I provide either stripping only or full stripping and refinishing. Most of the time, if you bring something in to be stripped only, it takes just one or two days.
I am one of the few shops within a two hundred mile radius that will still strip painted items . Because of all the enviromental regulations that we have to deal with, the cost of hazardous waste disposal has gotten more and more expensive for all of us.
This cost has forced most shops to stop stripping anything with paint on it because it increases the amount of hazardous waste that needs to be disposed of.
Because we deal with so many hazardous chemicals and because we take our responsibility to our community seriously, we have invested $4,000 and purchased our own hazardous waste recycler. Our hazardous waste is recycled and reused, permitting us to continue stripping painted items as a service to our customers.
There is, however, still a cost, besides our initial investment, in both time and labor.
In order to comply with all state and federal environmental laws, there is a 5% hazardous waste disposal fee on all invoices.
I am more than happy to do just stripping for my customers who enjoy refinishing their own pieces. The stripping process is not only messy hard work, but, it can also be dangerous and hazardous to yourself , your family, and your pets.
I am set up for it. I can get as messy as I want to and believe me, I do. But, I've also got the equipment and the experience to do it quickly and efficiently and safely. Any hazardous waste that I do have left, has to be hauled away by a licensed hauler at a cost of around $600 a drum, and the paperwork has to be sent in to the NYSDEC by both of us within a seven day period.
No, there isn't a magic stripper that we strippers can get, and the general public can't get, and no, I won't sell you any of it. It's an industrial stripper that I buy in bulk for my own business, and it has to be used in a certain way..
There are many different types of industrial strippers that are made just for certain applications. There's one that is so caustic that you have to be suited up, and wearing a full head mask with its own oxygen supply.
Here's the secret to stripping furniture:
If you strip 40,000 - 50,000 pieces over a period of 29 years, you could strip things as quickly as I do. The real magic is in the skill and knowledge of the stripper, not the chemicals.
I spray all of my finishes, usually with either Nitrocellulose Lacquer or Precatalyzed Lacquer. Occasionally, I also use shellac.
The finishes that I use are water resistant, heat resistant, and alcohol resistant, not proof, but resistant. They can be used but not abused. You still have to use care with them, but they'll hold up well to wet glasses, coffee cups, and dinner. They don't do as well with puppies, fingernail polish, or hot pans. Those things do happen.
I use a wide variety of stains, including alcohol based, water based, oil based, alkyd based, and various dyes, glazes, and toners. Please don't ask me to make black walnut wood a golden oak color, some things are just not feasible.
I am very good at matching colors to other pieces of furniture, but it will depend largely on what type of wood it is and what color it is after I strip it. There are three colors involved.
First , I start by trying to get an idea of exactly the color you'd like the piece to be.
The second factor, is the color of the piece after it's stripped and sanded.
The third step is to pick a color that will combine with the color the piece is after it's stripped to get us to the final color that you'd like it to be. I can't guarantee how close I'll get, sometimes it's right on the money, and other times it's not. I'll do the best I can, because I want you to be happy, but colors can be very fickle at times.
Can you believe that scientists have discovered that men and women see colors differently? Women are much better at seeing colors because the chromosomes in their eyes are different than the chromosomes in a man's eyes. (I think that's what they're called).
Color is also affected by light. The same color will look different in sunlight, incandescent light, or in florescent light, and it will also look different against different colors of paint or wallpaper in the background. I've learned these things from studying books on faux finishing and seeing examples. Very interesting topic to read up on, and it goes way beyond the simplicity of faux painting of walls.
Over the years, I've done thousands of repairs, from minor things to major replacement and/or duplication of parts. There is nothing about furniture construction that I don't know about, but I pick and choose what I take on nowadays. I've learned when to say no.
I like to be of service whenever I can, so don't hesitate to ask. What might look major to you, is most likely something simple for me. If it's something I don't want to do, rest assured that I'll tell you so.
Caning and Wicker Repair:
Chair caning is another lost art that not many people do anymore. I still do it, but mostly as a service, because it's just too time consuming to ever make much money doing. So much so, that I don't care what anyone else charges, I charge what I need to charge, and if you can find someone cheaper, please go ahead and use their services. You won't hurt my feelings one iota.
Wicker repair is a little different. It's more of a complicated mental challenge that has to be figured out, so I enjoy the challege of doing it. It often requires ordering different sizes of material than I have on hand, but that's not a problem.