into tight corners. I've also cut down an old paintbrush to make the bristles stiffer for that purpose.
Hint: Be patient. If no scrappy bit to work on first, apply some stain and varnish to a bit of wood, let dry over a few days, then practice on that to see effects.
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Since you've already refinished it once, you won't do any harm in refinishing it again. Any good finish stripper should do the trick. I suggest using one that contains lots of methylene chloride so you don't have to spend any more time stripping than necessary. The only thing you should watch for is how much, if any, stain you will remove in the process. You may need to lightly restain the piece by diluting your stain. Good thinking about not sanding. There is rarely any reason to sand off a finish unless you like removing all that wood and detail. If you didn't do it the last time, make sure that your polyurethane and table are at the same temperature before coating. You should also thin out the poly with about 20% mineral spirits. This will give the bubbles a chance to pop. Finally, remember to tip off the still wet coat as soon as possible. This will also help to remove bubbles.
Good Luck.

long
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For a brief moment I was wondering what Polly's web site was ..........

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I was wondering what a plucking a parrot had to do with workworking...
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wrote:

Ah... We had this happen to some cabinet doors at work on Friday, and ended up rubbing the (in my case) laquer off with copious amounts of laquer thinner and restaining before shooting with a polyurethane instead, which did solve the problem. Of course, this was after only an hour or so of the laquer being sprayed, so I don't know if it'd still work in your case. Try some mineral spirits and let it soak for a minute or two before giving it a vigorous rubbing. If you're lucky, it'll take it off. If not, try a cabinet scraper for the flat areas and a shaped scraper for the routed areas. Worst case senario, you'll have to use a chemical stripper.
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Nope. It works for lacquer because lacquer is an evaporative finish. Poly cures chemically. You will need a checmical stripper to remove the poly.
I once screwed up a varnish finish on oak by bringing it in from a cold garage then applying the finish before the wood was warm. As the wood warmed up, the air in the pores expanded and formed lots of little bubbles.
Thankfully, I now hav a heated shop.
-Steve
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