Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Melluva Hess

When I was in architecture school, I was madly in love with a fellow-student three years ahead of me. One of the things I admired about-- I'll call him "Dave"--was the masterly way he asserted that if something misfunctioned on him, it was due to its poor design.

This was a revelation pour petite moi. When I couldn't get something to work, I'd always assumed it was because I was a klutz or just doing something wrong.

That was years ago. But even now, I'm wondering if I or my erstwhile love interest would be right about a product I'm struggling with even as I write.

To-wit, a certain green-colored paint stripper. I won't honor or defame it by publishing its name; the cognescenti know to what I refer. It's supposed to take up to seven layers of paint off in one fell swoop. That green stuff.

I used the first third or so of the container a good two years or so ago. Didn't have much luck with it; it took off the top layer and a little of the second, but nothing more.

Came back to the task yesterday (Tuesday afternoon). The container was tightly-sealed; the product looked and smelled all right (considering it's paint stripper): all it needed was to be stirred up a bit. Thought to myself, maybe I hadn't laid it on thick enough last time. So this time, I slathered it on, on one small window casing and on the doorway casing I could reach from the same ladder position.
The directions say you're supposed to wait till the stripper turns off-white or pale green, four to twenty-four hours from application. And some of it did. But a lot of it remained acid green.

I figured it was the humidity. So I waited some more. And a bit more. Then more than a bit more.

And I probably waited it right past its usefulness. Because when I went to scrape it off, this is what I got:
Not exactly the results described on the label.

So what's the problem? Is it the product-- or is it me?

Maybe both "Dave" and I would be right in this case. Maybe the green stuff does work, for those well-regulated souls who can catch it at the right point. But after awhile I lose interest in watching paint stripper dry. And what with spending time on paid work, and having a meeting to attend in the next county, then (gulp!) frittering away too much time looking at lolcats on the Internet, the optimum time passed, and I'm left with a stringy mess.

So it looks like it's back to the stinky Strip-Eez for me. Slap on a bit, wait ten minutes, scrape it off, slap on the next bit, wait ten minutes, and so on. I might actually make some progress for a change.


chadandali said...

I had the same frustrating experience with the green stripper you are talking about, although I tried it on plaster (we had some peeling paint that needed removed from a wall). I thought maybe it was because I was using it on plaster, but it never turned the creamy color it was supposed to, and it ended up taking gouges out of the plaster wall instead of removing the paint. I never used it again and went back to either Strip-eze or the "safe" orange stripper. Good luck with your woodwork stripping!

St. Blogwen said...

Thanks. I think I'll use the bit I have left on the few horizontal surfaces I have to deal with. Seems to work best on them.

Kate H.

Sarah Gonek, Project Coordinator said...

yikes! have you tried using soy gel? Nikki (our resident paint expert) loves the stuff.
You can go to:
and look at pistures of how she sped up the process. Might be something to consider...
good luck!