Stripping the paint from any interior surface can be a bit challenging simply because you have to reach in to inner corners and undersides. But it can be greatly helped by the way you position the piece as you work on it.
My workshop is not fancy. It’s in my basement. For stripping work, I almost always use a sturdy corrugated cardboard box (as you see below) with a solid piece of old wood or shelving placed on top (here I have used two old bedside cabinet doors that I had removed and did not use). This assures a stronger work surface to support the washstand’s weight. Then I put old plastic signboard on top that can be smudged, smeared, and cut until useless, which can take months. This lightweight “table” can be shoved around to get the best lighting as I move around.
My favourite seat is a simple collapsible stool, cheap and found at any hardware store. I can lift it with one hand and set it down anywhere I want.
Tool #1: Paint Stripper.
I always use Circa 1850. I’ve been using it for 20 years in my home and have virtually nothing negative to say about it. I transfer some to a glass jar so that I can move it around easily.
Tool # 2: Cheap Bristle Brush
…to apply the stripper. Cheap is the word. The cheapest you can find. It’ll get gucky but cleans up easily just by wiping the wet solution off on the rim of the jar. It turns rock hard overnight but loosens up the moment you put it back in the stripper. A word of warning – use only bristle. If you use polyester or foam, you get to see the stripper slowly melt them away (not instantly, mind you; at first you think it will work but then you notice that your 2-inch foam has grown to a limp and useless 4 inches).
Tool #3: Cheap Putty Knife
Tool #4: Second, Equally Cheap Putty Knife
Tool # 5: Garbage Pail
I scraped the loosened paint on to the putty knife. It lifts easily into a blob at the end of the knife. Then it got deposited in the garbage with the help of a second knife. The goal is not to get every fleck of paint off at first, but to remove most of it. I worked in manageable sections, getting into a routine of having a section softening as I scraped the previous one.
Notice that the last section showed yellow staining when the stripper was applied. This usually means that there is a knot or stain underneath the paint.
Tool #6: Coarse Grade Sandpaper
Ready to tackle the sides!