I refinish a great deal of kitchens and it's getting to be bothersome to have to strip the doors by hand. I was wondering what you are using as far as stripping tanks and strippers. I was told that a homemade box made from melamine with a drain hole on the bottom will do the trick. I basically strip and refinish the kitchen without the doors in 3 days, so I was figuring that if during those 3 days I can have the doors soaking in the stripping tank, then it would take me one day to stain and finish, for a total of 5 days for the whole project.
From contributor K:
I can't see melamine holding up at all well. I'd use galvanized or stainless steel. It sounds like you want to dump the doors in the stripper and come back and get them in 3 days? If so, you'll have a mess of warped, delaminated, unglued wood... Tank stripping or tray stripping still takes work and the doors will need to dry out before finishing.
New doors and drawers is certainly an option, but sometimes people have good doors they want to keep, and also new doors have to receive new hinges and be properly hung. Using existing doors avoids that. Bottom line, new doors and drawers is a higher cost option. Fine if they're willing to pay, but there is good margin to be made refinishing if you can deal with the stripping issue.
The dip tanks were basically lye baths. They consisted of a stainless steel box with a radiator inside (for heat) and water with a strong lye solution added. The tank also had a drain which went directly into the sewer system. After all, what is Draino, other than lye? There are also packets which would boost the strength of the lye to lengthen its usability. It seems to me using a MC stripper in a dip tank would run into a lot of money. Not only for the expense of the chemicals, but for the cost of disposal of the sludge.
One last note; putting cabinet doors into a liquid bath and leaving them for 3 days would be a very risky endeavor. Just because a door looks like wood does not necessarily mean it is (trust me). Get a flow-over tray and a chemical pump, check out hood products, and you'll be in business.