Paint removal and staining a lighter colour

8 May 2010
Reaction score
United Kingdom
I have some stair rails and a hand rail that has been stained a dark mahogany and then painted in emulsion, is there any advice as how to effectively remove the paint and then get the wood in a condition to stain in oak colour ?
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if you want to get the mahogany to the stage where you want to stain it oak (staining standard and untreated mahogany with an oak stain won't make it that much like oak!) you need to completely remove the finish (paint and stain/ varnish etc)

There are a number of ways to strip these finishes but I would use a paint stripper. You have 2 choices - solvent based stripper (Nitromors type) or water based strippers (Biostrip20 as an example) Nitromors will strip the finish best and quickest but is extremely hazardous and unpleasant to use especially for a home user. Water based stripper (choose the most effective one) is safe to use, will strip your finish but it will take much longer and be more messy.

Once you have stripped the finish, depending on what type of mahogany it is will determine how you make it look like oak. If it was me, I'd bleach it, make it as light as possible then stain it with an oak stain, then finish with clear finish but the bleaching aint too enjoyable neither and is another ball game!

Alternatively you could strip to bare wood and use a translucent oak finish (varnish with oak stain in it) straight on the wood (a couple of coats as per instructions) but I think all you will end up with is a "dark" and indeterminate coloured finish..

the other way you could do this is bubble up and scrape the emulsion off with a heat gun then strip the stain/ varnish afterwards when the paint has been removed. When stripping paint there is a tendancy to leave paint residue on the wood - removing this residue isnt difficult it just takes time and is tedious...

try heat gun first and see if the emulsion falls off...

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