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HOW TO: Strip paint using Oven Cleaner
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Join Date: April 16, 2006
Lightbulb HOW TO: Strip paint using Oven Cleaner - September 23, 2012, 04:15 PM

Welcome to another installment of budget resto how to's.

After bringing you rust removal by toilet cleaner,
HOW TO: Clean a rusty tank like a toilet bowl

and cleaning your carbs with lemon juice,
HOW TO: Boil your carbs in lemon juice

it is time to see if we can strip paint using plain old oven cleaner.

While I normally use Aircraft grade industrial paint stripper (e.g. Klean-Strip Aircraft Remover), I was curious to see how the urban legend of oven cleaner as a paint stripper and degreaser in one would work.

The subject for the test would be some good old American Steel.
In this case, a 100 year old Samson vise I would be restoring.
A little on the provenance of the vise: Samson vises were sold through the Sears Catalog starting back in 1911 through the twenties.

Check out the ad and the prices:

Guaranteed and built to last.

The provenance of my Samson vise is an agricultural machine shop in Wisconsin. The stories that vise could tell...

What better way to test a paint stripper than to let it have a shot at 100 years worth of multiple paint layers.
From good old lead based paint, primer, and rattle can layers - this vise had them all.

Here's our 'before' shots:

Some grease as well as a resin (epoxy?) drip along the side.

All you'll need for this is 1 can of regular oven cleaner, gloves and a well ventilated space.

Oven Cleaner works as a paint stripper since its active solvent is lye. This is also why you should always use gloves when working with the oven cleaner. Get Regular or Heavy Duty (no difference really) just stay away from the No Fume types. I ended up getting Safeway's generic brand Heavy Duty cleaner (all they had).

Process: pretty simple really. No prep on the vise needed - after all this is supposed to de-grease as well as strip the paint.

Simply spray on and give it some time.

I waited about an hour after the first application and hosed off the cleaner. Impressive results. The oven cleaner had cut all the layers of paint and showed bare metal in most places. The primer this vise had seemed the toughest to remove. Easy enough : hit it with oven cleaner and let it stand overnight. I hit it with the power washer in the morning and this is the result:

Pretty impressive for Oven Cleaner.
The paint, grease and even the resin drip - all gone.

Dropped the vise in Metal Rescue overnight and hit the jaws and anvil with a wire wheel real quick:

Overall I was pretty impressed in how well the oven cleaner worked.
Apparently it's even better if you are just getting a few layers of rattle can off or if you leave it in direct sunlight.
Not bad for $4.81

As to the Samson, it's now my everyday small shop vise

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Groping is a skill...
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Location: Chicagoland
September 23, 2012, 04:40 PM

Nice. I use it on a ton of different things. Make sure to ventilate well though. That ish is potent on the lungs when you inhale the fumes.

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Join Date: September 25, 2013
September 25, 2013, 03:23 PM

works magic if u ask me , i know where i can use that tip.
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hiding the body, paint stripping

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