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stripping wooden beams

Posted by Cindy B on February 12th, 1999 04:13 PM

Me again. Still working on the dining room in this 1914 Arts & Crafts. The ceiling is beamed, what we call four-square down here, boxed beams. We are trying to take off the paint to stain and varnish. There seems to be only about 3 layers of paint over old stain and varnish. We have tried just about everything and nothing is really working well. We have scaffolding as the ceiling is a 12-footer, but it is still tedious and tiring on the arms working up there. And strippers make such a mess. Is there an easier way? Someone told us that Easy-Off Oven cleaner would do the trick, but that sounds a little bit scary. Don't want to ruin the wood.
Also, while I'm asking--what exactly is "hand-rubbed" shellack. We want this woodwork to shine and have bought the shellack, but I'm not positive about this hand-rubbed effect. Can anyone help?

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