We just stripped all the brass hardware / knobs on all our doors. We
boiled them in water for 20minutes to 1/2 hour and the paint wiped off
fine. Polished them up and sprayed on a clear laquer (sp). Perfect.
This project will be trial and error. The original finish is probably
shellac or lacquer. Polyurethane is also possible.
Things to try, in order:
* Heat - Use a hair drier to heat up the paint. Paint gets softer when
it's hot. Scrape carefully, maybe just with a fingernail. If you get it
too hot, the old finish will come off too. Don't use a paint stripping
* Gentle abrasion - Maybe really fine sandpaper will do it for you.
Try 1000 grit wet/dry sandpaper with water.
* Scraping - Heck--maybe just some judicious work with a knife will do
* Solvents - Experiment with different solvents to see what dissolves
the paint but not the original finish. Test the original finish in a
hidden spot. Denatured alcohol might dissolve latex paint or shellac,
but won't touch much else.
* Strippers - Paint stripper will take off pretty much anything, but
it will get the original finish too. See what happens if you take off
*all* the finish on the back. Does the antiqueing come off too? If not,
strip the sucker and spray it with polyurethane.
* Replacement - How much is your time worth? Get a new one.
Paint remover works very well in removing paint from brass, but the
"antiqueing" will come off. In
my experience, the antiqued stuff is very thin brass plate with lacquer
sprayed on. If you are handy
with a sprayer you can redo the antiqueing.
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