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If I recall correctly I have already tried a chemical stripper years ago and it didn't work. What would be the easiest way to remove the layers of paint all the way down to bare wood?

An angle grinder? Sheet sander? Random orbital sander? Rotary tool like dremel?

I have a cheapo rotary tool but I doubt it can do the job. I can buy either an angle grinder, a sheet sander or a random orbital sander....or any other one tool that can do the job.

Do I need to sand the wood after the paint has been removed? Can this be done with the same tool I will use to remove the paint? (for example, by changing disks/bit/sandpaper).

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are you repainting or wanting to stain it? (I'd suggest paint as that's likely a better weather/sun proofer than a stain). Personally, depending on the condition of the wood, I'd probably remove it and replace it with a new one. –  DA01 Jul 14 '13 at 18:57

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

One of the best tools to begin the process of removing old, thick paint is a simple hand scraper

scraper

I would remove the metal strip, if possible, and use the scraper to remove most of the finish. The edges on the scraper can be rotated as they get dull.

Then you can follow up with either stripper (there are new citrus based that are pretty effective if you let them sit), or an orbital sander.

If it is very resistant, you could use a multitool with a scraper blade or even the grinding plate if it is very hard. This is an example, but there are many simpler and cheaper versions.

multitool

Caution with the multitool because once you cut through the paint, the wood may gouge or tear.

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Thank you again, you are very helpful. I have used dremel multi-max with 60 grit sand bit attached to it. I have managed to remove most of the paint but the paint on one section is not coming off for some reason. See this picture i.imgur.com/lb2pJGQ.jpg 2 questions: 1. How come it is resisting 60 grit sandpaper? 2. My goal is to apply a new coat of paint. Can I just leave this section and paint over it? –  Douglas Edward Jul 14 '13 at 23:20
    
Some paints are very hard, and may be epoxy based. If the surface is clean and solid, you can sand with 120 grit, wipe with mineral spirits and paint over it. Use floor/deck paint or an epoxy based paint. –  bib Jul 14 '13 at 23:56

If you have a respirator and you're not dealing with lead, you could use a heat gun to melt the paint slightly and then scrape it off with a 3" putty knife. I've done entire rooms full of ornate trim with this technique in the past. Just be careful and obviously have an extinguisher handy and make sure it isn't lead before you use this technique, but for small areas like a threshold or any little bit of trim, you'll be amazed at how well this technique works!

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If the paint is already starting to flake off, a 1" stiff putty knife may do the job. Step up to a wood chisel and hammer if it's not coming off with that.

You mentioned a sander and angle grinder in your question as well. A random orbit sander may work well at a low grit, such as 60 grit. An angle grinder might gouge the wood too much, and you would need a wire brush bit for that as well.

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