How do I remove layers of paint on 1930s door frames?


It's for the little grooves at the joints, in the decorations, and down the sides.I'm making headway. I keep re-applying, scraping (plastic and steel wool), and wiping with mineral spirits. I'm now using a fingernail stick covered with a spirits-infused cloth. I have all low voc, etc., chemicals but how much can the little grooves in this wood really take?Also, on the one flat side I stripped, it looks dull (I'm not sure if 'cloudy' would apply) even tho' I wiped it down with spirits nice. Is this normal?The previous 1930's stain is showing thru, lighter in some places. I'm psyched because it's gorgeous. I would like it darker. Do I have to strip THAT off or can I just go over it with stain.Thank you.

  5 answers
  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Sep 25, 2019

    You can use a heat gun to loosen it. When it's down to only stain you can stain darker over it without having to sand. Try cleaning with denatured alcohol to remove any residue.

    • See 1 previous
    • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Sep 27, 2019

      It's possible some of the paint seeped into the wood, causing the "cloudy". Maybe use fine steel wool for remove. You can also use a fine grit sandpaper.

  • Pat Rios Pat Rios on Sep 25, 2019

    Unfortunately you will have to keep stripping until you have at least a reasonable even surface. If there is old paint on it, make sure it doesn't have lead. Home Depot sells lead test kits. Once you get to an even surface (no need to be raw wood, but there shouldn't be any paint left), apply one or two coats of gel stain in a dark color. General Finishes has beautiful colors and you don't need to strip the wood to obtain a great result.

    • Patti Scozzafava Patti Scozzafava on Sep 27, 2019

      I'm so glad you told me all of this, Pat. I have the patience and the fact that I don't have to strip down to the bare wood greatly improves my future. lol

  • I use a product called CitriStrip to remove layers of old paint. It works great for me.

  • William William on Sep 25, 2019

    I agree with Beverly. Citristrip is a low VOC stripper. It will remove layers of paint. A small brass brush will work in details. Will not harm the wood. Once all paint is removed you can stain with gel stain.

    • Patti Scozzafava Patti Scozzafava on Sep 27, 2019

      Thank you for this link, William! The wood is oak and I can't believe how anyone could paint over it.

  • William William on Sep 27, 2019

    From around the 1920's to the 70's people painted wood trim. Didn't matter on the wood. Just made lower quality wood look expensive and/or match furnishings. Now painting trim, doors and windows is making a comeback.