Monday, December 26, 2005

A New Weapon

I’ve been very slowly scraping one of the doors for the kitchen. I need to get one side down to bare wood because it will face the dining room. I need that side to be a clear finish so it will match the other trim in that room. I hunted around in The Door Room to try and find a door that was originally shellacked because we all know that it is much easier to scrape wood that was originally shellacked, as opposed to scraping wood that was originally painted. I thought I had found a good candidate but now I’m not so sure.

I think I’ve spent 3 or 4 hours on the door and I’ve gotten a good 90% off but that last 10% is going to be a bitch. Here’s where I’m at so far.

In the close-up shot you can see that there is a lot of tricky detail that is tough to scrape. I’m sure all you Craftsman and Bungalow types out there are having a nice little chuckle right now with your nice flat trim and your simple paneled doors. I’m definitely paying a price here for having a fancy Victorian home. No since crying over spilt paint though, right. I love my home and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Normally, if I were scraping wood that had been shellacked my tried & true method would work. I just use a slightly dulled, 4-inch scraper with a medium stiffness, and the trusty heat gun. That still worked fine for most of this door, but for the narrow channels along the edge of the panels and the bevels it just wasn’t cutting it. I’m sure some of you are wondering at this point why I don’t use Peel-Away or some other “wet” stripper. I won’t go in to that now, but I will say that the next step in the process will mostly likely be Jasco Semi-Paste paint stripper, but I always start with the heat gun.

Anyway, I went out and bought “The Scraping System”, or at least that’s what the marketing company that designed the packaging thinks it is. Here’s what I bought.

You can see The Scraping System comes with the handle and a series of different blades with different profiles. It works well but it is taking a little getting used to. I worked with it for about 45 minutes today and it sort of feels like I’m trying to write with my left hand (I’m right handed). It’s just sort of unnatural. In the picture below you can see how I normally scrape paint. I hold the heat gun just in front of the scraper and push the 2 along together in one constant motion. I can make quick work with a nice flat piece of wood, or even wood with some detail to it.

The Scraping System is designed to be pulled not pushed. When I first started using The Scraping System it didn’t work well at all. I was trying to lead it with the heat gun like I did the other scraper and it just wasn’t working. As you can see in the picture below it is awkard to lead The Scraping System with the heat gun.

After scorching some wood I switched to a method where I first heat a small area of painted wood and then scrape. It works but it goes much, much slower. The other problem I had with it was that the blades of The Scraping System are a lot sharper than my 4-inch scraper. I like it to be slightly dull so I don’t gouge or shave wood. This is redwood and not hard oak. It is easy to mar the surface with a sharp scraper, and I did at times with The Scraping System. It was nothing too bad but it just meant I had to be more careful, and that meant work even slower. I don't like slow. Slower is not better.

I hope tomorrow to start in with Jasco, steel wool, and sand paper.


StuccoHouse said...

Those plastic bristle brushes (or wire) would make short work of that trim. After using my heat gun, I let past stripper sit for a minute or two and then brush the paint and it comes off in no time. I buy them by the box and swear by them for hard to reach paint or finish. Much easier on the fancy moulding than scrapers too.

Greg said...

Five or 6 years ago when I first tried stripping paint I tried a plastic bristle brush but the stripper I used is not friendly to some synthetic materials. The brush “melted” and I never tried it again.

Jocelyn said...

I sympathize. It reminds me of the window well I stripped that was made of pine or poplar (still not sure which) and I believe it was originally painted. I had to tackle it a bit at a time or I'd get impatient and gouge the wood. I did it in place, which made it worse too of course.

Good luck with the door!