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I have an old desk that was given to me about... gee, 26 yrs ago! I've always intended to strip what looks like about three thick layers of paint, and then stain & finish the wood (looks like a nice dark brown). I've seen something advertised on TV that claims to be non-toxic, no fumes, no masks or gloves necessary. If it really works as well and as fast as they claim, I'm sold! Has anyone here used it (can't think of the name right now)? If not, what have you used, that you liked?
I will try to remember to look at the store when I go, to see if I can find what I used. I redid a desk, but it was in 79-80 timeframe. There should be better, fume-free stuff on the market now. After stripping off several layers of paint, found cherry varnish underneath. That's when I went to elec sander too! Desk still looks great, so it was well worth the effort! ~ Suzi :)
I can tell you the gel strippers work better on a horizontal surface rather than upright. (They are so heavy that they run down.) You MUST be patient, though, to allow enough time for the stripper to work on underlying layers. I get anxious and strip the gunk off when it bubbles up, usually necessitating another coat of srtipper.
I want to say I am pretty sure I used ZEP. I forgot to look at the store on Sat, I was in such a hurry trying to get back and leave for quickie vacation. Sorry! This reminded me and I just tried to look on their website, but they are having trouble right now. ~ Suzi :)
maggie, the stuff they use that is a pale green gritty paste, then turns white works great. You cover it with freezer paper to keep it active. Patientce is essential though.
I have also seen them use saran wrap on gel removers to keep them moist too.
My mom bought some on QVC and it was no fumes etc. We used it when we took a wood refinishing class at the community college. It was great because I have bad allergies and it didn't have any smell. Of course, everyone else wasn't using it so I had to wear a mask anyways lol.
One lady had a beautiful antique pie safe with the punched tin work and someone had painted all of it, tin and all. I personally had my doubts that she would get all that gunk off, but she did with Stripease and it was really beautiful.
Some of the instructor's recomendations:
try it out on a hidden part to make sure there isn't any bad reaction (not sure what he meant but I always do it anyway)
set a timer for the manufacturer's recommended wait time and walk away so you won't be tempted to remove it too early
use a plastic scraper not a metal one or you might gouge your wood
work on small sections at a time and flip the piece so that the section is on top, as you said before,so the stripper doesn't run
always wear gloves
I'm sure you knew that but I thought I would add it for anyone who has never done it before.
As Darius knows from another post, I'm not so handy with tools and such, but I love to refinish furniture! I like to go to auctions and you can get really nice pieces that just need a little elbow grease to be great. I got a low chest that is just gorgeous for $2 woohoo.
Please post before and after pics, I'd love to see your desk and how you refinish it:)