Stripping Out Grain Filler

A finisher applied a grain filler that turned out to be incompatible with his chosen finish. Here, he gets advice on removing the filler from wood grain and pores. October 2, 2005

I filled walnut dresser sides with Behlen's natural filler after a Zinnser seal coat (dewaxed) and let dry 24 hours. On a sample piece, BLO made the filler transparent. After a three-day wait, I applied the BLO without the white filler going transparent. Other than sanding this stuff out, can anyone suggest a solution?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor D:
Use a paste stripper that is not fortified with an alkaline like lye or anything else. Apply the paste stripper with a brush. Let it sit and start to work and use a small brass bristle brush to scrape the surface. The brass will not harm the wood. Do a section at a time. Dip the brush into liquid stripper (also one which is not fortified with alkaline) and scrape some more. Then, wipe with clean rags, lots of them. Brush on water and use a new brass bristle brush to do some more scraping. The water will work with the soap(s) in the stripper to get your wood squeaky clean. Sand out the raised wood and you should be able to start afresh. One trick that works for some and not others is to prep your surface that needs stripping with shellac. The theory is that the shellac has a great tendency to adhere to what it is applied to. So, it will help pull the paste filler out of the pores during your stripping process.

From the original questioner:
Thank you for the information. I'll try... This stuff is in every little pore. Is there any specific paste stripper recommendation?

From contributor D:
The following companies have the paste stripper I write about:
More companies may have this stuff, but these are the four big guns in stripping materials and supplies.

From the original questioner:
I took the good advice above. I told Behlen's tech support that I had trouble after drying, that there is not much I could do. I investigated paste strippers and decided on PeelAway 7 (suggested by tech support at company). I used one application of four hours (had one finish coat on). It scraped off with great results. Only a couple of small areas needed brass brushing. Washed down with mineral spirits, and needs light sanding. You saved me lots of work!