Removing Old 1930s Old Varnish From Stairs - Router Forums
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-10-2011, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
Gaia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Country: United Kingdom
First Name: Peter
Posts: 599
 
Default Removing Old 1930s Old Varnish From Stairs

Hi,
I attach a couple of links to pictures of my stairs. I think the old varnish is called something like stubling. I got some off using stripper and wire wool. As you can see there is quite a lot left, anyone got any ideas of how I can remove it. I want to sand down the stairs and apply a finish. ( what kind? Don't think the Briwax I'm using on doors would suit. )

Door Moulding Sanding Advice :: f.jpg picture by EarthTribe13 - Photobucket

Door Moulding Sanding Advice :: g.jpg picture by EarthTribe13 - Photobucket
Gaia is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-11-2011, 11:12 AM
Registered User
 
mimac's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Country: Canada
First Name: Brian
Posts: 428
 
Default

Hi Peter

You could try this for stripping varnish just be careful, use rubber gloves and safety glasses.

Go to your local supermarket and get a can of lye. Over here Gillets is the brand I use, costs around $2 a can. Years ago people used to use it to make soap, I guess it is still used for cleaning or something. Anyway dissolve the lye in warm water in a quart glass jar. Don't use an aluminum container. It will eat it. Paint the solution on the varnish using a natural bristle brush. It eats plastic too. Wait a few minutes and wash it off with water. Let the wood dry and sand down the raised grain. Proceed with staining. The nice thing with lye is that it works very well on varnishes and also bleaches the old stain out of the wood as well. It is also great for aging cherry wood.
mimac is offline  
post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-11-2011, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
Gaia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Country: United Kingdom
First Name: Peter
Posts: 599
 
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mimac View Post
Hi Peter

You could try this for stripping varnish just be careful, use rubber gloves and safety glasses.

Go to your local supermarket and get a can of lye. Over here Gillets is the brand I use, costs around $2 a can. Years ago people used to use it to make soap, I guess it is still used for cleaning or something. Anyway dissolve the lye in warm water in a quart glass jar. Don't use an aluminum container. It will eat it. Paint the solution on the varnish using a natural bristle brush. It eats plastic too. Wait a few minutes and wash it off with water. Let the wood dry and sand down the raised grain. Proceed with staining. The nice thing with lye is that it works very well on varnishes and also bleaches the old stain out of the wood as well. It is also great for aging cherry wood.
Thanks for that, on another board someone suggested,

" Its is called scrumble/scrumbling, and it was applied to make the wood look better than it really was, the easiest way for you to remove it is to apply stripper liberally and then cover/seal it over with polythene or cling film, this will stop the stripper evaporating and the stripper will work longer and strike deeper, leave it at least a couple of hours to get the best out of it. When you remove the cover scrape or wire wool any thing that is left and wash down with WASHING soda to neutralise the stripper and carry on to sand it down when its dried. "

The method I use I want the wood to match the sanded down doors, rest of staircase etc. Probably I could get a nice effect by staining the treads steps on the stairs whatever they are called. If I can get the wood cleaned and sanded down so the wood has a uniform bare wood colour. Should be quite easy to stain might be able to close match the stain so looks like doors. Don't really know what do you and others think?

When you say, " Wait a few minutes and wash it off with water" Do you mean just wipe over with a wet cloth, sorry to be dense, can elaborate explain the technique please?
Cheers,
Peter.
Gaia is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-11-2011, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
Gaia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Country: United Kingdom
First Name: Peter
Posts: 599
 
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mimac View Post
Hi Peter

You could try this for stripping varnish just be careful, use rubber gloves and safety glasses.

Go to your local supermarket and get a can of lye. Over here Gillets is the brand I use, costs around $2 a can. Years ago people used to use it to make soap, I guess it is still used for cleaning or something. Anyway dissolve the lye in warm water in a quart glass jar. Don't use an aluminum container. It will eat it. Paint the solution on the varnish using a natural bristle brush. It eats plastic too. Wait a few minutes and wash it off with water. Let the wood dry and sand down the raised grain. Proceed with staining. The nice thing with lye is that it works very well on varnishes and also bleaches the old stain out of the wood as well. It is also great for aging cherry wood.
I was reading caustic soda can darken the wood?
Gaia is offline  
post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-11-2011, 05:47 PM
Registered User
 
mimac's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Country: Canada
First Name: Brian
Posts: 428
 
Default

Hi Peter

I usually paint a liberal amount on with the brush and then wait about 5 to 10 minutes. Then I wash it off with a cloth and lots of water. Most of the things that I use this on are portable ie. furniture. I once stripped a set of carved oak chairs using this method and it worked great, no fiddely scraping around the carvings. no messy gels. To wash these chairs I used a garden hose then wiped as much water off as quickly as I could. Oak tends to go black if wet for too long. As far as darkening wood lye will on certain woods. As I said before it will age (darken) cherry. From the look of your pictures I would guess that your stairs are fir. The might darken down a little bit. You can neutralize the lye with some vinegar before washing with water.

If you plan on trying this test it out in an inconspicuous area or scrap first. Lye works really well with real natural varnish but is much less effective on polyurethanes and paints.
mimac is offline  
post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-15-2011, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
Gaia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Country: United Kingdom
First Name: Peter
Posts: 599
 
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mimac View Post
Hi Peter

I usually paint a liberal amount on with the brush and then wait about 5 to 10 minutes. Then I wash it off with a cloth and lots of water. Most of the things that I use this on are portable ie. furniture. I once stripped a set of carved oak chairs using this method and it worked great, no fiddely scraping around the carvings. no messy gels. To wash these chairs I used a garden hose then wiped as much water off as quickly as I could. Oak tends to go black if wet for too long. As far as darkening wood lye will on certain woods. As I said before it will age (darken) cherry. From the look of your pictures I would guess that your stairs are fir. The might darken down a little bit. You can neutralize the lye with some vinegar before washing with water.

If you plan on trying this test it out in an inconspicuous area or scrap first. Lye works really well with real natural varnish but is much less effective on polyurethanes and paints.
Hi again,
As caustic soda is such a harsh chemical. I think I will try the stripper with clingfilm method. If this does not produce the desired results then I will have a go with the soda.
Cheers,
Peter.
Gaia is offline  
post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
Gaia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Country: United Kingdom
First Name: Peter
Posts: 599
 
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mimac View Post
Hi Peter

I usually paint a liberal amount on with the brush and then wait about 5 to 10 minutes. Then I wash it off with a cloth and lots of water. Most of the things that I use this on are portable ie. furniture. I once stripped a set of carved oak chairs using this method and it worked great, no fiddely scraping around the carvings. no messy gels. To wash these chairs I used a garden hose then wiped as much water off as quickly as I could. Oak tends to go black if wet for too long. As far as darkening wood lye will on certain woods. As I said before it will age (darken) cherry. From the look of your pictures I would guess that your stairs are fir. The might darken down a little bit. You can neutralize the lye with some vinegar before washing with water.

If you plan on trying this test it out in an inconspicuous area or scrap first. Lye works really well with real natural varnish but is much less effective on polyurethanes and paints.
When you say, " You can neutralise the lye with some vinegar before washing with water. " To do this do I just wipe over with a wet cloth, sorry to ask a dumb question, what quantity of vinegar do I load the cloth with? I bought several bottles of cheap vinegar the other day. Will also have some on hand in a pot in case of any accidents.
Peter.
Gaia is offline  
post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-18-2011, 08:22 AM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
Gaia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Country: United Kingdom
First Name: Peter
Posts: 599
 
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mimac View Post
Hi Peter

I usually paint a liberal amount on with the brush and then wait about 5 to 10 minutes. Then I wash it off with a cloth and lots of water. Most of the things that I use this on are portable ie. furniture. I once stripped a set of carved oak chairs using this method and it worked great, no fiddely scraping around the carvings. no messy gels. To wash these chairs I used a garden hose then wiped as much water off as quickly as I could. Oak tends to go black if wet for too long. As far as darkening wood lye will on certain woods. As I said before it will age (darken) cherry. From the look of your pictures I would guess that your stairs are fir. The might darken down a little bit. You can neutralize the lye with some vinegar before washing with water.

If you plan on trying this test it out in an inconspicuous area or scrap first. Lye works really well with real natural varnish but is much less effective on polyurethanes and paints.
Hi,
I bought a 500g tub of Caustic soda this morning. what would be the ratio of soda crystals to water bearing in mind, I intend to do the whole staircase, 12 pairs of treads, risers at one time, should I do it all at once?
.
I have a house cat " You can neutralise the lye with some vinegar before washing with water. " I don't want to run the risk of hurting my cat, what quantity of vinegar should I use to neutralise the lye. Do I let it sit for a few minutes before washing off with water?

Any tips regarding doing this would be much appreciated. I will observe all safety procedures, gloves, wrap around visor, dust mask, thick clothing, container of vinegar on hand with jug in case of any accidents.
Regards,
Peter.

Last edited by Gaia; 01-18-2011 at 08:31 AM.
Gaia is offline  
post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-18-2011, 10:51 AM
Registered User
 
mimac's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Country: Canada
First Name: Brian
Posts: 428
 
Default

Hi
A 500g tub of soda I would probably cut with about a gallon of water. You can experiment a bit making it weaker at first and adding more if you think it isn't going quick enough.
As for the vinegar I would use the pickling stuff as it is a couple of percent stronger, around 7% I think. It's sometimes called double strength. You can cut this with water as well and just wipe it on and wash it off. You'll probably get a craving for fish and chips.
Keep the cat in another room until the stairs are washed down and drying.
Like I said before try this on a small area first to make sure it's going to work for you rather than jumping in on the whole set of stairs in one go. You're stripping the stairs anyway.
mimac is offline  
post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-18-2011, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
Gaia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Country: United Kingdom
First Name: Peter
Posts: 599
 
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mimac View Post
Hi
A 500g tub of soda I would probably cut with about a gallon of water. You can experiment a bit making it weaker at first and adding more if you think it isn't going quick enough.
As for the vinegar I would use the pickling stuff as it is a couple of percent stronger, around 7% I think. It's sometimes called double strength. You can cut this with water as well and just wipe it on and wash it off. You'll probably get a craving for fish and chips.
Keep the cat in another room until the stairs are washed down and drying.
Like I said before try this on a small area first to make sure it's going to work for you rather than jumping in on the whole set of stairs in one go. You're stripping the stairs anyway.
OK thanks, what ratio of lye to water?
Gaia is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Router Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in











Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Wiping Varnish Selection BigJimAK The Finishing Touch 13 09-17-2012 01:49 AM
Designing Stairs bobj3 Guide Bushings and Templates 11 11-29-2011 10:12 AM
finished stairs bpoor DIY and Renovation 3 06-30-2010 03:03 PM
Is Goo Gone safe for removing adhesive? timbertailor The Finishing Touch 6 10-08-2009 10:00 AM
Removing springs from a Bosch 1617EVSPK sher622 General Routing 9 05-17-2009 10:49 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome