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I would suggest against dipping unless...

Posted by Chris in DC on April 2nd, 2002 08:10 AM
In reply to I'm with DH on this by Bruce Ridenour on April 1st, 2002 05:11 PM [Go to top of thread] take something that you may not want to display as a test. I just finished a 2 year on and off paint stripping restoration of my front hallway. Baseboards, built in bench, door frames, and banisters were all oak and coated in about 15 coats of paint. I found a heat gun worked well to remove most of the paint (because it was originally finished in shellac - although that will NOT be the case in this application) and good old meth chloride to remove the residue. I found that letting the stripper sit a long time, followed by a scrubbing of stainless steel wool (regular can break off and rust later) removed all of the paint. I won't say it was easy, as it took 2 years and a lot of sweat (and some blood too) but it worked. My case is more extreme.

I thought about dipping, but I saw my neighbor's house where their woodwork was removed, sent out, dipped, and reinstalled. It was in pretty rough shape. Often the dipping is done in a hot caustic solution that tends to weaken wood and severely raise the grain to the point of being very difficult to sand out. It can also make the wood blotchy.

If you want to research the dipping route, find something inconspicuous to have dipped. Maybe find a small junky "antique" that has been painted over like a chair and see what the result is. It may cost some money in the short run, but you may find you aren't happy with the results. If you are, great. I liken it to the testing procedures on the back of every cleaner. I never used to do them until I ruined a set of brand new auto carpets. I always "test on an inconspicuous spot" these days. The same goes for trying strippers and the like.

I'm not saying all dipping is bad. I saw one piece that turned out great - but it was a very hard wood that was cold dipped. Even then all the glue that held it together disintegrated and needed to be redone. How are the cabinets constructed? Think about this one.


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