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Thread: first salvaged furniture effort - stripping question

  1. #1
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    first salvaged furniture effort - stripping question

    My wife has told me that since a certain night table didn't sell at our recent yard sale (last year is still recent, right? ) that it is going to the dump. As it gets closer to the actual point of taking it to the dump, I noticed that the main table part looks like a single piece of wood - I cant see any glue lines at any rate and the grain pattern is uniquely consistent throughout the plank.

    The piece is at least 10 years old, maybe 20, and has been painted over. Right now I'm trying to loosen the paint with lacquer thinner. If this doesn't work well, would using some generic equivalent to Castrol Super Clean (the purple stuff) work? I've used this to strip acrylic paint off of plastic before. Before I get asked, I have no idea what kind of paint and/or how many layers are on the table.

    By weight, the wood feels like a poplar or a softwood, but my hardwood weight calibration is probably biased high from recently handling alot of green, freshly felled (2 week dead) maple - that maple was not light by any definition.

    I figure that even if it turns out to be a non-cabinet grade of wood that I could at least make a boxed fastener organizer unit for the shop, perhaps with a top shelf for books and equipment manuals. Maybe if I declutter enough I'll think my shop is bigger than it seems to be now.

    I'm thinking to hang it on the wall with French cleats.

    I'll try to take pictures as I go. Maybe someone will recognize the wood by grain if I supply pics.
    Last edited by Mark Kosmowski; 09-07-2007 at 09:44 PM. Reason: forgot to ask the question I wanted to ask :doh:

  2. #2
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    Not much experience here with furniture, but some with antique radio cabinets. I use a product called "Multi Strip Pro". It's sure not cheap, but it works really well. It has no odour, is not caustic, is water soluble, is water clean up, is biodegradable and doesn't dry up and harden like cement if forgotten about for several hours (or a couple of days .. DAMHIKT ) I've used the same paint brush to apply it now for about three years. Most radio cabinets that I do are toned lacquer finishes, and depending how aggressive you get with this stuff, you can peel only the clear off the top or take it so far that you have to use grain filler and redo the toning layers ....

    It's pretty expensive though ... about $25 cdn/quart IIRC, but a quart does about 2-3 full size console cabinets.

    cheers eh?

  3. #3
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    Mark, I've always had pretty good luck w/Formby's. But it's been several years.

  4. #4
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    What ever you use, here is trick I learned and love. apply the stripper then clean it off, especially on smaller parts, with planer chips. Just wear some acid gloves, grab a hand full of chips and rub it on the stripper. Takes it off and makes clean up easy.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


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  5. #5
    Mark,
    I've done a fair bit of refinishing. I've always used Zip-Strip - it's the nasty stuff, but won't raise the grain like many of the water based strippers will.
    A universal trait, and bit of advice, is to let the stripper sit for the suggested time - let it do the work. BUT, don't let it dry out as John mentioned - you'll have a mess on your hands. On tough applications, I've used plastic wrap over the stripper to give it more time to work without drying.
    I scrape it off with a plastic scraper such as an old credit card - metal can easily damage and gouge the wood if you are not careful. Then use a Scotchbrite pad with a small amount of stripper to clean it up. Oh, make sure you have good gloves. Many strippers go right through latex gloves - try nitrile or some other acid resistant glove.
    Castrol is good for stripping metal, but the water will mess up your wood, especially if it is veneer.

    Make sure you work in a well ventilated space, and protect the floor because you will be making a mess.

    FWIW,
    Wes

  6. #6
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    Great re-finishing video on FWW online:

    http://www.taunton.com/finewoodworki....aspx?id=29515
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  7. #7
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    Ok. Here are some pics. I had nothing to do with the painting of the wood. I'm using some biodegradable Jasco stuff in a spray bottle that is on clearance at Lowes. I may go buy a half gallon bottle to have on hand while it is on clearance.

    In the beginning, the furniture was without grain, an ugly piece of firmament without even color to differentiate it from the sky:

    Attachment 12403

    And then the rains fell, revealing a rather pretty grain pattern, but the type of wood is yet unknown:

    Attachment 12404

    Can any one tell what kind of wood this is? Is this likely to be veneer? If it is veneer, is there a way to remove the veneer non-destructively?

    Thanks!

  8. #8
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    only a guess.......looks like luan.....could be solid, could be lumbercore ply? without seeing the edge i can`t tell......what an awfull color!
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  9. #9
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    I had taken a rasp to a side (before the stripping process began) and it did not seem to be a plywood. If it really is solid luan, is it worth trying to make a different piece of furniture out of it or just go for the shop cabinet?

  10. #10
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    luan is another name for philipian mahogany......only you can decide if your time and stripping material costs outweigh the cost of new lumber?
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

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