Stripping old finish from furniture is not, I’ll have to confess, one of my favorite jobs. Still, it’s a necessary task that has been simplified by a new product from 3M, once upon a time known as Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing and famous for Scotch tape.
The St. Paul, Minn.-based firm is well known in the building trades for its products, but until recently it hasn’t lavished much attention on the do-it-yourselfer. This is no longer the case, as 3M--like many other progressive firms--is now attractively packaging products for non-professionals.
Non-woven stripping pads from 3M pick up chemical removers from the stripping process without leaving residue. The pads can be washed for further use and--unlike steel wool--they won’t rust or gum up to scratch the wood.
Along with several other manufacturers, 3M makes flexible sanding sponges and flap sanders for electric drills. The sanding sponge conforms to curves and depressions in the furniture to root out the last traces of old finish. The flap sander, if used carefully, speeds the removal process without damaging the wood.
Consumer products from 3M are grouped in four basic categories: Household cleaning & protecting (including Scotch-Gard); tapes & adhesives (including that famous tape and an excellent wall repair compound that I’ve used); energy saving products (including insulating products and caulking products such as Press-in-Place caulk), and do-it-yourself surface preparation products like the sanding sponge and the non-woven stripping pads.
I’m delighted to see 3M target its excellent consumer products at the burgeoning do-it-yourself market.
If you are planning to build a deck this spring, drop a line to Simpson Strong-Tie Co. Inc., P.O. Box 1568, San Leandro, Calif. 94577, and ask for the firm’s engineered deck plans folder. The free pocket-size folder has 24 panels with deck planning suggestions, charts and drawings.
Of special value to the deck builder are the charts that list joist and girder spans for the various species of woods that can be used. Naturally, the firm illustrates its Strong-Tie connectors, clips, anchors and fasteners.