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Sender: Old House Preservation and Restoration Discussion List
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 1997 15:11:07 -0400
From: Anthony Seo
Subject: Re: Paint from Hell

Sounds like you may have milk paint on those windows. Milk paint is basically a pigment, lime, and milk (casein is the active ingredient). Be know to resist every stripper know to man kind, and it is not normally used as an exterior coat, but there where various and sundry recipes about who to make it shed water. However, Behlens (sp) does make a milk paint remover and I, in a similar discussion elsewhere, seem to remember that one of your common household chemicals will loosen it up as well. I want to say either ammonia or vinegar, but I'm guessing out of a rusty data bank on that one.
Subject: Re: Stripping Milk-based (casein) paint
Date: 1996/10/08
Newsgroups: rec.woodworking

Milk paint is actually GLUE! or you could say its a Refractory paint! Either way TSP wont touch it nor Lye either! The best way to remove it is to use Straight AMMONIA! The best way is Outdoors an take a cup of Ammonia and Scrub it on with a brillo pad [soap dont hurt] or a 0 Steel wool pad [coarse] Keep WETTING surface for 5-10 minutes Then go at it with the Steel woool again and it should all come off. Rinse well with water and when DRY go ahead and stain! Now Wood could turn dark [specially on Cherry or oak] after ammonia treatment and if so you can get original color back by usin OXALIC-ACID crystals [hrwr store] and bleaching the piece! Of course if you LIKE the darker wood you can leave it...Now sometimes youll remove all the paint and discover red streaks which are in the wood forever and was why it got painted in first place way back when...hope this helps, i read it in the FURNITURE DOCTOR by George Grotz a book that is handy..
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 1997 17:28:08 -0400
From: Susan Todhunter - (JWT)
Subject: Re: Paint from Hell

For removing milk paint (from plaster ceilings), an _OHJ Compendium_ from the 1980s recommends scrubbing with a vinegar/washing soda/water mix. If that doesn't work, they recommend trying TSP, or simply scraping. The _OHJ C_ also suggests coating the calcimine with wallpaper paste, and allowing it to dry for 24 hours. They say the tightening paste will stress the old paint film and cause it to blister off.

The 1980 _OHJ C_ had an article about a man who stripped old oil paint off his house with lye. He moistened the painted surface with water, mixed the lye with cornstarch so it would adhere to the building, and applied the mixture with a nylon bristle brush. He sometimes left this mixture on for a week, and redid the whole process if necessary. When the paint was stripped, he neutralized the lye with an acid.

I haven't used either of these methods, and I'm not sure I'd want to try the second one at home, folks, but here they are, for what it's worth. Also, to second Bill's comment, I have heard that a heat gun, used close to a window pane, can break the glass.
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 1997 19:16:39 -0300
From: Luke Rafuse
Subject: Re: Paint from Hell

Hello Everyone,

I am renovating a 175+ cape in Mill Village Nova Scotia and have been for the past 10 years. I have stripped paint for years it seems and this was an especially difficult task because I am chemically sensitive to most products. It doesn't sound as though this would work on your windows but I never use paint remover anymore I use my heat gun ( and after stripping several floors you get to know your heat gun VERY well) I found I was pushing the paint after I had heated it to 'gook' whereas the easy way was to have the paint to just a slightly soft consistency and 'pull' the paint with a not too sharp scraper, never letting the paint get to the 'gooey' stage. THEN, I discovered oven cleaner and stripping is now a joy compared to the chemical strippers. After I use my heat gun I spray a layer of 'Easy Off' regular oven cleaner (the overnite doesn't work) let it set a bit then scrub with steel wool, wipe off and rinse with vinegar water or tsp. Sometimes it may take several coats of oven cleaner depending on how much is left after the heat gun. My husband will vouch for the fact that the heat gun will crack the glass. I have stripped milk paint from an antique table with the cleaner and lots of muscle and I find that with varnish and shellacs it works well on its own taking not too much of the original patina from the wood My floors turned out wonderful, a dark rich colour that I don't believe I could have gotten from strippers and just one more thing, I never have
to sand! Since I'm new to the list I don't know if this is helpful but I supect the ammonia in the oven cleaner works (re the thread to remove milk paint)but I have tried clear ammonina and for some reason the oven cleaner works much better. I now have lovely 16 inch wide pine floors and a very dirty oven! Well you can't have everything in life:-)
Date: Fri, 8 Aug 1997 08:03:05 -0400
From: Gene Sexton
Subject: Helping Deborah strip (was Paint from Hell)

Deborah found some milk paint (apparently):

I agree with others here who said if it won't come off easier than that, leave it there, unless you are determined to stain. Possibilities I haven't seen mentioned here are...

I've been told by two painting contractors to use a MC stripper with a higher MC content. I tried Dad's Oldfashioned and had _slightly_ better results. There are even more concentrated products but they get extremely dangerous to use around the house. (You don't want even tiny splatters on skin either). So I gave up. I was never sure the advice givers knew what milk paint is.

Another (also dangerous) way:
I have a neighbor who was really determined in his old house. When his wife was feeling Deborah's frustration, he built a plastic vat big enough for window parts. Bought a heater and pump, and washed the parts with hot lye. A local antique dealer agreed that hot lye will remove milk paint.

That means, of course that the whole frame of each window came out into the back yard. It completely stripped them, with the process including removal taking far less time. He said it took off milk paint, but neither of us really _know_ that it was milk paint.
Date: Fri, 8 Aug 1997 12:24:45 -0400
From: james j duprie
Subject: Re: Helping Deborah strip (was Paint from Hell)

I also had good luck with a product called (I think) 5F5. Its a failry nasty gell stripper. Skin burns with a few minutes contact, and also need ot be used outside. Basic process that I used:

paint a layer onto the surface to be stripped. It'll be 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.
Go get lunch (or whatever), aond come back in an hour or two.
Hose the whole thing off (Make sure you're working somewhere that can handle the toxic outflow....)

I haven't found *anything* that this won't remove. Its a lot of work, but the end results are good....