Steam Paint Removal (with video)
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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:09 am    Post subject: Steam Paint Removal Device Patents Reply with quote

1949 patent on steam paint removal device:
http://www.google.com/patents?id=y7dGAAAAEBAJ&zoom=4&dq=1945%20%20steam%20paint&pg=PA1#v=onepage&q=1945%20%20steam%20paint&f=false
uses superheated steam developed in a special steam head with incorporated scrapers, wire brushes, etc. Among the objects of the invention are novel methods and arrangements for supplying superheated steam or other vapor by conducting the steam or vapor over exposed electrically energized resistive conductors located in a duct space which is isolated from the vapor generating space so as to cause the vapor passing over the exposed electrically heated conductors to absorb a maximum of heat energy radiated directly from the resistive conductors and to become highly superheated An important specific object of the invention is to provide a simple fast clean and inexpensive method of removing old paint or other coating by means of highly superheated steam

1993 patent for another device:
http://www.google.com/patents?id=TUsbAAAAEBAJ&zoom=4&dq=1945%20%20steam%20paint&pg=PA8#v=onepage&q&f=false
hand held heated scraper with steaming capabilities use in removing paint wallpaper and adhesively down materials such as linoleum or tile The includes a housing accommodating a heating and steam generator an electric water pump and alternative base units for attaching a scraper blade steam to a work surface or both

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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:47 pm    Post subject: Gloves Reply with quote

Gloves for steam paint removal:

I like "Atlas Therma Fit"

Manufacture's info:
http://www.atlasfitgloves.com/atlasthermalgloves.html
The glove is like terry cloth inside so it acts like insulation to help protect from heat. The rubber coating helps keep the insulation dry. Get several pairs and change them as they get wet (from sweat or steam condensation) because if wet they don't insulate from the heat as well.
Cost: about $40 for a dozen pairs

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diane



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was vacuuming the other day and happily vacuumed off some paint from my lower moldings. The POs painted most the moldings in the 1970's - thankfully they left the most of the doors alone. I remembered John's posts about steam paint removal and came here to read, but the more I read the more I wonder if it will be more trouble than it's worth? (I hope to not spend the rest of my life here, but it's been almost 24 years to date....)

The room is roughly 14 x 16. I have lower and upper moldings, 2 large doorways that used to have french doors (another loss from the POs), a paned door into the sunroom that is painted and a bank of 3 windows.

In the 90's I had tried Peelaway with disasterous results (raised the grain and really didn't remove paint)

Everything was originally shellaced, and I am guessing there is oil based paint from the 70's and I put on a coat of latex in the 90's. At times the old stuff lifts (even what I haven't currently painted) and I am able to chip it off, but never enough to keep me going. Some of it seems pretty solidly bonded on.

Thoughts? I'd really love to go back to the natural wood but not enough to spend a full year on it - my projects take long enough as it is.

Thanks so much,
Diane
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rmlogan



Joined: 03 Dec 2013
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Location: ASHEVILLE, NC

PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 12:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Steamer Equipment Reply with quote

Quote:
Steam Equipment


WAGNER 705 POWER STEAMER
Electric: 115 volts, 1500 Watts
Cost: about $55
- One gallon tank 75 minutes run-time
- 11 ft. steam hose
- 6 ft. power cord
- made of heavy-duty poly-ethylene plastic

Weight: about 6 lbs. empty
http://www.wagnerspraytech.com/portal/wagner_705_spray,43321,747.html
Be sure to get the 1500 watt model, some 705s are 1300 watt and may not work as well. It does not have an on/off switch nor an on-indicator light--somewhat inconvenient.
I have been using this steamer for 3 years and it works well. I always use this one when I travel to work or give training sessions because it is compact and light weight. The insulated hose has less condensation, so it gurgles less and spits out less scalding water than the Jiffys, however it will spit a little right a first when it is warming up. --JL


John,

HI. I am in the process of building a steam cabinet for window restoration. I wondered if you have used the wagner 705 in a steam cabinet set-up? I would llike to get the Jijffy 4000, but thought i would start out with a budget model. It will get moderate-heavy usage, as I have about 20 double-hungs I will be restoring over the winter. some with damage to muntins from squirrels. A local shop will be milling the muntin stock for me and I will replace.

I own both your books and frequent these forum. Thank you for the wealth of knowledge you provide here. I am hopeful to be a part of one your courses next year, possibly as an assistant. I would love to do an intership, just not sure if I have time for that commitment right now.
Thanks

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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Richard,

I frequently use the Wagner 705 (1500 watt) with a steam box and it works fine. The Wagner is good to start with because you can always use it for portable onsite work even if you also get a Jiffy later.

I sometimes put two steamers into one steam box for a somewhat faster production rate.

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rmlogan



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Location: ASHEVILLE, NC

PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 8:02 pm    Post subject: steam cabinet Reply with quote

thought i would give an update on my steam generator selection and cabinet building.
I ended up getting the wagner 705 from Lowes. It was only 59 bucks, a little easier to swing than the $300 for a professional garnet steamer... which i will probably end up getting down the road.
I searched everywhere around to find 1" ridgid foam insulation with foil backing on both sides, but no one had it. I glued 2 pieces of 1/2" together with silicone. seems to be working. the store I was at only had the 1/2' stryofoam thats foil-backed on both sides so I grabbed that.. BAD idea. that stuff isn't ridged enough. I still built my cabinet with it, but it is not ideal. I see the cabinet being rebuilt in my next shop.
For now, the shop is just my crawlspace. I added a couple pics. Just barely enough space.
The cabinet worked great for de-glazing. Paint removal not so much. The paint isn't all that thick on these windows. maybe 3-4 layers. The windows are from an early 1900's cabin built by my clients relatives in Black Mt. (montreat), NC.
I left the windows in the steamer for 20-30 minutes. Then removed one, placing on work bench and using a 1" flexible scraper to remove softened putty. a pretty painless process. took, maybe, 10 minutes to deglaze. If you take longer than that the putty starts to harden back up. but not to fast because glass can, and def will, still break. but with this method I only broke 2 panes of the 24 I've done so far. the are all 6x6 double hung sashes.
For paint removal I have had great luck with the silent paint remover model 1100 GRH. much faster than heat guns.
can't figure out how to post pics...

Now I am trying to decide how to prime/treat these stripped and sanded sashes?

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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is the FAQ on attaching photos to a message:

http://historichomeworks.com/forum/faq.php#39

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mathog



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2015 3:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Steamer Equipment Reply with quote

in the Steam equipment post in this thread:

johnleeke wrote:

WAGNER 705 POWER STEAMER

You can buy extra plastic steam heads separately and adapt them by cutting, heating and bending to create custom steam heads.


Does the big head that comes with it work, or is it too large?
How about the smaller head shown here:

http://www.gleempaint.com/0282213.html

I'm trying to strip paint (some layers with lead) off some clapboard siding, after two failed attempts to remove it with Multi-strip. Last weekend I tried a McCulloch 1275, as sold by Harbor Freight, with no luck at all. None of the heads were fully enclosed, so it just blasted steam out the sides through the bristles, and it didn't soften the paint at all. For what it's worth, that steamer also did not remove latex paint spots on concrete except with the brass bristle head, and I'm pretty sure those spots would have scrubbed off with that head even with no steam.
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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2015 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Both the small head and the large head will work. The difficulty with the large head is that it may soften up so much area that you may not be able to scrape off all of the paint before it cools off and begins to harden back up. This may not be a problem because you may be able to warm it back up with more steam.
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mathog



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2015 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnleeke wrote:
The difficulty with the large head is that it may soften up so much area that you may not be able to scrape off all of the paint before it cools off and begins to harden back up.


How big is the big head? I have only seen pictures, not dimensions.

Thanks for all the useful information.
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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2015 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's about 9" x 12" (not actual measurements).
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mathog



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnleeke wrote:
It's about 9" x 12" (not actual measurements).


Thanks.

Some notes for others who may be interested in this. Sorry, this is a bit long.

I went ahead and bought the Wagner at Lowes, thinking it only came with the large head, but the one they sell had both. It was a 1500W unit. It worked to soften paint, but not very well.

The history of this project is that the paint on the clapboard siding on my house was badly cracked and falling off in places. Around 30 sq ft of it needed to be cleaned up before it could be repainted. It tested positive for lead, so power sanding it was out of the question. The first thing I tried was to remove it with "multi-strip" from Home Depot, which claimed to be able to strip off many layers of paint. That did not work well. It took off the outer layer or two of latex but left most of what was underneath. It also tended to dry out rapidly and has a working temperature range which is exceeded by wood in direct sunlight on a temperate day. Results of that treatment are visible in the top and 2 bottom boards in the south_east picture, bottom board in the south picture, and all of the north_east picture. The grey paint in the north_east picture is latex - that side dried up while I was working on the other sides, and the stripper pretty much took nothing off. Notice also the chalky red stuff visible in the south picture. It doesn't appear to be paint, rather something like wood filler, and it is only present on that one side.

So, onto the steam. Filled the Wagner with distilled water (we have very hard tap water) and began work on the south side on the 2nd and 3rd boards from the top in the picture with the large head. It worked very, very poorly. No matter how long I held the head on the board, and it did make a good seal, the paint never softened very much. There was plenty of steam and the ambient temperature was 70F or so. A good sharp putty knife wouldn't remove any paint, and even a pull scraper didn't do much.

Switching to the smaller head helped. The paint softened a bit more. (That suggests either the temperature or humidity under the larger head is lower.) However the little head was still nothing like in the video. If the head was pulled completely off the wood it could only be scraped with the putty knife for a few seconds. In the end I found that it was possible to remove some paint by working either under the small head (tilt it up slightly and slide the putty knife under it), or just to the trailing side of it while very slowly sliding it sideways. Using these methods the top two boards in south and part of the top, and all of the 2nd and 3rd from the top boards in south_east were scraped. It was very slow going. In 5 hours I was able to get almost all the paint off 4.5 boards of about 3ft each. Roughly 13 sq ft. The ease of paint removal was extremely variable.Some sections popped off with little effort, others took a lot of force. Perhaps that has something to do with the earlier stripper treatment.

On the plus side, any bits of latex paint came right off, very easily. Paint came off in chunks rather than as dust, so it didn't put a lot of lead into the air.

On the negative side, the oil based (I assume) paint underneath puts up quite a fight. It is hard to avoid gouging the very wet wood while removing it. The removal rate is very slow.

Tomorrow I'm going to try steam on the north_east side, where the many layers of paint are mostly still intact, since the stripper did practically nothing, not even taking off outer latex. (The wood which is visible corresponds to the regions which were already flaked down to to the substrate.) If that fails I guess it will come down to wet sanding these boards with coarse sand paper down to the wood, which is not going to be at all fun, since there are about 30 sq. ft. of wood to process.

The work area had plastic taped down. A wallpaper water tray like this one

http://www.lowes.com/pd_245893-1748-202325_0__?productId=3027810

was placed under the area where I was working and it caught about 95% of the scraped off paint.

Protective equipment used: lead respirator, safety goggles, long shirt and pants, gloves. The external gloves were:

http://www.harborfreight.com/latex-coated-work-gloves-medium-61436.html

with nitrile gloves underneath. For a while I used a cotton work glove between the two on the hand holding the steam head, but found in the end the extra thermal insulation wasn't necessary. No burns and my hands didn't even get very hot.

One last thing - the Wagner steam hose has annular gaps that open when the hose bends and then close again when it straightens. These snatch up bits of paint from the plastic on the ground, so that the hose was a bit of a mess in places at the end of the day. Had the walllpaper tray not been used this would have been much worse. This gunk was cleaned out with a toothbrush, had it been allowed to sit for a while it might be in there permanently.



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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Long messages are OK. Thanks for posting the details of your work.

This steam method works best on heavy buildups of old linseed oil paint. It could be you are working with more recent alkyd resin paint. Do you know when this was first painted? If it was 1950s, 60s or later, you may have alkyd resin paint, which is more resistant to all methods of paint removal because the alkyd resin is formulated to be harder and more resistant to chemical change.

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mathog



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnleeke wrote:
. Do you know when this was first painted? If it was 1950s, 60s or later, you may have alkyd resin paint, which is more resistant to all methods of paint removal because the alkyd resin is formulated to be harder and more resistant to chemical change.


Late 1950s. It probably is that type of paint.
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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Miegan called to ask about adapting the Wagner 705 Power Steamer hose to fit the ShopVac #906-14 Extension Wand, to adapt the hose to the 1 1/4" standard taper so the ShopVac nozzles will fit. I have done this, but not yet written it up in the Steam Paint Removal booklet.


Step 1. Saw the threaded fitting off of the 705's large steam head with a fine-toothed coping saw. Make two cuts from the edge of the narrow end up along each side of the handle, being careful to not cut into the fitting. Then make a third curving cut to separate the fitting. (There will be extra plastic attached to the fitting that does not show in this photo.)


Step 2. Trim extra plastic off of the fitting with the coping saw and a wood rasp or file, so that it looks like the fitting in this photo. As you trim, make a round shape on the fitting, and test its fit by inserting it into the large end of the 6" length of the ShopVac wand, to assure there is a tight press fit with no gaps between the fitting and the inside surface of the wand.




Step 3. Assemble the parts. Screw the fitting into the end of the hose. Push the fitting into the large end of the wand.


(no photo for step 4)
Step 4. Wrap the joint between the hose and the wand with aluminum tape. Use plenty of tape. This is necessary because some steam will leak out of the joint between the fitting and the wand.



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