How to Strip Wood with a Heat Gun

What You'll Need
Heat Gun
Metal Paint Scraper
Non-Abrasive Sponge
Lint Free Cloth
Warm Soapy Water
Tack Rag
Safety Glasses

When you need to strip wood, you have many methods available which will be equally effective. You can try your luck with heavy grade sandpaper and a sanding machine or you might choose to use liquid paint stripper which will also remove paint and varnish from your wood. However, you do have other choices available and one of the post popular was of stripping wood is by using a heat gun.

Step 1 – Safety

Safety is of the utmost importance when stripping wood with a heat gun. Apart from the obvious factor that wood is not fire-resistant, using a heat gun needs care and attention. Gloves, goggles and a dust mask should always be worn during operation

Step 2 – Washing the Surface

Prepare your surface using clean warm soapy water but refrain from using any chemicals as these can react with the heat. Dry the surface with a lint free dry cloth and use a tack rag to remove excess dust particles and debris.

Step 3 – The Heat Gun

Heat guns are now a more popular way of cleaning older paint and varnish from wooden surfaces because they act more like heavy duty hairdryers and will not scorch the paint or wood in the same way that torches do as long as they are used correctly.

Plug the heat gun in but remember to place it in a safe location where it cannot melt the surface it is resting on. First and foremost, read all the directions for use thoroughly before you use the gun. Be sure to follow manufacturer guidelines and suggestions for best results.

Step 4 - Using the Heat Gun

Hold the heat gun using your non-dominant hand and have the paint scraper in your dominant hand. Set the gun to a low or medium heat. Use the heat gun close to the surface but without touching it and allow it to move slowly up and down over a small area. As the paint begins to soften, you can scrape it gently from the wood. Once one area has been cleared of excess paint, move the gun to another area, always keeping the gun close to the surface. Don’t work in an area larger than about six or seven inches at one time.

Step 5 – Scraping

Your scraper should be of the triangular shape with a pointed edge to get inside architrave and awkward edges. Use the sharp end of the scraping tool to scrape paint out of tight edges and corners. Use it carefully so as not to scrape away chunks of wood. Remember you are scraping the surface paint off and not carving the wood.

Step 6 – Finishing

Once you have removed most of the paint and are left with just minor areas, you can switch off the heat gun and use sandpaper to remove the rest of the paint from the surface. Finally, wipe down the wooden surface using the tack rag and remove any left over debris. Sand using a fine grade sandpaper for a smooth finish which can accept your next wood covering choice.

Looking to purchase a new heat gun? Check out our Heat Guns Buyer's Guide.