If conditions have been identified that require limited paint
removal such as crazing, intercoat peeling, solvent blistering,
and wrinkling, scraping and hand sanding should be the first methods
employed before using mechanical means. Even in the case of more
serious conditions such as peeling — where the damaged paint
is weak and already sufficiently loosened from the wood surface
— scraping and hand sanding may be all that is needed prior
Putty Knife/Paint Scraper: Scraping is usually accomplished
with either a putty knife or a paint scraper, or both. Putty
knives range in width from one to six inches and have a beveled
edge. A putty knife is used in a pushing motion going under
the paint and working from an area of loose paint toward the
edge where the paint is still firmly adhered and, in effect,"beveling"
the remaining layers so that as smooth a transition as possible
is made between damaged and undamaged areas (see figure 10).
Paint scrapers are commonly available in 1-5/16, 2-1/2, and
3-1/2 inch widths and have replaceable blades. In addition,
profiled scrapers can be made specifically for use on moldings.
As opposed to the putty knife, the paint scraper is used in
a pulling motion and works by raking the damaged areas of paint
The obvious goal in using the putty knife or the paint scraper
is to selectively remove the affected layer or layers of paint;
however, both of these tools, particularly the paint scraper
with its hooked edge, must be used with care to properly prepare
the surface and to avoid gouging the wood.
Sandpaper/Sanding Block/Sanding sponge: After manually removing
the damaged layer or layers by scraping, the uneven surface
(due to the almost inevitable removal of varying numbers of
paint layers in a given area) will need to be smoothed or "feathered
out" prior to repainting. As stated before, hand sanding,
as opposed to harsher mechanical sanding, is recommended if
the area is relatively limited. A coarse grit, open-coat flint
sandpaper the least expensive kind is useful for
this purpose because, as the sandpaper clogs with paint it must
be discarded and this process repeated until all layers adhere
Blocks made of wood or hard rubber and covered with sandpaper
are useful for handsanding flat surfaces. Sanding sponges
rectangular sponges with an abrasive aggregate on their surfaces
are also available for detail work that requires reaching
into grooves because the sponge easily conforms to curves and
irregular surfaces. All sanding should be done with the grain.
Recommended: Putty knife, paint scraper, sandpaper, sanding
block, sanding sponge.
Applicable areas of building: All areas. For use on: Class I,
Class II, and Class III conditions.
Health/Safety factors: Take precautions against lead dust, eye
damage; dispose of lead paint residue properly.