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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello ContractorTalk..ers I am new to the site, was invited by James Dyer to join up to absorb as much knowledge from all you veterans.

I run a custom wood and finishing shop just South of Denver Colorado and during the summer months I restore wood entryways (doors, sidelights, transoms), which has become a big part of my yearly income. My general process is spending hours and hours of stripping the old finish by hand using chemical strippers, scrappers and finally sanding. I am looking to find a more efficient way of stripping old finishes...soda blasting. From what I have been told, softwoods get eaten up pretty bad from blasting but hardwoods can easily be stripped.

With that, I wanted to ask your opinion on equipment, experiences, advices, pros, cons, basically any pitfalls that I may come across, anything and everything you can tell me that will help set me up on the right path. Pictures are worth a thousand words too! Since the "door season" is now closed I have all winter to research and develop a more efficient, less hazardous method for stripping doors.

Thank you all in advance for the help and information and especially James for letting me know about this forum. Looking forward to hearing from you.
 

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Trial and Error Opperator
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OK Travis, welcome you found the site to be on !!! :thumbup:

so to start you off, wood that is painted vs. stained wood

painted wood is a bear, areas of paint that is blasted off (with any media) some will come right off other areas will hold on for dear life.
thats the parts that will screw ya, going back to hit an area of paint that has bear wood around it will eat up the unprotected wood.

stained is about the best type you can clean up. no resistance and can get it looking fairly blended.

ive put on some pictures of different wood shutters, chairs and a old building.

the shutters as you can see, i took off what i could and left the rest for the painters to clean. they was happy cause it wasnt to bad for them.

the chair was hard wood, looked good after

and old house was rough cut and the grooving of the wood just added a nice look to it..lol

all was done with a fine crushed glass at low psi (30 to 60) and #3 nozzle
 

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Trial and Error Opperator
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Ok the first pict is a test for a log cabin, they wanted the stain off but leave some bark to keep the patina of the year of the house.
the post is blasting gone wrong, soft wood, even at low low psi would not take off YEARS of paint before eating up the wood around it....

and a baby's chair - hard wood - half way done. you can see the old and new areas

hope this helps.
 

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Another thing to consider is lead remediation. My friend works for a company that does old home restorations and they use a dipper tank big enough to fit a 10' x 4' door the tank is 12" wide.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I've only had strip 2 doors that have been painted. The strpping work I do are varnish, lacquer, shellac, urethane's, etc.. there is stain also but that comes off during the sanding process. I do antique and furniture refinishing in the winter and again, mostly fine finish based. So, lead generally isn't an issue.

My income is based more on the finishing side of my work. I'm just curious if a media blaster is worth the investment to be more efficient in the stripping side and eliminating solvents and chemical strippers.
 

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Bob
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At stripping it would be 10x faster than your current method but would the resulting surface be a satisfactory starting point for the rest of your process? Being in Colorado I'll bet there are quite a few log home refinishers. They have a lot of experience blasting wood and you might try and get a look at their work and learn a bit about the types of equipment and media the successful operators use. Perhaps hire your work out to them for a bit and see what they can do with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
At stripping it would be 10x faster than your current method but would the resulting surface be a satisfactory starting point for the rest of your process?
The Million Dollar Question! And so soon, too. I've looked up a couple soda blaster companies in the area, and there's only a couple and they both have the big pull behind units. I'm not sure that I need something that big. I'm curious what the lowest CFM/PSI and least abrasive media combo would start removing finish? Even when using chemicals strippers and scrapers, I never get it all off, usually about 80%, the rest comes off when I sand the sequence.
 

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Bob
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I'd guess a minimal set-up for small jobs like that would probably be like a 100lb capacity quality multi-media pot, 3/4" blast hose, 3/16 nozzle and 40-50 cfm of air shooting at say 40-70 psi (if such a portable compressor like that exists, most are 100cfm+). Soda, walnut shell, plastics, etc., lots of media out there to try, choice may depend on type and condition of wood, type of finish to be removed, etc.
 

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Trial and Error Opperator
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Some smaller 90 cfm compressor around See a lot of landscapers have them I used one once when my compressor was done, was doing a boat bottom and only needed 50 cfm to do it and it worked good I'd wonder if a plastic beed or glass beed would work better on wood stuff I'm not a wood refinisher, and the wood I take on is either on a trial base were the customer is willing to get it back and do a lot of work, or have it come back in good order. If I did only wood, setting up a booth to run a media like plastic to reclaim to reuse would be the way. Moblie would have to be tented. Plastic is not cheep, but making your money back by reusing it
 
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