My mom called me while I was at Hobby Lobby the other day.
Mom: “I saw on your blog that you want to avoid using paint stripper on that buffet. Why?”
Me: “Well everything I’ve read about it makes it sound like toxic waste and it just seems really really nasty.”
Mom: “It’s true that it’s not exactly environmentally friendly, but really, it’s not that big of a deal. You just let it sit for a while and then you come along with a scraper and a wadded up piece of newspaper and scrape and wipe off the old finish.”
Me: “Yeah…but I heard that rags covered with it can SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUST!” (Cue fellow HL shopper turning and staring.)
Mom: “And so can rags with stain, polyurethane, mineral spirits, and oil based paint.”
Mom: “You need to try paint stripper. It will be much easier.”
So I did. I bought some paint stripper (in a spray can! that smells like oranges!) and tried it. It does work really, really well. Actually I think that’s part of why it’s so nasty – it works so well you have to concentrate to not get it all over the place! I wore latex gloves and used a plastic putty knife and newspaper like she said. Then I went over the thing with a lot of mineral spirits to clean up the “residue” (went through three old scrubbing sponges getting it all off.)
And then I had to sand a couple places again where there was a ridge between the old paint and the freshly removed paint.
And then I went over it again with soapy water to make sure I got everything off that I could. I only wanted to take off the stain from certain areas….but the spray got onto a lot more than just the stained areas, so that’s why parts of the paint got scraped off too.
And then I taped off and stained the little bottom strip.
And in the meantime, I stained and poly’d the shelves. They’re done now and ready to go back in the buffet when it’s finished.
And then the weekend was over.
P.S. I found replacement drawer tracks. Turns out the hardware store has tons of them in all different sizes! So now I will sleep easy at night knowing the tracks of my buffet drawers aren’t coated in a mysterious goobery filth :)
- Final coat of poly on the newly stained bottom strip and knobs. (I took the easy route and bought new, unfinished knobs instead of messing with the old ones.)
- Prime and paint the legs and bottom section so I can turn it back upright.
Another note – I plan to use Polycrylic (the water-based version of polyurethane which shouldn’t yellow as much) on the whole piece when I’m done. But of course there’s a catch! Polycrylic cannot be used on the one stain color I’m using – Red Mahogany. !!! So I have to use polyurethane on the stained areas, and Polycrylic on the painted areas. Yeesh.