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Thread: Chair stripping help

  1. #1
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    Chair stripping help

    I have picked up 6 old (1920ish?) chairs for our dining room and are in need of refinishing. Now I have never stripped anything and sure could use some guidance on what to use to strip them. This will be a winter project done in my basement shop if that means anything as to what kind of stripper to use. Thank you in advance and will post as I proceed. Here is an as is
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  2. #2
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    Things to consider, Tom, include more than fumes, though that is not insignificant. Every stripper I ever came across stipulated use with LOTS of ventilation. You sure don't want to make the whole household sick or worse.

    Then there is the matter of effectiveness. The best I ever tried was CitrusStripper, and it left lots to be desired. A product with methyl chloride is supposed to be the thing, but a product with an effective amount in it is hard to find. Something about carcinogenic.

    Then there is the mess and worse, the disposal of the mess. It is considered toxic. I sure wouldn't burn it to dispose of it.

    Then I found a professional stripping shop and compared prices. His price was little more than I could buy the materials to strip. The difference more than made up for the mess. Not saying don't to it. But you might make a cost comparison and then see what you think. In any event be careful. This is serious stuff.

    Now waiting for Dave Hawksford to weight in....
    ++++++

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

    Power is not taken. It is given. Who have you given yours to? Hmmmm?

    Carol Reed

  3. #3
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    Nov 2006
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    i agree with carol have them done by someone else tom,, a dip tank and then rinse tank setup like dave uses is by far the best method..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  4. #4
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    Little lesson here...... never use a dip tank. It will losen any glue joints that have not be reglued after dipping.
    Quick way to strip 1920's furniture is to strip with denature alcohol and 3m purple pad or homedepot carries a stripper in a spray can that works very good. Use the 3m pad to remove stripper also.
    Clean with alcohol let dry and sand.
    I dream a lot. I do more painting when I'm not painting. It's in the subconscious.
    ::: Andrew Wyeth :::
    colonialrestorationstudio.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    And make sure to wear proper protection. If it's just shellac and you can strip it off with DNA it's not to bad, but if you have to go to something more aggressive be aware that latex gloves don't cut it (and you can actually absorb stuff from the gloves which can be as bad as the stripper in some cases) so cross check the MSDS for whatever you use for proper protection (butyl rubber is generally good for most things).

    Honestly they don't look to bad. If you don't mind keeping some of the old feel it might be interesting to see if you could just cut in a light shellac top coat (maybe lightly sand back the rough spots first) and see how it looks. You would keep some of the color variation, but would brighten them up a bit. Not sure if that's your style or not but figured I'd throw out the idea anyway

  6. #6
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    I may start by sanding, maybe that is all that is needed? Just get rid of scratches re-stain and varnish Can't hurt and no nasty chemicals

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Niemi View Post
    I may start by sanding, maybe that is all that is needed? Just get rid of scratches re-stain and varnish Can't hurt and no nasty chemicals
    That was basically my thought, although you'll want to figure out what the current finish is to match (Dave's probably correct as usual on it being shellac, if so alcohol will quickly make it tacky). Worst case you give it a shot on one chair and decide it's not what you want, and you're not to far behind.

  8. #8
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    Gees, Dave. Wish there had been Family Woodworking when I took on a 1909 Baptismal font made by an amateur out of fruit boxes (labels still on in the inside) which had been 9 different finishes on it over the years. You are right about the joints needing re-gluing but to be fair, some needed help before the stripper bath. All got reglued, repaired, replaced, refinished and re-gilded. Turns out most of my birth family going back 70 years had been baptized at that font, including me! Was an honor to restore it. Pictures on a hard drive - somewhere.
    ++++++

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

    Power is not taken. It is given. Who have you given yours to? Hmmmm?

    Carol Reed

  9. #9
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    Sep 2007
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    Would live to see that Carol, if not buried too deep on the hard drive
    Going to pick up some denatured alcohol and purple 3m pads and see what happens, and a pile of sand paper for the ROS Thanks all for the suggestions

  10. #10
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    Tom mix up a cleaner solution of 1/3 dna,1/3 blo, 1/3 turp's. This will clean and finish , if done corect. Use a terry cloth and clean by rubbing small sections at a time. The dna will loosen , the turps will remove dirt and the blo will remain. You will see a lot of dirt coming off onto the rag. Left the residue semi dry for an hr or 2, then buff out. If you get the feel for this solution you can use burlap , super fine steel wool , 3m purple pad to clean. But you need to have a light touch and good ventilation.
    I dream a lot. I do more painting when I'm not painting. It's in the subconscious.
    ::: Andrew Wyeth :::
    colonialrestorationstudio.com

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