Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Refinisher's Two New Best Friends

I've been meaning for a while to blog about two newer products I've discovered that have made home improvement projects so much easier. If you refinish furniture or do woodworking, you want to check these two concoctions out.

It used to be that stripping paint meant donning heavy-duty gloves, a breathing mask, and seting up shop far away from any inquisitive children. With Safest Stripper from 3M, those days are over. This paint remover looks deceptively like Elmer's glue, and feels just as safe: it causes little or no skin irritation (gloves still recommended, but I speak from experience!). Spread on a thick coat, let it sit according to the directions, and the paint begins to gel and crack, and can be easily scraped up with a plastic or metal putty knife. I've had to search hard to find it: our local Lowes doesn't carry it, but our small-town hardware store was willing to order it for me. It works easiest on latex paint and varnish, but with hard work and plastic wrap (to keep it wet), it even removed six layers of old lead-based paint from our 1890 kitchen. Safest Stripper makes an arduous chore far less so, and I am grateful.
For me, applying polyeurethane always meant sacrificing a paint brush, since I never seemed to be able to get the bristles completely clean, and I seldom remembered to stock up on paint thinner. No more! The water-based revolution continues in paints, and Miniwax's latest offering is water-based wipe-on polyeurethane, which makes adding a final protective coat as easy as wiping a hard surface with a rag--literally! And coats dry extremely rapidly, which is another plus, making the application multiple coats so much easier.
So if you're thinking of beginning a project, keep a look out for these products I've stumbled upon, which do an excellent job. As a mother of small children, I've been particularly happy to discover them. Pass it on!

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