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Tiki Central Forums Creating Tiki Tiki Carving Questions on stripping and restoration of Witco-like works
Questions on stripping and restoration of Witco-like works
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 23, 2003
Posts: 825
From: KS/MO
Posted: 2004-07-26 10:49 am   Permalink

It may be presumptuous of me to post this is creating tiki, as its really a restoration attempt, but the hands-on experienced people seem to be in this forum so here goes. I'm restoring some wood masks which were painted by the restaurant that last owned them. I picked one to experiment on that had been used as a dart board and had a piece of one cheek missing so I figured I couldn't do it too much more harm. This is the mask when I bought it:

I read quite a bit on TC, and for this first one, I used a modification of a method suggested by Basement Kahuna for stripping rattan:

I laid the mask on a garbage bag in the back of a van and slathered it with Citrustrip for woodwork (which I chose over the furniture version so it'd cling to the ridges better). I let it work for 45 minutes while I drove to a car wash where I hit it with a high pressure spray of water for three passes of five minutes each until I got everything off that was going to come off. I did not use soap as I was afraid of it soaking into any open grain and hindering later finishes though I don't really know if that was a valid concern. I set the piece out in the sun to dry quickly:

The remaining bits of paint revealed that the piece had an underlying paint job which had been more sparing and precise. The underlying colors were muted tones of off-white, red, mustard, burnt orange and that sort of minty-green that was used on Hamilton beach malt mixers in the 50's. I think I could have lived with that first paint scheme; its too bad I had to blow most of it away.

This is after another round of Citrustrip and pressure-spraying. I still have a few flecks of paint to pick out and there is a stubborn area of spraypaint overspray from where the previous owners were painting something nearby. Here's a view of the center area as it stands now:

There was some slight erosion of the wood in the valleys of the piece, but nothing too bad and I think that if I try this again, I can avoid that problem by holding the wand farther away. I think most of the eroded wood was that which was originally burned. The ridges on the piece are hard; the valleys have a softer texture like driftwood nuggets.

I may try to burn the paint off the next one, just for the experience, although I don't know if I want to buy a torch just for that.

What I am wondering now is: where do I go from here? Have any of you stripped and refinished a surface-burned work? Did you re-burn the surface? I am told that sometimes in re-burning a piece loses a bit of detail but this one in in deep relief and has lots of detail to start with. How would a stain react on a surface that is partially bare and partially burned?. Do I apply another coating like Minwax? I'd especially like to be adept at this before I tackle a Witco boy and girl I've got that are completely covered with paint. Thanks for reading.

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chisel slinger
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 23, 2004
Posts: 263
From: columbus,ohio
Posted: 2004-07-27 7:10 pm   Permalink

a propane torch is'nt very expensive, maybe around $15 for a tank of gas and nossel. if you try burning, hold the flame about 6" away burn lightly up and down. dont hold it on one spot too long. go over it until the paint starts to turn brown and bubble.have a spray bottle of water near in case it starts to ember. i've burnt paint off some of my own pieces. but it looks like the stripper worked good.get a wire brush after the burning and brush the piece going with the grain.good luck, jimmy

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