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I was very excited to see this group exists, but when I started reading was very disappointed to see not much action. I love to bring old things back to life and think it would be very enjoyable to have a place to share ideas and get advice. And advice is one thing I can always use.lol.

Is this forum just for old houses or any type of restoration work? I find great pleasure in finding an old piece of junk (Treasure) and bringing it back to life. I am by no means a professional in any way, but do have a passion for it.

Well if anyone wants to talk, one project I have to do, is clean up some old crown moulding. It has years and years and layers and layers of stain, some paint, cigarette smoke, kitchen smoke, etc etc. I know that with the nails, to score them at the back and break them off, rather than trying to pound them out and splitting the wood, but let me hear some suggestions of getting it down to the bare wood. I think I will putty the nail holes. By the way it is oak.

I thought about using stripper, but I am afraid it will soak into the wood, so I am hesitant on that, I think a belt sander would be hard to use due to the curvature of the wood, hand sanding would take forever. I am thinking about trying and angled die grinder with a scuff pad wheel and then some hand sanding but am afraid it will cut the wood uneven.  Any suggestions.

How about pressure washing? Has anyone done this to clean moulding?

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Tom! I have restored antique furniture, but never crown molding. And this is near the ceiling isn't it? Wow! I would think that stripping, and sanding, would be very difficult up on the wall, and I would never use a grinder! I would think the only way is to remove the crown molding from the wall. I would try using a tack or nail remover (like what I use to remove vintage nails from furniture) and a think flat screw driver blade, maybe small putty knife, to get under the molding. You would have to remove the nails. My hubby is excellent at hitting nails from the back and pushing them through a board! Then I would strip the wood by hand, and do some light sanding by hand. Make sure it's clean, then stain and varnish the wood, and put back up. I would use a 1/2 and 1/2 satin varnish / varsol mixture, that I used on antique furniture. It protects and doesn't have a high gloss look. If you want to fill the nail holes on the wood, you would have to use a stained wood filler. You can add your own stain color to 'Plastic Wood'. It sounds like a huge undertaking, especially if it's more than one room! You could find out more about pressure washing, but wouldn't it damage the wall or ceiling? You might have to be expert at it... Good luck to you!  :O)

Hi Tom and welcome to the restoration group!

stripper is the best and easiest way to get to b are wood, go ahead and paint it on, that is what we use, on furniture, glass, metal, any thing that will go in will evaporate out 

take it off of the wall, if you are going to re-install it back into the same location, mark the back side of each pc what ever code or numbering system you want to use, draw the outline of the room and mark where each pc is going to go! this will save you lots of time and frustration.

lay it ontop of a set of saw horses, put a sheet of plastic under the saw horses, to catch the slop, apply the stripper, clean off the stripper, you can sand on top of the saw horses, as well as finish on top of them, easier on the back then working on the floor.

then sand the wood down after you strip it and let it dry for a couple days , then dampen it with a damp water cloth, that would be the color of it when you put on a clear finish, if you want a different color, use some stain, let that dry and then put on your clear top finish, pick out the sheen you wish clear finish comes in flat, semi gloss, and full gloss, I have always used semi gloss, it has some sheen, but not like a pc of glass, 

I hate normal plastic wood, wood dough, cause it usually comes in standard natural/lite pine color, and we usually do oak-walnut that type of woods, but it does come in tints we buy the oak and the walnuts and for nails I use the soft putty that comes in the small plastic jars, mix a couple together to get the right color to fill nail holes

pressure washing if you get the pressure up enough to cut the paint and other stuff off you are going to be damaging the wood.

sanding off the previous finish you run the chance of cutting the edges, loosing some of the detail work and not getting the pores of the wood cleanned out and may contaminate or not gel with the next finish you put on it.

Craig Phillips

B & C Emporium antiques and original hardware

http://www.b-c-e.biz

Thank you for the responses. I think I will go ahead and use the stripper on it. Oh and by the way I should have mentioned it was already off the wall, I saved it from a job a couple years ago, and have decided to get it looking good again, and either find a use for it myself or sell it to someone that needs it.

@Craig You are probably right about pressure washing, it probably would damage the edges, I have used a pressure washer many times on decks and such, but that is a completely different scenario.

@luv Yes sometimes you can pound a nail out of a piece of trim without any damage, but odds are you will damage trim quite often by pounding out a nail, a friend of mine that is a very good carpenter, taught me quite a few years ago, to never do that, as you can ruin the trim if it split or splinters, and then you have to go buy all new trim, to match the one piece you have broke, he showed me to take a hacksaw with a metal blade and on tight against the back side of the trim, score the nail about half way through, and then take a pair of pliers and break it off.

I have used the technique ever since and have never destroyed a piece of trim using that method.

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