thick old varnish- removal

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marcros

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My mother presented me with a slice of wood (cedar I think) and asked me to put the house number on it. It is cut on the 45 degrees, and is 30-40 years old so no stability concerns. It has some vague sentimental value so I need to use it, but if I were making one from scratch, I would use a thicker piece.

The wood is currently coated in a thick gloopy varnish- almost certainly also 30 years old, presumably oil based and probably what was readily available- outdoor varnish, yacht varnish or some other generic name for B&Q varnish.

Is there a chemical way of removing old varnish. It covers the bark on the piece too, which makes sanding difficult.
 

Myfordman

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Only problem with modern nitromors is they have made it virtually ineffective just like everything else you can buy in a shop. You can get proper methyl chloride stripper on ebay just take care and dont wash in hot water only cold.
 

harryc

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A geared sander like Festoool Rotex or Bosch Turbo will clear that in no time without any chemicals.
 

Sgian Dubh

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Search for Paramose brand DCM paint stripper. It contains the methylene chloride ( Dichloromethane (DCM)) which is much more effective than the contemporary versions offered by firms such as Nitromors. There are two versions, water washable and spirit washable. Go for the latter. I use white spirits to neutralise and wash off with as it doesn't raise the grain, although raising the grain may not be much of a concern for you in this case. You might try Morrells here: https://www.morrells.co.uk/products...p-paint-strippers/paramose-original-stripper/
They have an address here: Unit 1 Oakwell Court, Oakwell Way, Birstall, Batley WF17 9LU, which is just south of where the M621 meets the M62 and north of Gelderd Road. Slainte.
 

Sandyn

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A geared sander like Festoool Rotex or Bosch Turbo will clear that in no time without any chemicals.
I just had a look at some reviews of the Festool Rotex. I was quite impressed by the technology behind it. I would be seriously impressed if it did remove thick old varnish, or say 8 layers of gloss paint on a door without the disk getting all gummed up. The first coat on the doors will be a thick varnish, which gets tacky at pretty low temperature. Probably still more than I would pay, lol
 
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Nitromoors is pretty rubbish tbh but unless you have access to someone stocking the real stuff, needs must. The problem I had with an identical 'sentimental' house number plate was getting the old varnish out of the carved numbers...
 

stevek

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If you have a Dremel they work well at cleaning out carved lettering, paint stripper seems to work okay anytime Ive used it, they all take a bit of work and of course sanding, we stripped pine panelling 4 ft high all around a room a few years ago with a cheap hot air paint stripper, and that was extreamly effective at removeing multiple layers of paint without causeing any damage but Ive never tried it on varninsh,,,does it work I wonder?
 

Sideways

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For anyone doing serious paint removal on flat wooden surfaces, look at the Metabo paint stripper: a spindle moulder cutter block fitted to an angle grinder with a baseplate to let the cutters protrude up to 0.3mm from base and edge.
10x faster than anything else but I'd hate to clean it up after use on gummy resin :-(
 

Ollie78

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Use a carbide scraper like a Bahco or a linbide (cheaper , not quite as nice) failing that a card scraper. Less dust than sanding, sanding will likely gum up a lot of sheets before getting through it.

Sideways, I had one of those metabo thingies, its good but only on nice large flat surfaces.

This may sound strange but if you have an infra red heater try that.
There is a product which is used for stripping lead paint with less fumes, it is an infra red bulb in a holder, this is placed on or very close to the surface to be stripped leave it to warm up and then scrape the paint off.
It works very well even on very thick paint, because the infra red heats up the wood surface faster than the paint on top it sort of heats it from the back which lifts the paint. I think it was from Scandinavia somewhere.
Pretty sure any infra red heater works the same.

Edit: found it, called speedheater. SPEEDHEATER INFRARED PAINTSTRIPPER | Tensid UK

It will remove putty very well also, don`t drop one though new bulbs are pretty expensive ( guess how I know that ).

Ollie
 
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