I have some furniture-quality heart pine beams, and I need to remove the old paint that is on three sides of the boards. The paint is probably lead-based. Does anyone have ideas on how to deal with this issue safely and efficiently?
After you check for nails, why not run it through the planer, if you have one? Put the leavings in a bag and check with your sanitation department for disposal.
I have re-sawed a sample piece, and the finished wood is beautiful. I was hoping to be able to re-saw the 3x12 beams into 3 boards (3/4 thick, more or less), with a minimum number of passes through the re-saw bandsaw. But, it may be that an initial pass through to clean up one side cannot be avoided.
I think I may just resign myself to 4 passes per 3 boards, and know that with the extra effort, I am getting some great boards. And lots of sawdust.
Woodmizer can locate a sawyer near you if none are listed in your local phonebook, and there are many other name brands of band sawmills around.
I don't think heat, solvents, or abrasives are any less likely to be harmful in dodging the lead threat on an amateur level. I'm also sure none of it is legal, based on all the rules for dealing with the lead here in Savannah's old houses.
But then, the glow of that old growth longleaf is to die for.
Comment from contributor A:
We at the USDA Forest Products Lab have done some studies on removing lead-based paint from wood. First, wear a good HEPA cartridge respirator. We found that carbide knives will last at least 4 times as long as HSS knives... in our 4-head 20hp molder, we only got 100-200 feet of planing done with HSS before the surface finish went south. Carbide is the way to go, if you have any significant amount to do.
If you have a lot of nails to remove, buy a Nailkicker. I have one and they are worth every penny. Also, a Lumbermate wand metal detector works very well.