I’ll never use stripper again. I bought a heat gun from Home Depot when I needed to strip the paint off my 1st bathroom door. It didn’t put a dent in the layers of paint. The scraping tool that connected to the end of it actually bent. The paint never came to a blister. I returned it and bought stripper, hence my post The Battle of the Strippers. Assuming all heat guns are created equal when it came time to start stripping the office door I found at Columbus Architectural Salvage I immediately planned to buy Citristrip, but I also remembered a conversation I had with Britt Sang, the guy who painted my door when he came out to give me a quote on painting my house. He said he’d use a heat gun to remove the paint from around the windows.
I decided to try a heat gun again, but this time I was going to rent a professional one. Unfortunately the door was returned to me too late to rent one last Saturday. I had already lost 8 days when it was not returned on the 21st as communicated by Scotti at the WoodShop, so instead of doing nothing until Monday when the rental store opened I ran to Lowe’s and bought Citristrip. It took two gallons of Citristrip and two days to get one side to the state you see in these pictures. The fine grooves in the two vertical panels still had paint on most of it.
Frustrated by the slow process (I swear it worked better previously) Monday I headed out to Schuloff Tool Rental for a $12/day heat gun. Before leaving the shop I asked for tips on using. He said to heat an area, put the gun down and scrap. He recommended using a 5-in-1 tool, which I wasn’t sure what it was so he sent me to a Beck Paint and Hardware Store down the road from them. When I saw the tool I then knew what it was because I had two of them. I asked the clerk about getting paint out of the grooves and he recommended the Hyde Coutour Scraper. You get a handle and six different attachments. I used the one you see pictured.
Heating an area and then scraping did not work. As fast as it bubbled up, without the heat it cooled down. Remembering how the attachment from the one I bought worked, I put my scrapper down and held the gun inches above it and once the paint started to blister I pushed the blade.. The paint came up like butter. I was amazed. In about 5 hours I had the door completely stripped. The Hyde tool worked fabulously in the grooves. I was so focused on that area that I didn’t take any pictures. As you can see from the pic on the left I singed the door a bit, but wasn’t concerned due to my dark stain.
The bad thing about paint strippers is that they do something to the molecular nature of paint, as when I turned the door over to use the gun to clean up the strip side, the heat just made the residual paint gum up. When I tried to focus on the grooves I unfortunately held the heat gun to the plastic handle of the scraper and it melted the mechanism that held the attachment rendering it useless.
I decided to just sand the door and then apply the stain. I knew the next day that I had not sanded enough. I could tell that the lighter areas still had residue of the paint/stripper. My sanding pad gummed up quick and instead of changing it I used it for the entire door. Once gummed up sanding pads are not effective. I decided to sand the lighter areas again, but instead of using my belt sander I used my orbital. I went through 3, 80 grit pads, which means there was a lot of paint residue on that door. I used the orbital on the heat gun side too. In comparison I used one pad and it never gummed up.
I knew after one coat the heat gun side was going to look better, so thankfully that is the side of the door that faces the hall and will be seen the most. When I thought I would have the door back before Christmas I decided to hold a Birthday Open House, so the eight days I lost stopped me from spending more time cleaning up the detailing. Perhaps one day when I’m bored and I get another Hyde Contour Scraper handle, I’ll go back and clean up the grooves. For now it will just have to work.