On 29 Jul 2004 00:42:30 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org (chablisa) wrote:
I have used caustic soda quite a bit as a paint stripper, it seems to
give mixed results, but always works better when hot.
It is nasty stuff, though and you must wear gloves and goggles. It
also is a bit rough on the wood, but it cleans up well enough.
Do it well outdoors, in an area you can hose down the whole mess when
I have been meaning to do a small trial mixing caustic soda with
wallpaper paste to make a "caustic gell" Most of the paint strippers
are a gell, so as to hold the stripper against the wood for a longer
Use caustic soda as a last resort. It is pretty vicious stuff and can
damage the wood if you don't know what you are doing.
You don't say how large the cupboard is but I will assume that it is
small enough that you can handle and turn it on a large suitable surface.
You don't indicate how old it is. I realize you have said "oil paint"
but I do not know how you determined this. If it is very old, you may have
milk paint. There are specialized removers for this that are safer than
caustic. If it is indeed oil paint, there may be lead in it so don't go for
sanding or a heat gun. All but the milk paint can be removed with standard
methylene chloride containing strippers although there are removers made
specifically for paint. BIX makes one that is a powder you mix with water.
The best thing you can do is to buy a small quantity of a methylene
chloride based stripper and try it out over a small area. If it works, you
have just saved yourself quite a bit of time spent on specialized safety
One of the most difficult aspects of stripping paint is if the paint was
applied to the raw wood. It is MUCH easier to strip paint from something
that had a clear coat finish and was then painted over. Paint tends to
lodge in all the pores, splits, and cracks so well that a fair amount of
time spent in getting it out.
I have done this myself and have come to the conclusion that the shellac
is really just forcing you to do a second complete stripping. If you do a
good, thorough job the first time with good quality chemicals, equipment,
and technique, any paint in the pores will either come out or will require a
brass brush, pick, etc. The shellac won't help.
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