Caustic Soda Paint Stripping
A caustic soda stripping tank is the most commonly used method to strip paint, lots of people say the stripping tank is an acid bath, in fact, it’s totally the opposite; caustic soda is an alkaline, it still burns like hell, as it’s highly corrosive but it’s not acid, therefore it doesn’t eat your doors.
There are two types of caustic tanks: Hot and cold.
The cold tank is only for metal items.
Metals can be stripped in a cold tank, as there is no risk of damage as these metals obviously aren’t porous. The hot tank can be used for both wooden items and metalwork.
Please note: you can not strip aluminium or aluminium alloys with a caustic stripping tank, it will damage it.
The heating of the caustic soda greatly accelerates the stripping process, making it a lot safer for the woodwork, as it’s in the solution for a lot less time.
Pine doors, windows, furniture, and woodwork strip really well, but these must be done in a hot tank, or there is a good chance the items will be damaged.
One of the most common asked questions to Premium Door Stripping is: does it loosen the joints or warp the doors?
The answer is no, not if it’s done properly. The only problems you may find is that on some furniture where the wooden blocks they used in the construction were glued with animal glue, and these can come off through the temperature of the liquid, so if the wood has lots of woodworm or rot and is soft, it may take forever to dry out – saying that, if it has an average amount of woodworm, it will kill the woodworm and prevent re-infestation.
You hear all these horror stories about pine stripping, if it was that bad, why would you have hundreds of antique dealers up and down the country using this method. To have a good paint stripping tank, you must keep your caustic fresh and heat your tank really hot and keep it that way, and this costs a lot of money, then the doors aren’t in the tank for long periods at a time.
When you get a recession or so-called “credit crunch” it seems that every builder, plumber and whoever hasn’t got a lot of work on, sets up a tank in his shed, after a while the caustic is old, he’s getting a bad name and not much work coming in, and can’t afford to heat the tank properly so the doors are submerged in the tank for half a day or even more, and the doors are ruined.
At the end of the recession, they get back in their Transit van and are gone, and we’re left with “doesn’t it loosen the joints and warp the doors”.
So always try to go to an established company with some history.