Continued Stripping

After spending a bunch of time on it over the weekend, I've been a bit lazier about the work on the cabinet front this week.

Current state of the cabinet front

I got most of the finish off, and then our neighbor came over and suggested using denatured alcohol -- shellac thinner, actually -- to strip the last bits of gunky old finish off. That's worked like a charm, but is much more actual work, so I've been very very very slowly applying the stuff to rags, letting them sit on the surface, then wiping clean. It's actually been really effective, at least at first; now I'm down to cleaning up the dark parts where there's not much shellac and it's all about dilution and elbow grease.

Flower carving all cleaned out

I'm thinking of switching back to the Safest Stripper, which did a bang-up job on the carvings (with the help of an old toothbrush). You can actually see the line where I scrubbed with the Safest Stripper versus just wiping with denatured alcohol. A thin coat of stripper, the toothbrush, then a half a day of painstakingly cleaning all the goo out of cracks, and we are done with the finish removal portion of the show.

Well, OK, I still need to take the door off and work on the edges. At least the side panels will be fast and easy; I was looking at them today and doubt they will take more than a day to clean up.

posted by ayse on 07/15/11

2 Comments

If there's any sections left where you'd prefer the thinner, check your plastic wrap for softening in it - most won't but get a different kind if it does. Then using the thinnest rags you can find or even paper towels, a layer (or two) of plastic over the top will keep the solvent trapped and working for a much longer time.

That's good to know. The frustrating part of the denatured alcohol is that the working time is so short. (The rags stay damp enough to work for about 8 hours.)

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