FAQs about our Wood and Metal, Stripping, Refinishing, Restoration, Powder Coating

Below are a few of the more popular questions we've received over our 24 years in the business. We would of course also be happy to answer your questions via telephone at (925) 427-6098 or via E-mail at info@strippingworkshop.com

Do you offer pick-up and delivery service ?
Yes. We service the entire San Francisco Bay Area and can pick-up and return your items to you. Contact us for details and/or to arrange pick-up.
What if I live far away ?
We can help arrange for your item(s) to be shipped to us. It's really no problem and something we're happy to do. Please contact us for details and more information.
How do you strip the finish off an item ?
We do all of our stripping by hand with aid of solvents in dipping tanks in our shop. We have multiple tanks at different temperatures. This is what sets us apart from other strip shops and allows us to safely and effectively take finish off of items. Dipping tanks are the only way to safely and effectively remove finish from cracks, joints and difficult to reach parts of an item. We coax the finish off by hand with very soft brushes while in the tank and then remove it from the tank and carefully remove all the remaining finish we possibly can.
What types of metal stripping and refinishing do you do ?
We strip and refinish such a wide variety of parts and machinery that it's hard to summarize, but a few examples include auto parts, pipes, fittings, computer cases, and equipment used in the oil refining industry. We can even strip off the plastic coating on many metals.

One of the processes we use to refinish metal is called powder coating. Powder coating leaves the item with an extremely durable, smooth finish.
Will 100% of the finish get stripped off ?
Our processes are guaranteed to take the finish "off of" items, but it will not always remove the paint or stain "out of" the item. Certain paints and stains are very difficult, if not impossible, to get out.
Is dipping safe ?
Over the years we've encountered a great number of misconceptions about dipping tanks. Some people believe we just take the items and "dunk" them into large tanks and all the finish goes away (you might hear such a line from other strip shops that choose not to have the expense of operating tanks). Don't be tricked! The entire stripping process is done by hand by skilled craftsmen. The item may be put "into" a tank so that our industrial strength solutions may be safely poured over them and them scrubbed by hand with nylon brushes. Depending on the item, we may use our "hot tank." Things like solid wood (doors, shutters, mouldings, patio furniture or most metal items) can be stripped this way. A hot tank solution is not designed for taking off varnishes, lacquer, veneered items, varathane, etc. Our cold solution removes finishes off of these items safely and effectively. Using tanks helps us strip finish off of items. It does not do the work for us! And believe it or not, our competitors bring items to us to strip for them and then mark-up the costs and pass them onto their customers. So save yourself time and money and let us do the work for you! Dipping is safe as long as it's done the right way. We have separate hot and cold tanks - the hot tank is used for heavily painted items such as chairs or bookcases and the cold tank is used for more delicate items such as those with veneered surfaces. The cold solvent stripper contains no water, acids or lyes.
Is dipping ever not safe ?
Dipping is completely safe as long as multiple tanks at different temperatures are used like we do. Other stripping shops that do not use tanks choose not to do so because of the increased costs (electric and environmental). Here at A Stripping Workshop we choose to pay those costs to give our customers the very best results - and we've been trusted with our customers' often priceless heirloom items since 1976.

It is not unheard of for our competitors to bring their work to us to strip in our tanks, after they've told their customers dipping is unsafe and charged their customers significantly more than we charge ours.
Dipping sounds safe to me now, but is it more expensive than other methods of stripping for the consumer ?
No. Dipping allows us to remove finish off items in a much more efficient and effective way than other methods. So we're able to strip items in less time which means lower labor costs that we pass on to our customers.
Is the condition of the item effected by the dipping process ?
Paint has the effect of holding items together, especially those that have been painted many times. A dresser, for example, will have its joints loosened over time through constant use. When it gets repainted, the paint seeps into the small spaces that form and acts like a glue keeping the dresser joints more stable. When the dresser comes into our shop for stripping, the removing of all the paint from the surfaces and cracks may cause it to loosen up slightly.

Another thing you should expect is to "discover" things about your item when we strip it. We've seen many a treasure uncovered after stripping to reveal beautifully inlaid detail work. We also discover imperfections or damage that were painted/stained over to conceal them. Obviously the stripping process doesn't cause these things, but it may reveal them.
Do you refinish items too ?
Absolutely. We have extremely talented craftsmen who can refinish a variety of items once we've stripped them. Remember, you can choose do the refinishing yourself, but to do it right is very time consuming and requires thorough sanding and repairing items as needed prior to applying the new finish.

Repairing damaged items prior to refinishing is one of our specialities. For example, we recently refinished an intricate wood fireplace mantel that had the lower right portion completely broken off and missing. We constructed a new right side to match the original left side. In the end, the customer had a difficult time telling the repaired right side wasn't original.


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(925) 427-6098   •   info@strippingworkshop.com