I have this stack of Red Oak church benches that I acquires a long time ago. I want to do SOMETHING with them, to both make them go away
, and to make at least some money with them.
People here have told me that I will destroy MY helical planer by cutting these bench planks into boards and running them through. Something about the finish on the wood being detrimental to the blades, or it will clog up the machine, or ... ...
So my question is, can someone give me a way to STRIP the finish off of these boards economically, and with reasonable effort, so that the planks and other parts CAN be run through the planer without worrying about what the coating on the benches will do to the blades?
I thought about laying the planks onto the floor, and just running over the flat backs with an orbital floor sander, to get down to the wood. The problem is, the front side is curved (for seating comfort, I suppose) and a sander will not conform to that curve unless I just sand down the entire profile to flat, and THAT seems like a lot of work!
Can I just buy a boat load of paper towels and use M.E.K. to strip them? Would another substance work better? Gasoline? Kerosene? I know ... wear a mask and do that OUTDOORS!
A friend jokingly (?)
suggested laying the boards across steel saw horses, spray the face with diesel fuel, light them on fire one at a time
, and then dowse them with water after the varnish has burned off. After that, he said the planer would only be dealing with a charred surface, but no coating. EVEN IF that works, I have 103 of these benches, and each 8 to 16 feet long and the longest ones weighing well over 100 pounds! My good friend, Dave had a massive stroke last New Year's Eve, so I have no helper now.
I am not opposed to slicing these things up into four to six foot lengths for manhandling, using a simple circular saw. Most everything I make out of this wood, would probably be portable TV size or smaller, although I have thought about the five-foot wide table and two-bench sets too. So many options, so little ENERGY.
But is there some other less deadly stripper I could paint or spray onto this wood, to remove the (varnish / lacquer / clear coat / whatever) from the wood, so that I can get it to a state where it can be fed into the planer or a sander, or otherwise processed with normal woodworking tools? I am not looking for beautiful wood finished here. I will probably paint or "chalk paint" nearly everything, unless you have a better suggestion.
I recently added another tool to my shop, although I am not doing anything with anything
, at the moment. I would like to turn these benches into Christmas gifts, and sell the whole lot at a Christmas Craft Fair in Nashville in ... November???
I have thought about using my CNC router to simply carve silhouette shapes of manger scenes, Snowmen, Tin Soldiers, Nutcrackers, etc., and then paint them. Or I could just slice them up into tiles and make a thousand wooden bird houses, and not worry at all about the finish. Or I could make a hundred thousand wooden COASTERS!
I need some suggestions from you PROs. I am WAY over my head on this stuff, and I have basically lost any motivation. 😕
This is the most recent machine that followed me home.
Here is the planer.
I also have a nice laser to play with
and I have most recently added the X-Tool D1 PRO with the extended frame. It is a 20 Watt Blue Diode laser, and I am looking forward to seeing what can be done with it!