Tools + Supplies soygel

Published on May 22nd, 2009 | by Wenona Napolitano

11

Stripping with Soygel: An Eco-Friendly Way To Remove Paint and Other Finishes

SoyGel finish stripperSo last summer when my husband and I were rummaging through the basement we found an old dresser/chest of drawers that had been used as a work bench or something by my grandfather. The poor thing looked pretty rough but is made from solid wood so we figured we could save it, make it look better and be useful once again.

The bad thing was we didn’t know much about refinishing furniture. My husband sanded it down to remove the old varnish or whatever it was covering it then we painted it. Probably not the best idea.

It looked good at first but as the paint dried it also started bubbling and peeling. Whatever the old dresser had been finished with must have been oil based, plus having served as a work bench for so long some oily substance had been spilled on it and never cleaned up as it has seeped into the wood and become a permanent stain on one side and along most of the top. This all made the paint not stick.

Yet the paint stuck enough to make sanding it off impossible. Then hubby went and bought a paint stripper which about killed me…even from 100 yards or more away. Using it in the garage next door still gave me a migraine and stunk my house up, that’s how strong the awful stripper was…and it still didn’t work.

We gave up and tucked the dresser into the garage. Then we heard about SoyGel made by Franmar. It’s a finish stripper made from soy. So we got some and it works. It really works. And my husband stripped the dresser in the basement with no fumes killing me, no toxic fumes at all and it took the finish right off. My husband was thrilled that something actually worked like it is supposed to and I was thrilled that it was an all natural product that was safe and effective.

The dresser is now almost done. We have painted it with black Real Milk Paint. I haven’t decided if it needs another coat or not. Then I want to put a clear coat on it and add new drawer pulls. Then hopefully I’ll have a piece of furniture that looks great.

I also have several more projects lined up to redo since we have a little more knowledge about furniture refinishing.

I can tell you one thing SoyGel will be the first thing we use to get rid of the old finishes.



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About the Author

Wenona is married with three crazy kids that range in age from 4 to 18. She is a freelance writer, poet and the author of The Everything Green Wedding Book. She enjoys reading, writing, crafting and gardening. She tries to do all of these as "greenly" as possible. Her writing has appeared in several local and regional publications, Pack O Fun, Today's Creative Home Arts, and Indiana Living Green magazines as well as numerous online sites including PlentyMag.com, EthicalWeddings.com, MyEcoChicWedding.com, eHow, Associated Content, Suite101 and Life123.com.



  • http://www.corbaecreative.com Aimee T

    Thank you for sharing! We’ve been slowly working our way through our 1917 home, restoring the natural wood, and have tried several products – most of which I had the same reaction as you to.

  • Pingback: Stripping with Soygel: An Eco-Friendly Way To Remove Paint and Other Finishes

  • http://cucicucicoo-eng.blogspot.com/ Lisa

    I wish I knew about this product last year! We moved and I stripped paint of a few pieces of furniture while attempting to rennovate them. Regular paint stripper is awful awful stuff.

  • http://sew-and-so.blogspot.com Becky

    Good to know! I have a dresser that I’d been thinking about refinishing, since it’s rather banged up, but paint stripper was one of the things that had deterred me from trying. (So I added some paint for pure embellishment purposes instead and am ignoring the dings in the stained finish.) But the next time I have to strip furniture, I will definitely be looking for this!

  • http://tremundo.blogspot.com tremundo

    Thank you for sharing this info! This is great to hear about and will be added as one of our new “tools”. THANKS

  • http://www.victorialouise.co.uk Victoria Louise

    This is fabulous, I’ve been looking for a non-toxic pain stripper for ages and have a couple of projects lined up, including a beautiful rocking chair.

    Can anyone tell me where I can get Soy Gel in the UK or anywhere that will ship to the UK?

    Thank you so much. Crafting a Green World is my all time #1 fav craft blog :)

  • http://wisdomofthemoon.blogspot.com/ Wendy

    Thank you so much. I’ve been looking for this too. My man had offered to research ‘the strippers’, but I think there might have been a miscommunication somewhere. ;)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JBUA4LAQOSU2PPT5VILOVEQCD4 Aaditi Lathi

    Now a days, many real estate developers offer eco friendly homes by using eco friendly construction material and utilization of only renewable energy sources. Eco friendly homes provide greenery and healthy environment. Incorporation of recycling, reuse, effective waste disposable system and solid waste management leaves you a eco friendly environment to your dream home.
    http://www.greenliving9.com/eco-friendly-architecture-bamboo-flooring.html

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JBUA4LAQOSU2PPT5VILOVEQCD4 Aaditi Lathi

    Furniture that is made out of solid wood is not always the great option either. Although in countries in the west the origin of raw wood is controlled to make sure that natural habitats are protected. However, the furniture that is cheap that comes from other countries, like China, can be a big problem.
    http://www.greenliving9.com/eco-friendly-architecture-bamboo-flooring.html

  • Dillon

    I used Soy-gell to remove tar off a 32,000 square foot floor prior to grinding.
    Worked like a charm. I recommend this product.

    Eco-Friendly Painters:
    http://www.purepainters.com

  • http://painters-dallas.com Dallas Painter

    Stripping old finish with soygel may be a good idea for do it yourself project, but as a painter who does painting for a living, I still prefer more traditional ways to remove old finishes. TSP works like a charm.

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