I wonder if anyone can help me? I have a wood door frame that had been previously stained and varnished, and I would like to strip this back to its original wood. Would a normal paint stripper do the job?

Black & Decker 70-116 Paint Stripper Brush 6"

2 Answers 2


That wire wheel might help if there are nooks and crannys, like fine detail. But I am afraid what you will need is a lot of elbow grease and sandpaper. Starting with coarse and working down to fine, using steel wool and/or wire bushes for the detail work. Good quality chemical strippers are helpful if you are able to cope with the mess/smell/health hazards.

Wood stains are called that because they stain the wood, by soaking in and penetrating the wood fibers. You may never be able to remove all traces of the stain and bring it back to "original wood". You should be prepared to consider a new stain, maybe a light color near to what your vision of "original" was. This will help cover inevitable areas of imperfection and help blend the door color prior to varnishing.

  • Cabinet scrapers can also be useful - the essence of removing stain is that you have to remove wood to remove stain.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Jul 7, 2015 at 15:10

You want gel stripper. The gel will allow you to apply the stripper to the inverted and vertical surfaces (it will still drip, put something down on the floor).

Use several coats of stripper with a scraper until the wood starts to lighten a bit. At that point you can either be happy and/or re-stain the wood. If you want to get it back to the base wood color you will have to continue as Jimmy mentioned and start sanding.

If you are comfortable removing the wood of the frame you can also remove it first, this will make it much easier to work with, and as an added bonus you can use the stripper out in the garage (it is pretty nasty/smelly stuff).

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