My great-grandfather was a furniture maker about a 100 years ago.
I salvaged some of his original work from my deceased uncle's attic.
Unfortunately 2 items where spray-painted with black car-paint in the 1980's and I'm looking for advice on restoring it to its original finish.
The long story:
(Got this from my cousin who was 15 at the time and helped his father around the workshop.)
The furniture (a writing desk and matching office chair) was originally in my uncle's living room. His wife didn't like the color and ordered my uncle to paint them black. She was a very forceful woman and my uncle complied to her wishes (to keep the peace I presume).
He took them to the paint-booth in his workshop (he owned a car-repair business). Cleaned them with pre-paint (or something similar, maybe white spirit or paint-thinner) and over-sprayed them with black car-paint leftover from another job.
The furniture is made of European oak (fairly light colored, but it isn't "white" oak) and doesn't have any stain on it. It was originally just waxed.
Over the years (before the over-paint) it probably didn't see much maintenance of the wax. The other stuff I got from the attic had bold spots all over (especially knobs and handles) where the wax had been worn away. It took a fair amount of elbow grease to re-wax and polish them to an even color.
The black car-paint is most likely not water- or polyurethane based. Those weren't readily available back in the early 80's. And I'm very glad he didn't use under-coat or bed-liner for the paint-job.
According to my cousin it was just 1 coat of paint and it was a very quick and dirty rush-job. This matches with what I see: The paint is uneven, doesn't adhere well in places where there was still some wax on the wood and there are some finger-prints in the paint as well.
I would really like to get this paint off.
I'm thinking I best use a chemical paint-stripper to get the worst off. Then heat the wood gently with a heat-gun to soften/melt the wax remains and then wipe them off with a rag and methylated spirit.
Multiple treatments will probably be needed in some places, maybe some careful sanding in really bad spots.
When I get the wood clean I can use some wood-stain or colored wax to even out the color.
The back of the writing desk is intended to sit against a wall so it isn't in view. That does give me an area I can practice on before I tackle the visible parts.
I'm open to other suggestions. Anybody with other/better ideas?