In most instances, the most efficient way to take paint off of wood objects in the home involves a mix of chemical stripping and sanding. This applies to fixtures such as doors, furnishings like tables and chairs, and knickknacks like toys and boxes. The stripping agent will remove most of the paint, but even if it removes all of the paint, some sanding is necessary afterward to remove any residue from the stripping agent and to prepare the wood for its new finish.
Lay out a drop cloth or a few layers of old newspaper, either on the floor or your work bench. Place the wood object on it.
Scrape off any loose flecks of paint with a plastic scraper.
Apply the chemical stripping agent to the paint with a brush, using short, even strokes. Allow the agent to work for as long as directed by the instructions before removing the resulting goo of stripper and paint with the plastic scraper.
Examine the wood object and evaluate how much paint was removed by the stripping agent. If large splotches of paint remain, apply the stripping agent again. If only small spots of paint remain, continue on to sanding.
Remove small splotches of paint by sanding with 120-grit sandpaper. Use a handheld rotary tool fitted with a sanding disc or a hand power sander for open, flat spaces and an oscillating tool with a sanding accessory for hard-to-reach areas.
Sand the entire wood surface with 240-grit sandpaper to smooth the surface, remove any remaining stripper residue and prepare the wood for its new finish. Use your handheld rotary tool or power sander for large flat spaces, the oscillating tool for inaccessible areas, and sand by hand with sandpaper for curved surfaces and fine details.
Tips & Warnings
- Always wear safety goggles and a respirator mask when working with harsh chemical agents, such as paint strippers, as well as when using power sanders.
Things You'll Need:
- Drop cloth or newspaper
- Plastic scraper
- Chemical stripping agent
- Paint brush(es)
- Hand power sander with sandpaper or handheld rotary tool with sanding disc accessories
- Oscillating tool with sanding accessory
- Lowe's: How to Refinish Wood Furniture
- Popular Mechanics: How to Restore an Old Rocking Chair
- Family Handyman: How to Prepare Wood Trim for a Smooth Paint Job
- Popular Mechanics: Home How-To; Albert Jackson, et al.
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images