I fell in love with this vintage door at a local antique shop (100% solid wood, including the panels) and decided to use it for my bathroom. As it is easily 100 years old, it had many layers of paint. I was successful stripping most of it chemically using KleanStrip stripper, except for the base layer. The subsequent layers would turn yellowish after 10-15 min, then wrinkle up and I was able to scrape them off or maybe use wire pad or scotch brite. There were at least tree paint overs as I had applied about half a dozen coats of the stripper.

The last layer resists and does not turn yellow or wrinkle. It almost feels like it is not paint but maybe some kind of epoxy. There are a few patches where it does come off after arduous scraping.

I was wondering if there is a chemical stripping product that is stronger than KleenStrip that I got at Home Depot. Or another method. The door is so beautiful (this picture does not do it justice) that I want to stain and poly it. For example, many years ago, I used PeelAway but that is more high maintenance as you need to apply paper over the chemical and then apply neutralizer. Maybe acetone?

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It is likely milk-based paint, which often resists remover. Unlike normal paints that just need a solvent to remove, milk paints require a caustic, such as lye.

Oddly enough, it sounds like PeelAway 1 could work to remove it, but another option would be Real Milk Paint remover. It is essentially lye with some added stuff to make it a bit easier to handle.

I haven't used it myself, but as the entire basis of the company is milk paint, it should be good.

  • Do you think acetone will work?
    – amphibient
    Apr 20 '21 at 22:11
  • Regarding the acetone question, all you can do is try it. I won't hurt the wood. In really stubborn projects I've used MEK (Methyl Ethyl Ketone), VERY NASTY STUFF. I wouldn't use it in an enclosed space, only used it once and probably will never use it again. Apr 20 '21 at 23:01
  • Sorry for the teasing, PLEASE DON'T take my suggestions of acids seriously....again, just be careful, some stripping agents can be pretty nasty. Reconsidering my previous post, I'm going to edit out the teasing. Apr 20 '21 at 23:02

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