Absolutely THE Best Way to Remove Paint From Spindles

What is THE best way to remove paint from spindles? Do not do it. You're welcome. That is all.

Still reading? OK, the next best way to remove paint from spindles? Hire someone else to do it. Whatever quote they give you, do not bat an eye; just pay them and know it is money well spent. Trust me they didn't charge you enough. 

Still reading? Really? OK, before you read further please go back and re-read paragraphs 1 and 2. If you're still determined then I warn you it is a long, messy, and tedious process. I know -- trust me.

Colorful table. The paint was thick with many layers.
I knew when I bought the thrift store table that I would need to strip the paint from the top as it was peeling and chipping. Typically with chalk paint you do not need to remove the current paint, but in this case it was necessary otherwise the fresh new paint would eventually chip, too. I did see that it had the same paint on the spindled legs; however, I thought the paint on the legs was solid and wouldn't need to be removed. Imagine my surprise when I inspected it more closely when I got home and determined the paint would need to be stripped off the legs, too.

It was a little daunting, but never fear, nothing but a little hard work and determination won't
Tabletop after 1st coat of Citristrip.
take care of. So I used Citristrip to remove the paint on the top. Boy oh boy is that a messy gooey mess. It did get the majority of it, but the paint had many thick layers and it required a second application. It was close, but it still would need a third application to remove the paint. I set that task temporarily aside and decided to tackle the spindles instead.

Seven spindles, ugh!
This table has six spindled legs plus a spindle support bar. I'll do the math for you. . . seven spindles. Ugh! Assuming they would also need three applications of Citristrip I was starting to panic. If three applications on a flat surface wasn't fun, I just couldn't imagine how I would ever get through removing the paint from seven spindles.

Heat gun and scraping tool.
So I will share with you how I removed the paint, but please know it was still a long, messy and tedious process. The approach I took was to use a combination of techniques. First I used a heat gun and a scraper to remove the majority of the paint. It was a hot mess, but fairly effective. It worked great on the flatter surfaces, but some of the paint was stubborn. 

After using the heat gun.

Removed debris with 120-grit sand paper.
Next I used 120-grit sandpaper and sanded off the little bits and chunks of paint. But there were still some stubborn areas especially around the crevices. So I finished with a coat of Citristrip and scrubbed with a toothbrush. Although I worked in the shade the Citristrip kept drying up, so I dipped the toothbrush in water and scrubbed away until it turned into a gooey mess. At this point it started to solidify slightly and became sort of gloppy, so my final step was to wipe the mess away with a wet rag followed by a wipe down with a dry towel. Repeat the process six more times!

It's hard to see in the photo,
but the Citristrip was applied but is drying.
I dipped a toothbrush in water and scrubbed.
It seemed to reactivate the Citristrip.
After scrubbing with a toothbrush,
I wiped the gooey stuff away with a wet towel.
There might be a few charred spots from the heat gun :-)
I finished the paint removal part of the project by applying a third application to the table top. In the end it took me the better part of three days to remove the paint from the entire table.  I'd like to give myself a shout out and say "yeah me!" at this point, but in all honesty, I was a wee bit cranky through most of the process. They say your true character shows itself under adversity, so I'm not too proud of that. But I am happy to report that by the third day when I knew I was coming down the home stretch my mood improved dramatically. I was able to once again get the project into perspective and count my blessings.

After. Whew! There are still a few spots that
 I removed with sandpaper,
but hey, done is better than perfect.
If you made it this far into the blog post and are still determined to give it a try yourself, before you do, please re-read paragraph one!

Click HERE to see the post showing finished table.


  1. Thank you for sharing this interesting and informative article, painting with airless spray gun will be faster and more interesting!

    Spray Machine


Post a Comment

A note regarding comments: I welcome questions and comments and make every effort to acknowledge every comment. Please note that comments on older posts are moderated to reduce spam, so there might be a delay before your comment is published. HINT: Select the "notify me" box to receive an notification of replies.

Popular Posts