Monday, October 9, 2017
Stripping furniture doesn't always involve using strong toxic chemicals like methylene. Often if the piece has shellac or lacquer as a top coat you could use solvents to strip the piece. But first you will need to know the solvent binder in the finish you are trying to remove. For example the image above is a table top with 2 drop leafs. The finish on the piece has been determined to be shellac. How did I determine the finish? I used a cotton q-tip dipped in solvent to see if the finish would react to a particular solvent.
As we all know denatured alcohol or grain alcohol melts/softens shellac. So I took t-shirt rags spread them across the top and pored alcohol on them. I let the rags sit for 5 mins or so and checked the progress. Upon inspection I take notice of the finish and see if it appears gummy. If you ever used chemical strippers than you know exactly what I mean by the gummy appearance. If and when the surface is ready I would wipe the surface down with the rag soaked in alcohol. Often it takes two rounds of ragging. This process can be used on shellac and lacquer, I have to test it on another finishes. Always remember to dispose or air out the rags properly.
After the finish has been removed sand lightly and top coat the piece once again.
Happy solvent stripping.