We used the Silent Paint Remover for the linen closet shelf boards, which works really well on flat surfaces. There are also tools for it to scrape paint from uneven surfaces like the shelf brackets, but since you have to heat up the surface and put the SPR down to scrape every 30-60 seconds I felt more comfortable using the paste even though it’s much messier.
We bought the SPR way back when we planned to refinish the woodwork ourselves, but when we had sooooo many other projects to do, we decided it was worth it to hire that project out and I don’t regret it for one minute. We’ve used it on a couple other projects, but it hasn’t been used much and I’ll probably put it up for sale on Ebay at some point.
You can raise and lower the side panels depending on how close you want the infrared heat to the surface. It’s best to start at the highest point and lower from there.
I didn’t get a good shot of the surface once the paint bubbles up because you need to scrape it off as soon as possible before it cools. It cools and dries pretty quickly — unlike the goopy mess you get from the paste-style paint removers — and easily sweeps up with a broom or vacuum.
This board probably took about 10 minutes to heat and scrape.
The paint stubbornly adhered to knots so I finished those with a bit of the paste remover and wiped everything down with denatured alcohol and a scotch brite.
The underlying stain ended up looking kind of blotchy and uneven so I wanted to even it out with some matching stain. I had leftover wiping stain from the attic remodel trim project so I tried that first. Didn’t seem to work at all.
I went to my local Benjamin Moore store with one of the boards and talked to a guy there. He suggested that I might have to paint it, something I really wanted to avoid.
There were three choices in stains: wiping, penetrating and gel stains. Out of the three the gel stain was the best bet and he offered to test it on the board before I bought one. I chose American Walnut which was almost the darkest one and looked similar to our woodwork. Some of the blotchiness still shows through if you look closely, but since these are going to be hidden away in the closet it doesn’t bother me at all. The 2 boards in the middle, below, have been stained with the gel and look great compared to the others IMO.
Next I used it on the shelf brackets and the rest of the trim. It matches pretty well with the rest of our woodwork!
I’ll probably varnish it all this weekend. Soon, one more project off the to-do list and it’ll be on to the next (and final) closet!