Revealing the Past

The more I work with this little table, the more deeply I fall in love with it. The details are just beautiful.

I got started with the Cistristrip by using all the precautions listed – chemical-resistant gloves, goggles, well-ventilated area, drop cloth, etc. But, I have to say, the Citristrip is absolutely a dream to work with! I could almost forget I’m working with a strong chemical! There is a light orange scent, but definitely not anything toxic smelling. I did get a bit on some clothing and on my skin. I washed both immediately and noticed no long-term effects from it. Again, I wouldn’t push it, because this is a powerful chemical, but it’s definitely a great product to work with and a huge step forward from chemical furniture strippers of the past!

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I started out cautiously with a fairly thin coat and left it on the shortest amount of time – barely over 30 minutes.

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I knew that this table had been painted at least twice before; the green latex that was showing and a pink latex that was peeking through here and there (and that I remembered from my youth). But even with this super cautious application of the Cistristrip, I started to see some indications of a coat of ivory below the pink.

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Obviously, it was going to take more than half an hour to get through three layers of paint! I went ahead and coated this same section again and gave it a couple of hours. This time I got some serious results.

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One of the truly remarkable discoveries is how well preserved these routed motifs are! The wood edges are crisp – almost as if they had been cut yesterday! And as the Cistristrip works to remove the layers of paint, it is definitely pulling up some paint that was inlaid in the motifs as well. The interior “flower” was a reddish color, but it’s hard to tell just yet what color the surrounding lines had been. I’m hoping as I continue to gently work the latex out of the grooves, I will be able to solve the mystery of what colors were in there.

I’ve already started trying to decide how in the world I can possibly do this sweet table justice in it’s new life. Somehow I want to honor it’s past and yet carry it forward. It’s a huge weight.

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