Some finishes are impenetrable by any stripper. That’s when you turn to stripping with a heat gun.
My daughter-in-law found a dining table she really loved and wanted to refinish it. I was visiting, so naturally, she asked me how to remove the old finish, which was damaged.
It turned out that the table was a reproduction made in Asia, nice enough looking, and well enough made, but the finish was impenetrable by any stripper. It was a thick, glossy finish that I concluded was polyester…because it looked like polyester (think of Yamaha pianos from several decades ago), not because I know a test for polyester.
I decided to try a heat gun. It was slow, but it worked.
This table was veneered, but it was fairly new, so the veneer wasn’t glued down with animal hide glue. Hide glue would dissolve with that much heat. But modern synthetic adhesives are resistant to heat.
I had no problem with the veneer lifting. I just had to be careful not to burn the wood.
— Bob Flexner
Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.