Monday, November 20, 2006

Did I Say Oak?

On Saturday I should have said “Painted Oak” when I was describing the high-tank I bought last year at a local salvage place. Grrr! Why do people paint these things. Luckily it was just one thin coat of paint over a thick layer of shellac. I can honestly say this was the easiest thing I’ve ever stripped in my life.

I think part of it has to do with the fact that it was a tank mounted 6 or 7 feet up on a wall. It probably didn’t get banged around too much up there. Stripping paint off shellacked wood can be easy when it hasn’t been dinged too much. When you bang in to a piece of wood the paint gets forced in to the grain. That’s when it’s hard to get out.

Also, I think maybe because it was oak, it may have made it seem easier to strip than other things I’ve stripped paint off of. I’m accustomed to working with redwood, and while the straight grained, old-growth stuff is hard, it still isn’t oak.

I used my patented 5 step paint stripping method.

Step 1: Heat Gun
Step 2: Jasco Semi-Paste and Steel Wool
Step 3: Boiled Linseed Oil & Turpentine
Step 4: Touch-up minor specks with artist paints
Step 5: Shellac

For Step 2 I let the Jasco sit on only one or two minutes and then rub very lightly with the steel wool. I then have a stack of paper towels waiting as I use the scraper again to gently get off the goo. The idea is to try and disturb the original finish as little as possible. If there is no paint residue left I will use denatured alcohol instead of the Jasco paint stripper.

It took me maybe 3 hours to get all of the paint off and refinish the tank. Refinishing didn’t require much because the original finish, sans shellac, was in very nice shape once I got everything off. I wiped it once with a light coat of BLO and turpentine, and then gave it a few coats of shellac. The thing looks great. There are a few chips and some minor cracks, but I decided to leave them for character.

This is just after I bought it in October of 2005

This is today after 2 coats of shellac


Ms. P in Jackson said...

That looks beautiful.

The Jasco is a paint stripper right? Do they have several types or is it just one. I'm on the hunt for a good paint stripper that won't discolor oak.

I found out the hard way with Peel Away 1.

Greg said...


Jasco is a caustic paint stripper. You need rubber gloves, long sleeve, shirt, respirator, and a well ventilated space. There may be more than one type, but I use the Jasco Professional Semi-Paste.

Trissa Hodapp said...

Looks like it was a fun project- and much less time consuming than the house painting!

Greg said...

A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G is less time consuming than house painting. This should be almosst fun.

Lisa said...

That is a pretty jaw-dropping transformation!

K said...

Oooh, pretty! The wood is so gorgeous!