Any way to save the old stain under paint? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 09-13-2020, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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Any way to save the old stain under paint?


New member here, looking to avoid going down a rabbit hole of bad advice all over the internet. Thanks in advice for sharing any good suggestions you might have to offer.

My husband and I are restoring a simple 1928 farmhouse and want to go back to stained wood trim. Downstairs the trim appears to be the dark, mahogany stain on Southern yellow pine, covered in varnish, followed by oil paint (around the 1950s) and then some latex on top of that. There's no detail to most of the trim--just a simple roundover at the outside edges.

I've tried a few of my usual strippers so far to remove the paints, but they also removed the varnish and some of the mahogany. The old mahogany stain was slopped on unevenly and leaves a lot of streaking behind, even after heavy duty sanding. So now I'm wondering if it's possible to remove the paint only and NOT try to "un-stain" the wood. I'm willing to touch up with a mahogany stain where necessary, then protect it.

Any ideas for removing the paint only, or the paint and varnish, without overly disturbing the old time stain?

Attaching a picture taken today after leaving a very mild stripper on the trim overnight. Hoping there's some magic technique out there hasn't occurred to me. Thank you!
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post #2 of 3 Old 09-13-2020, 09:06 PM
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There isn't a way to save the old stain. Paint will get into the wood so the best thing you can do is strip everything you can out of the wood so it's as close to new wood as you can make it. For now you can use what you can see to mix some stain to match what is there. As best as I can see from the picture it appears to be Douglas Fir. See if you can get some to make stain samples.
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post #3 of 3 Old 09-13-2020, 09:39 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Steve. And thanks for correcting me about the wood species. I think it's pine trim upstairs and Douglas fir downstairs.

I've already stripped and re-stained the front door (definitely Douglas fir) and the mahogany there came off like cheap hair dye, in messy layers. But, on the plus side, it did take the new stain beautifully.
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