How to Strip Paint with a Blow Torch

Looking to refurbish some furniture but not sure how to remove the old paint? Try a blow torch!


There are 2 tools that are commonly used in to strip paint using heat – the Blow Torch and the Heat Gun.

Each of these tools have a very specific difference.

  • Blow Torches: The blow torch uses a naked flame to heat a surface and strip paint. Tradeflame models feature an adjustable control knob that will allow you to control the temperature and intensity of the flame by using specially designed attachments you can use to provide a wide distribution of heat such as the Handyman Blow Torch Kit - Pinpoint/Fantail 
  • Heat Guns: Unlike the blow torch, the heat gun does not use a naked flame to heat a surface. Very similar to the domestic hair dryer that we are all used to, this works on the same basis only in a more intense manner, essentially a high intensity hair dryer x10 (Do not try and use a heat gun as a hair dryer)!! 



When using either a Blow Torch or Heat Gun ensure that it is held a constant distance from the surface, roughly 15 to 20 cm (6-8 inches), you may have to adjust depending on the intensity of your flame/heat source, a fantail attachment on a blow torch allows for a softer, more gentle flame which you can hold much closer to the surface.








Move the tool backwards and forwards from a correct distance until the paint starts to lift, bubble or wrinkle.

Once the paint has started to lift you will then need a scraper to scrape it off. An old rag is also a good idea to wipe off any residue.









Repeat until all the paint has been removed and once all removed you will then need to go back over with some sandpaper (more than likely a fine grade 800 to 1200 grit) and rub the surface down to remove any final residue and will also give the new paint a decent surface to adhere to.








Always read and follow the manual and instructions.

Before using either of the above items it is always worth practicing for a while and take note of the following:

  • Become familiar with the intensity of the flame/heat settings.
  • How fast a surface is heated.
  • How long the heat source can remain in one place before it causes and scorching or damage.



Using this method may in some cases cause the resin in the timber to seep out. Also, any fillers that may exist in the surface you are heating can become damaged and will need to be replaced before re-painting/covering.

Beware of glass. If this is heated with too much intensity then it will cause it to crack, shatter and in extreme situations, explode. 



SURROUNDINGS: As you work beware of potentially flammable items around you e.g. curtains, carpet, sofas, plastics etc. You do not want to set your house on fire so remove anything that can be removed. Items that cannot fully be moved either move/tie out of the way as best as you can.

PROTECT YOUR FACE: Always wear eye protection and a mask. Heating paint can in some cases give off harmful fumes so ensure you are working in a well-ventilated area.

WATCH YOUR HANDS: We recommend wearing a pair of heavy-duty gloves such as riggers gloves, especially if you are new to this project! While you are concentrating on the work in hand it’s very easy to forget about what you have in your hand and as the paint begins to bubble and wrinkle and you move in with your scraper to scrape it off  - you can occasionally end up torching the back of your hand holding the scraper as you pass it underneath the heat gun/blow torch!!


  • Always turn off when not in use - never leave a heat gun or blow gun on, unattended or lay it down flat on a surface while it is running.
  • Always disconnect the torch from gas after use.
  • Allow the heat gun or blow torch to cool before disconnecting and storing away.

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