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Stripping victorian staircase. What is this tar like stuff?

Discussion in 'Wood / Woodwork / Carpentry' started by rjbell, 31 Aug 2015.

  1. rjbell

    rjbell

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    I've been stripping the staircase. I started with the gloss paint which is coming off fine. I uncovered the newel post which was boxed in. It looked a very dark brown but not shiny like varnish. I put paint stripper on and now its like tar. Its a nightmare to get off i which i didn't start! All over my hands which took forever to scrub off. What is it and what is the best way to remove it?

    I'm using no nonsense stripper from screwfix. Its slow going but its no fumes which is better with children in the house. However the flaking paint does make a mess and worried the kids will might eat lead paint flakes. Has anyone tried Kling Strip. Its cheaper than what i'm using now and looks a though it maybe cleaner process.
     
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  3. foxhole

    foxhole

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    Could be shellac, test with a little neat alcohol, if it dissolves then it is probably shellac.
     
  4. JohnD

    JohnD

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    how old is the house? It might be a linseed oil product. I have only removed that with a hot gun. It may gum up sandpaper.
     
  5. rjbell

    rjbell

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    It's a Victorian house. I'll test for shellac tomorrow.
     
  6. Burnerman

    Burnerman

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    If its anything like my barge timbers were......heat from the orbital sander just melted the surface and then clogged the paper. The softened paint wouldn't come off my hands, and that included using white spirit, petrol and cellulose thinners (I had black hands for days!)
    Eventually I painted over the top, but like JohnD I suspect there was a high linseed oil content.
    Happily the timber was in excellent condition, so our forefathers did get something right!
    John :)
     
  7. rjbell

    rjbell

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    Yeah sounds like the same stuff. I couldn't get it off my hands either.
     
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