How to Remove Oil Enamel Paint from Wood

Oil enamel paint is a type of paint that dries hard and produces a glossy finish. After exposure to moisture and heat, the paint will begin to peel off and require removal. There are two recommended methods for stripping off the old paint – the dry and wet method.

Tools and Materials

  • Paint Stripper
  • Paint Scraper or Putty Knife
  • Hot Air Gun
  • Sandpaper
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Respirator
  • Paintbrush or Roller
  • Detergent
  • Scrub

Step 1 – Determine Whether to Use a Dry or Wet Method

The dry method requires the use of a hot air gun. It does not require the use of any chemicals, but it may not be best to use for wide areas. The wet method, on the other hand, requires the use of a quality paint stripper. This process is quite faster than the former, but will be a lot messier due to the involvement of solvents.

Step 2 – Prep the Wood

Remove as much paint from the wooden surface using a paint scraper or putty knife. Do not apply too much pressure to avoid damaging the wood. Clean any dirt or mold growth using a scrub and soapy water. Rinse off the residue with water. Let it dry.

Step 3 – Remove the Paint using the Dry Method

Connect the hot air gun to an electrical outlet. Apply hot air directly on the surfaces of the wood. Work on one portion at a time. As the paint becomes loose, remove it gently with a putty knife. Place the stripped paint into a bag or trash bin. Work on the other areas until most of the paint has been removed. Sand the surface of the wood with coarse sandpaper to remove the remaining paint residue. Afterwards, use a finer grit sandpaper to get rid of the rough texture.

Step 4 – Remove Paint using the Wet Method

Wear rubber gloves before application to prevent solvent burns on the skin. Wear a respirator as well to protect the respiratory system. Open any windows or doors around the room. If possible, bring the wooden piece of furniture or object outdoors if possible. Prepare the paint stripper according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Use a paint roller to apply the chemical onto the wooden surface evenly. Use a paint brush for smaller surface areas. Be sure to use the stripper only to one manageable area at a time. Remember that the stripper should not dry on the surface. As soon as the stripper is applied, wait for the recommended time period provided by the manufacturer. As it softens the paint, remove it right away with a putty knife. 

Step 5 – Remove Excess Paint

Remove the excess paint and the paint stripper using soapy water and a scrub or scouring pad. This allows the new finish to stick to the wooden surface during application. As soon as all traces of paint have been removed, rinse the wood with water and allow it to dry overnight. Before applying a new finish, be sure to let the moisture escape from the wood totally.