Removing Milk Paint Layers
After 35 years of unsuccessful attempts to remove "buttermilk paint" from furniture, I ask for assistance. Sign of maturity or simple honesty? Whatever....how can I remove the top layer of paint( buttermilk applied circa 1875) while retaining the original (circa 1812) red wash?
RE: Removing Milk Paint Layers
It has always been difficult for me to remove only the top layer without loosing some of the bottom layer especially when the colors are different. They can turn into a sloppy mess. However the biggest problem has been getting my customers to understand the painstaking process and pay for it. Sometimes a little of the top layer is left behind and sometimes the bottom layer gets removed right to the wood. There is always give and take.
First I try a mixture of surfactants that get wetter than water and work a very small area at a time. The mixture I use is called Red 1. It is one I developed and it's strength can be controlled. This also works very well in other cleaning applications.
I've also used a mild solvent, just a little stronger than alcohol, and also work a very small area at a time. It's called #20 solvent and I also have that available in 1/2 gallons. This also can work well. As you already know, patience is essential. There's no big secret for doing this, just quality, careful, time.