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removing paint from woodwork

We moved into a house with quarter saw red oak for trim that is painted. Is there any way of stripping the paint without damaging the finish on the trim work?

Re: removing paint from woodwork

Chemical strippers work really well... but, oak has open pores and the strippers won't take paint out of the pores. Try a small area (like behind a door that's always open) to see how the finished trim will look before committing to the whole project.

Rodney H
Re: removing paint from woodwork


I have been refinishing and restoring old, old furniture recently. It had several layers of paint over wonderful oak wood. First, I started with the 3M paint stripper, but it takes like 1-3 hours to work. I needed more stripper, so this time I tried the kind that Walmart sells. Wow, does that work great. They sell 2 different strippers, one that acts in 30 minutes, the other that acts in only 15 minutes. Do not use the 15 minute stuff, because the 30 minute stripper works so fast, the paint actually starts to come off when applying the paste.

I believe that a person will never be able to keep up with the fastest acting stuff, cause I realized that I had to start removing the old paint after about 10-15 minutes, or it gets too dry.

My old furniture had 3-4 layers of paint, plus some varnish, so had to use another coat of stripper to remove it all. A small wire brush (preferably the brass kind) works great to reach the tiny crevices.

Under all those layers, there is the most beautiful oak you have ever seen............well worth the time and effort. I never could figure out why anyone would every paint oak wood.

Enjoy your project.

Re: removing paint from woodwork


The best thing you have going for you in using chemical strippers is that the oak woodwork was undoubtedly originally varnished. Quartersawn oak would not have been used for painted woodword due to its heavy grain. The varnish protected the oak from having paint pigment get down into that open grain.

Re: removing paint from woodwork


Hi my name is Travis Hasse I am 21 years old and I as well have been refinishing furniture for years now and I love it. My question to you is what's the best way to strip paint off spindles that have very tight grooves in them. I'd chemical strip them but the problem is they're pine, so the stripper would eat away at the piece no matter what.

Re: removing paint from woodwork


Pine would not be eaten away by the stripper, although it is a soft wood and care should be taken not to gouge the wood while scrapeing the stripper off.

J Roper
Re: removing paint from woodwork

All of y'all looking to remove paint, Google "silent paint remover". It is an infra red light that heats the old paint up to 300-400 degrees and softens the paint without using chemicals. While the paint is soft it scrapes right off to the substrate. Some small details will require small tools to clear out the finest detail. It's the best thing I've ever found and first heard about it on This Old House.

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