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Refinishing Furniture

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      I am into refinishing furniture and have done several pieces, I’ve run into a problem with my next project.  Lead based paint is on one of the paint layers.  Does anyone have any suggestions on how best to strip it?  I’d rather not take it somewhere to be done, mostly because I’m afraid of the cost and I would like to keep it as a project for me to do in my free time.  


        Removal of lead-based paint is a serious matter.  I would not suggest you do this work yourself.  When intact, lead-based paint in itself is not dangerous, the lead is considered encapsulated.  However, when you try to remove the paint from a surface, you create lead-paint chips and lead-paint dust, and that is hazardous to yourself and the people around you, especially children.  

        When lead is ingested or inhaled, it can have serious  health effects, and in small children may even be fatal.  See the US EPA’s website on lead hazards at for more info.  Good luck.  


          I have older cabinets that had lead paint on them. I can tell you what I did. The important thing aout removing lead paint is not to create dust. That means no sanding at all. If you really need to remove the lead paint yourself, purchase one of those brush on paint removers. The paint usually bubbles up and then comes off very easily without creating dust. I would use TSP to wash the furniture down. TSP neutralizes the lead.  Of course the paint chips that come off will be full of lead and toxic. For a piece of furniture, I would do this outside and on a piece of plastic so the lead chips don’t get into the soil.(I did this with all my cabinet doors) When you are done, carefully wrap up the piece of plastic and dispose of it in the trash. It would also be smart to wear a mask along with protective gloves when doing this.

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