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Image by Phil Gradwell
Somehow these wire strippers ended up on my order of wire from Farnell. I’ve no idea how that happened. I’ve wanted a pair of these for a long time and now I have some. They don’t half make stripping wire quicker and easier. Now I just need to get my finger out and get the camera axe software loaded on to my Arduino and the stripboard camera axe shield made. I think we’re going to have good fun with that.
Paint doesn’t last. It discolours over time. Chips appear, ruining the look of the paint. Some paints even stipple or peel if exposed to sunlight or heat for long periods.
You can, of course, simply rub old paint down with sandpaper and apply fresh coats. But new coats of paint don’t erase chips or other damage. The only way to do a proper job is to remove the old paint.
This can be a daunting and time-consuming task. Some paints are also hazardous. To make matters as easy and safe as possible, you should use the most appropriate method of paint stripping.
Sandpaper and Scrapers
If you’re dealing with a lightly-painted surface, you may be able to remove paint by sanding it away. Some furniture, for example, has a light wash of paint on bare wood to create a particular effect. Try removing this wash with fine-grade sandpaper.
You might also want to keep a scraper handy. A scraper is useful for gently teasing out paint from holes and imperfections. Be careful not to scratch and damage the wood.
Blowtorches and Heat Guns
Blowtorches and heat guns are a traditional but acceptable way to remove deep layers of paint. But you need to follow safety guidelines.
Handle the blowtorch or heat gun with care. You could easily burn the wood or yourself. Wear protective gloves and goggles.
Heat the paint not the scraper you are using to remove the paint. This may seem obvious but a metal scraper could soon become extremely hot. When you put it down it may burn the surface it is resting on.
Wear a protective mask. Paint contains chemicals. When you heat paint, these chemicals enter the air and may be harmful.
Most paint used up to the early 1960s in the UK contained white lead. After this, the use of lead in paint decreased. However, the government didn’t ban the sale of lead-based paint to the public until 1992. When you apply a blowtorch or heat gun to such paint, you release lead into the air and put your health, and the safety of those around you, at risk. If you believe an old paint contains lead, don’t use heat to remove it.
Industrial Paint Stripper
Although the general public can no longer buy industrial paint stripper, you may find some at work if you have access to a factory or industrial plant. Don’t be tempted to bring it home for DIY use. Such paint remover is toxic and poses a serious risk to your health.
Chemical Paint Stripper
A chemical paint stripper can be effective for all types of paint and surfaces but you must take precautions when using it. Wear gloves, goggles and a protective mask. Avoid splashing the paint remover on your skin and in your eyes. You should also ventilate the room you are working in. Make sure you read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Non-Toxic Paint Remover
The safest option for most paint stripping, including the removal of lead-based paint, is non-toxic paint removers. These don’t contain the methylene chloride found in traditional chemical strippers. And unlike blowtorches and heat guns, you don’t run a risk of burning the wood.
What’s more, a non-toxic paint remover doesn’t give off harmful fumes. This is useful when you’re working in a small room or a cramped area.
Bradford Richard is a qualified interior decorator. He often writes blogs on home improvement issues. This article talks about methods of paint stripping. John enjoys football and reading novels.
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