22 August 2012

Whappity Things for Paint Removal

I've been working on a lovely Norwegian wheel recently, removing some truly horrid deck stain that some well-meaning but clearly clueless muggle used to cover the gorgeous wood.

Believe me, it's hideous. Worse in real life than the pictures convey.

Anyway, six hours and a litre of nasty chemicals later, most of the stain was off. However, there's always those bits of melted finish and the stuff stuck in the cracks and crevices. I really wasn't looking forward to another few hours with the nasty chemicals, nor was I liking the idea of having to floss the crevices with yarn soaked in paint thinner (though I will probably end up having to do that on a couple of spots regardless, it's not really my idea of fun).

So, I checked the Dremel accessories and I found awesome whappity things: abrasive (mild, medium, strong) wheels of rubbery stuff with abrasive built into it, and buffing wheels that look sort of like an afro hairdo. I burned through one of the medium abrasive wheels and two of the buffing wheels in two hours this afternoon, but the majority of the leftover paint bits (as well as some stain I hadn't gotten with the chemicals) came off - and no damage to the wood. No scratching or dulling of the edges of the turnings noticeable.

They aren't cheap - I think the abrasive wheel (which lasted most of the two hours and was probably the ideal tool for the job - though I probably could've gone with the heavier abrasiveness for some of this work) was just over $10, and the pair of buffing things were about $5. Still, waaaaaaaaaaaay better than the fumes and I was able to get into the cracks and crevices in ways I just can't manage with a rag and the big bulky gloves that I have to wear when using those nasty chemicals (even *with* my big heavy gloves, my hands were stinging a little by the time I was done).

So there’s another tool added to the arsenal: shellac comes off so easily, there's no need for anything like this, but when you are facing a muggled paint/stain job and need the big guns, this might be worth considering.


  1. I hear you. I have a 700n sq ft deck. I did everything "right" the last time I stained it: deck wash to remove glaze, old stain and mildew, good rinsing, allow to fully dry. Bought the brand of solid stain that the consumer report said was the best. Now 2 years later (only 2 years?) it is peeling, the garden hose peels some, my fingers can peel it, but even deck stripper won't take off the firmly stuck parts. aargh!!, but I don't think a Dremel attachment is reasonable here.

  2. They do make bigger whappity things for power drills - which might be more appropriate for a deck-sized structure. :) I've gone through four of the ten dollar whappity things on this little wheel (it's finally done now) and I'd hate to think of the cost to clear a deck that way! :)


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