We've looked around online for lessons on how to remove paint from interior woodwork, but we haven't found any. There are lots of before and after photos of amazing transformations (especially at 1912 Bungalow), but there are rarely photos available of the actual paint stripping process. So, we've developed some of our own techniques that seem to work and we thought maybe others would appreciate seeing them. They are probably not the best, but we haven't learned from anybody else. These steps are what we figured out for ourselves.
First, Jeff goes through with a heat gun and a couple of scrapers. He removes as much paint as he can get off, without trying to remove every last bit. He's found it best to use no more than two tools at one time as you spend too long on the same spot and risk scorching the woodwork. His favorite tool is shaped like a teardrop as you have a variety of curves to work with.
This is how it looks after Jeff is done with the first pass.
Then, Sharon applies a generous coat of stripper (we're using KleanStrip from Home Depot). Give the stripper time to work—we've found it takes at least 10 minutes.
Then remove as much of the paint loosened by the stripper with scraping tools. Sharon has been juggling about 4 tools with a variety of curves and points.
Once almost all the paint has been scraped off, Sharon goes over the area with a wire brush. Not too hard, or you'll mar the woodwork, but hard enough to knock off the remaining pieces of paint.
Then, finally, firmly wipe down the area with a heavy duty scouring pad or steel wool. This takes off the rest of the paint and the stripper and leaves the woodwork looking pretty clean.
And one more point, do wear long sleeves and eye protection if using one of these heavy duty methylene chloride strippers, especially with a wire brush. The wire brush tends to throw lots of bits of stripper goo which burn when they contact the skin.