Help! Citristrip gone wrong!


Etsouth
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Need help! Used citristrip to strip varnish off an old Craigslist find. A shelf unit with very intricate legs. The citristrip is all gummy and I cannot get it out of the grooves and dips. Can anyone help me out? I've tried scraping, but the angle makes it nearly impossible. I've used another stripped to no avail. I have also tried sanding and warm soap and water with a bristled sponge. Now I'm stuck! What do I do? I have attached some pictures for you to get a better idea of what I am describing. I brought the piece in overnight so that it could dry out a little. I'm in Oklahoma and it is still pretty cold and damp outside. Been working in the garage.

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Have you tried a brass brush or very stiff bristled plastic brush?  Plastic may not fare well with that stripper; depends.  Brass is soft enough it won't cause damage to the wood if you aren't going Arnold on it.  There are small ones sold for cleaning router bits.

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Go to the store and buy a good paint stripper that contains methylene chloride. Those areas your talking about have the heaviest build up of finish. The BBQ brushes that are brass work great and don't use a standard wire brush or you will scratch the crap out of your wood. Those areas are tough, its best to apply the stripper and let it do all the hard work. May take you 2 to 3 times. You must get that all removed. In addition, you still have build-up in the profile around the bottom shelf-board. That has to come out as well. .

 

Don't forget after stripping. To wash the entire piece down with mineral spirits.That removes any residual stripper that remains on the surface which can cause issues with the finish you decide to apply. Then let the piece dry for a good 5 days.

 

-Ace-

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This may be a tad radical for you, but if you want to avoid a caustic stripper (no offense, Ace!), you could try knocking the entire piece apart and stripping the individual pieces.  You'd have much better access to all the crevasses of the legs.

 

Then you could glue it back up and finish as you like.  Might SEEM like more work, but I'll get it's easier in the end.

 

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As far as strippers go (the kind that's used for removing finish; not the.. well, you know :P ) I've had good results with a product called Aqua-strip..  Water based.  Works really well but has to sit for about 4 hours for it to do it's thing..  Then wipe off as much as you can and go at whatever's left with the brass brush.. 

 

It is messy, but should do what you need it to do..

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This may be a tad radical for you, but if you want to avoid a caustic stripper (no offense, Ace!), you could try knocking the entire piece apart and stripping the individual pieces.  You'd have much better access to all the crevasses of the legs.

 

Then you could glue it back up and finish as you like.  Might SEEM like more work, but I'll get it's easier in the end.

 

 

None taken...many ways to skin a cat. :)

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Croessler,

 

Removing the residue often depends on the kind of stripper you use.  Some will come off with a little water, or mineral spirits, or you may have to take some thinner to them.  Sometimes additional sanding is required.

 

Stripping is NOT FUN, and  I for one no longer like doing it.  I pay someon else at this point.  I'll doing the finishing part myself, though.

 

Milo

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Just to add on Milo's comment...most of the solvent type strippers contain wax. The wax is incorporated into the chemical stew to prevent chemicals from flashing off to quickly and not doing their job. We all know that wax and applying a finish don't  play nice together. :)

 

Always a good idea to sand the piece after stripping, this will open up those wood fibers. Enabling good even color take-up for your stain/dye or whatever you choose.

 

-Ace-

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