How to strip paint with a heat gun

Written by melanie l. marten
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One of the easiest ways to remove old paint from wooden surfaces is with a heat gun. Instead of messing around with harsh chemical solvents and caustic liquids, a heat gun melts the paint from your old furniture and woodwork with ease.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Heat gun
  • Painted wooden item to strip
  • Metal scraper tool
  • Scrubber sponge

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    Strip Paint with a Heat Gun

  1. 1

    Clean the painted wooden item that you intend to strip before using the heat gun. Use clear water instead of cleaning chemicals and scrub it well with the sponge. You need to remove all residue, dust, and loose particles.

  2. 2

    Plug in the heat gun and allow it to heat up in a safe location. Be sure the heat gun can easily reach every part of the painted item.

  3. 3

    Hold the heat gun in your non-dominant hand and position the hot end very close to the painted surface. Read the manufacturer's instructions for specific distances. Move the heat gun slowly over the surface until the paint bubbles and appears to melt.

  4. 4

    Scrap the soft paint off the wooden item with the paint scraper tool. A flat scraper tool is ideal for flat surfaces such as the sides of dressers. Triangular scrapers or the sharp side of the flat scraper should be used for mouldings and carved wood.

  5. 5

    Turn off the paint gun when the bulk of the paint is removed. Use a dry scrubber or steel wool to wipe off all remaining loose paint. Use a cloth soaked in white spirits to wipe over the whole piece as a final check for remaining paint.

Tips and warnings

  • Work slowly so you do not damage the wood.
  • Do not lay the painted item on newspaper, as it may burn.
  • Use care with the heat gun to avoid burns.
  • Use only in a well-ventilated area.

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