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Thu Mar 22, 2012, 03:27 PM

I have an old painted chiffarobe - c1930? c1950?

I want to repaint it but will have to do some sanding first. Were lead based paints used on furniture back then?

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Reply I have an old painted chiffarobe - c1930? c1950? (Original post)
hedgehog Mar 2012 OP
Warpy Mar 2012 #1
hedgehog Mar 2012 #2
Warpy Mar 2012 #4
jeff47 Mar 2012 #3

Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 04:20 PM

1. Possibly. You can buy a lead test kit at a hardware store.

Lead paint was used through the early 1950s because it provided a superior surface and prevented the deterioration of the oil vehicle. It was replaced by titanium oxide, less durable but non poisonous.

If it's lead paint, cart it outside and wear a good quality, well fitting mask while you roughen the surface well enough to take a coat of paint. Or use a stripping compound and strip the paint off completely, creating little dust. Do it on a tarp or newspaper because it's a messy process and the stripped off paint will be sticky.

I'd use a stripping compound, personally, get rid of as much of the old paint as possible and then prep the surface if it's too butt ugly to leave as wood. I'm guessing the old paint has chipped in some areas and only stripping it will eliminate the low spots where the chips were.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #1)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 05:06 PM

2. I think it's pine and there is a pink undercoat

showing through where the yellow has chipped.

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Response to hedgehog (Reply #2)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 06:21 PM

4. Sounds horrible, what were they thinking?

Still, with a poor and chipped surface, I'd probably lean toward the chemical stripper. As long as you realize it's a messy job and spread plenty of newspaper, it's doable and will give you the best surface possible while getting rid of the most suspect paint forever.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 06:10 PM

3. Lead based paint was banned in 1978.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead-based_paint_in_the_United_States)

So anything painted before 1978 may have lead in the paint. Or it may not. If you get a lead paint test kit at the hardware store, make sure you are testing every layer of paint. You may need something like a knife to chip off the layers of paint.

You can still sand it, you'll just have to do some additional things to protect against lead exposure.

- Work outside.
- Use a massively oversized dropcloth to catch any dust. As in many feet extra in all directions.
- Use a respirator (similar in concept to a dust mask, but much, much, much better filtration)
- Cover as much of your skin as possible. Gloves, long sleeves, pants, etc. I highly recommend buying disposable coveralls like this (That's the first hit, feel free to shop around)
- Get a box fan, and bungee-cord an "allergen" quality furnace filter to the intake side of the fan. Run the fan nearby to help catch dust.
- If you use a power sander, make sure you use whatever dust-catching capabilities it has.
- The drop cloth, dust, clothing, and furnace filter will become hazardous waste. So before you start, find out how to dispose of them.

Lead is primarily a danger to children, so if there are any kids in the house make sure they stay far away from your operation. Lead isn't too much of a danger to adults until you reach high concentrations and one piece of furniture shouldn't have enough lead paint to harm you. But it's better to be safe.

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