Good luck. Most of the stuff that will chew through poly are very
aggressive and won't stop stripping exactly where you want.
I would think your best bet would be to strip all the way out the
edges, leaving a band of finish where seepage or removed material may
seep, leak, or be pushed into the area you don't want.
Then you could sand the areas remaining clean.
Or you could sand the whole thing.
BTW, if it is a factory finish, it most likely is not polyurethane.
Probably tinted catalized lacquer.
If the table is from a factory, you can almost bet it is lacquer. To
make sure, (this assumes that one way or another you will be removing
this finish!) put a dot/drop of lacquer thinner on the finish. Wait
about 15 minutes. If it dissolves the finish it is lacquer. Wait
times may vary as you could have a lot of different waxes, silicones,
etc., built up from waxing and dusting. You might get lucky here and
find a test area in an inconspicuous spot if you are not really ready
to commit to this test.
If it doesn't dissolve, it is something else, and that something else
could be anything.
To decide which stripper I use, I scrape my pocket knife along the
finish with the blade at 90 degrees to the top/finish. If it scratches
easily >to the wood< and the scraping reaveals that the finish is
brittle, then the finish is shot. No reason to bring in the artillery
on the stripper. An old standby of mine is the BIX in the orange can
(K3?) that will get that stuff off easily. The main ingredients are
methyl chloride and methanol. Others are in there, but that is what
does the work.
If you have a harder or more durable finish, you may want to use the
something like the StripEase brand of heavy duty finish remover. Flip
the can around and read the ingredients. There is a name for the stuff
that is methyl chloride plus all the nasties like, acetone, xylene,
toluene and methyl alcohol. While both strippers are nasty stuff, this
one will knock you down with the fumes. But it will break the bonds on
just about anything so you can get it off. But you should only use it
if needed, and I think that you should be fine with the BIX.
Go get yourself some nitrile gloves, and a fumes rated (organic vapor)
mask no matter which one of those you choose. All strippers are
dangerous, and it requires safety precautions.
Got a good snort out of the naysayers of label cautions on another
thread. I would invite any of those scoffers to have this stuff on
their skin for just a few (on a hot day, just a couple) of minutes.
Work in a well ventilated area with your tools all laid out, and a good
home for the old goopy finish. I use contractor trash bags or cheap
containers from the dollar store.
Be sure and follow the instructions and neutralize or wash the surface
after stripping. Don't allow your surface with the stripper on it to
dry out while it is working. If you have a dry spot and the rest of
the door is fine while the stripper is working, just paint a little
more on that spot. Use a cheap chip brush on the application as these
materials will dissolve many types of nylon and polyester bristle
Allow the wood to dry thoroughly after removal so that you don't cut
into it when you are sanding. To get the last bits of old finish, or
micro particles of finish out of the grain, wipe down with a rag with
lacquer thinner on it before finishing.
Some of the non volatile acid based strippers (water based) I hear work
well. I don't have 4-8 hours to give to the stripper for it to do its
work. And then some of them don't work well anyway. But they are much
less dangerous, and some of them even smell like oranges.
Let us know how you do!
On 9 Jun 2006 00:12:07 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
Mmmm. The orange stuff is nice, but it takes a bit more time and
work. I had to lay it on with a brush, then cover the area with
tinfoil so it didn't dry before it ate through the paint on some
walnut built-ins I was refinishing. Took off seven layers of latex
and oil-based paints, though- and it smelled good, too. It won't
remove analine dye that has soaked into the wood.
That being said, it's too much of a crap shoot to use any chemical if
you don't want runs getting on the sides and legs, though. I'd go
with the card scraper- then it doesn't matter what the finish is, and
there is no toxic goo to clean up. I like the Lie-Neilson ones,
myself- for about $7, nothing I've found does a nicer job. I've got a
couple of Sandviks as well, but they're too f*#%ing hard to roll a
burr on unless you're carrying a vise on the jobsite. If you want to
save some wear and tear on your hands, you might want to get a scraper
holder that sets the bow for you, and keeps the heat away from your
On 9 Jun 2006 16:32:25 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
It was about 6 years ago, but I believe the name was Citri-strip.
Came in a translucent plastic jug and was an almost neon orange color.
Also used to (and probably still does) come in pressurized spray cans,
which I thought was kind of nifty, as it foamed nicely and stuck
better to vertical surfaces.
To get the seven layers off (yes, I counted them...) in one shot it
did require the tinfoil. Trying to get it to soak that deep while
exposed to air would take off one or two layers of paint at a time at
best, and was likely to dry up and start acting more like an adhesive
than a stripper. I generally did a second coat of the stripper the
next day and let it sit for 1/4-1/2 hour to get the last little bit of
gunk stuck in the cracks out, but it was a very useful tool overall- I
stripped two built-ins that covered a 14' by 8'6" wall each and two
pairs of arts-and-crafts style square pillars with attendant trim with
the stuff, and I'd use it again without complaint.
Your previous point was right on the mark, though- it does take quite
a bit longer. I was doing a lot of work on the place, and would apply
a coat in the morning, cover in tinfoil, go on to something else for
most of the day, and then come back to strip the area at the end of
the day. It was generally loose enough that most of the paint came
off stuck to the foil, and the rest scraped very nicely. Being sort
of thrifty, I'd usually give the foil a quick shake over the garbage
can right away, and just reuse it for the next area.
Not the quick solution, but much more pleasant to work with- still
worth wearing gloves for, but it smelled good and didn't require an
organic vapor mask to use... The client was paying for it, so I don't
recall if it cost more than the other stuff or not. It's one of those
things where you can earn brownie points with the right client by
being 'green', which often more than makes up for the extra time-
along with the lower amount of wear and tear on the lungs.
Good advice, if I ever could manage to remember to bring my c-clamps
along. One of the major perils of doing this as both a hobby and a
job is that it's very easy to nab work tools to use in the home shop,
and then forget them on the bench. C-Clamps are one of those things
that always get left behind, and the F-clamps are just too big to mess
around with for a little scraper.
My usual method with the Lie-Neilsons is to seat them in one of the
inevitable saw kerfs on my horses and burnish. The Sandviks usually
just slide out on me doing that- they are nice once you get them
On 8 Jun 2006 23:29:09 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
When if comes to chemical strippers, it's easy to tell the good from
the bad. If the can features pictures of bunnies, lambs, clouds, and
words like "safe" or "friendly", save your money, it'll be useless.
If you see skull & crossbones, plus "danger", "poison", and "highly
corrosive", that's the stuff you want. Add a face shield, organic
vapor respirator, heavy nitrile gloves and you'll be all set.
I guess you've never used PeelAway. They have several formulations and
the couple I've used have worked great. I've seen people do whole
clapboard houses with the stuff with the fabric laid over it to keep it
from drying out too quickly. When they pull the fabric off it pulls
all of the layers of paint with it. There's a minor amount of scraping
afterwards, but it does an amazing job. There are formulations that
remove epoxies and polyurethanes, others for latex and oil paints, etc.
The nicest thing is that it isn't canned death. If it makes you feel
any better, you're still supposed to wear gloves and a respirator
(though many people don't).
No, I haven't. I'll look for it the next time I absolutely,
positively have to strip something. I just hope SWMBO doesn't find
out about it, though. "Canned death" is something I use to get out of
some stripping jobs. "I'd love to refinish that for you dear, but a
heat gun would damage it, and you know how poisonous those chemicals
I took " firstname.lastname@example.org" suggestion and used Jasco's Premium
Paint & Epoxy Remover because it:
1. "removes tough and easy coatings including paint, epoxy, urethane,
2. is "fast-acting in 5-15 minutes"
3. "removes "multiple coats with one application".
I used a new paint brush to flow the remover on in a thick coat in one
direction. I waited 15 minutes (until surface was blistered) and I
removed the finish with a plastic spatula.
ALL OF JASCO's CLAIMS WERE LIES!! After following the above process
FOUR times, almost all of the original finish remained.
I then used a DeWalt Heavy-Duty 1/4-Sheet Palm Grip Sander. I started
with 80-grit sandpaper and it removed ALL of the finish very quickly
and cleanly. I then used a 150-grit sandpaper and finished with a
220-grit sandpaper. FANTASTIC RESULTS!!
Jasco wasted my money and wasted my time. It should be ashamed and
embarrassed to sell such a worthless product.
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