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Ready Strip

Does it Work Wednesday

Ready Strip
By: Amy Jacquin

A painting project can't begin until the preparation work is done. And that often means stripping old varnish or paint.

The makers of Ready Strip claim it puts muscle into removing up to seven old layers at one time.

Ready Strip is supposed to be an odorless, environmentally-friendly paint and varnish remover. A $20 quart of Ready Strip is made for a variety of surfaces including wood, brick, metal, marble, and fiberglass.

After scuffing up the stool she wants to strip. Amy Jacquin uses a putty knife, as instructed, to apply Ready Strip.

It says to apply liberally so it completely masks the paint that you're wanting to remove. It also says to apply it like cake frosting. And don't try to apply it to thin like you would with a paint brush.

But it takes a long time to apply with a putty knife, and it's difficult to get in grooves and corners.

"It says to apply like cake frosting, but it's difficult with this, so I'm going to tray a brush," Amy decides. "It's thin enough that I think if I just globbed it on with a brush, it might be better."

A quart of Ready Strip is supposed to cover up to 15 square feet, but it disappears fast, even on this small stool.

"It would have been smart to start on the bottom..." Amy mumbles. "But I'll work with what we have! I have to say it does not have any smell to it whatsoever. Which is a lot different than most paint removers."

But Ready Strip also takes longer than other removers. You can tell it's finished when it turns to an off-green or off-white color. And that can take between 4 and 24 hours, depending on the type and amount of paint.

"When the stripper turns an off-white or pale green, it may form an eggshell-like skin to lock in the stripping action," Amy reads from directions. "Misting this area with After Strip or water prior to actual removal will soften the skin, lifting the paint off easier."

While waiting for Ready Strip to change colors, we easily clean-up the brush and knife with plain water.

It takes about 4 and 1/2 hours before it's ready to scrape.

The Ready Strip scraper is a very sharp triangle... so you're warned against pressing too hard. Still, the scraper keeps catching, leaving marks on the wood.

"Why does it keep doing that?" Amy asks, puzzled. She tests the to make sure the scraper is tight, and it is.

The paint comes off open surfaces pretty easily, where you can follow the grain. But curved surfaces or small areas are impossible to reach with the Ready Strip tool.

The nut on top of the scraper prevents it from getting under the ledge very well. The sharp points do come in handy for some crevices, but overall, it's no more effective than traditional scrapers. And there's a lot of product to take off before even reaching the paint!

So Ready Strip does dissolve paint, it is odorless and cleans up with water. But it takes much longer than other removers, we have a lot of residue, and the tool isn't all it's cracked-up to be. Amy says she'd opt for a throw-away brush and some stink! Ready Strip tops out at a C-.

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