stripping polyurethane off a veneered surface? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 4 Old 08-20-2013, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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stripping polyurethane off a veneered surface?

I just scored a kind of awesome table which is covered in thick layer of urethane. Whats good for stripping it down with as low a toxicity as possible?
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post #2 of 4 Old 08-20-2013, 10:19 PM
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More important, is the veneer modern. In recent years a lot of veneer is made with a paper back which is stuck to the wood with hot melt glue. The hot melt glue will strip a lot easier than the urethane. If it is an antique you would be safe in that the veneer is applied with either a resin or hyde glue and would be safe to strip.

Personally I think elbow grease is toxic. Urethane is chemical resistant anyway. If you use something mild like citristrip your looking at a lot of work. It's much more toxic but I would use a methylene chloride remover. For a urethane finish I would use Kleen Strip remover. You apply a liberal coat and let it soak for 15 to 30 minutes keeping it wet with stripper. Then with a broad knife scrape off the finish and residue. If it has a lot of detail like moldings or carvings a brass brush is helpful. Once you start scraping you need to work fast because air is getting to it and it's trying to dry back on. Then to rinse what is left I use a power washer that only has 1500 psi to rinse it with. Some other models of power washers have the means to adjust the pressure so if you can turn it down to where you can almost spray your hand without hurting you it would be fine. Another method is to rinse the residue off with lacquer thinner. It needs repeated rinsing changing rags because the residue contains wax which can interfere with the new finish.
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post #3 of 4 Old 08-21-2013, 11:09 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks. Its a knoll table desk from the 1960s. They were very expensive and tended to do very high quality work but incant tell how thick the top veneer is.

I'll post photos when I can.
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post #4 of 4 Old 08-21-2013, 11:23 AM
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I would start with a very low toxic stripper like CitraStrip. I would give that a few applications to see if it works before going to a methylene chloride stripper. I would not use a power washer as a rinse. If you use a solvent, like lacquer thinner, keep in mind that it should be used sparingly, that it could loosen the glue bond.






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