The Lazy Stripper’s Guide to Hinges (Continued)

Remember when I succumbed to laziness and stripped paint off door hinges without removing them? There, I discovered that regular cheapo masking tape didn’t fully protect the door finish from the effects of the stripper. We just took a door off the hinges to haul a cast iron radiator out of the basement (everyone survived!). While that was down, I tried some different techniques.

1.  Good Masking Tape

I looooove ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape. It’s great for avoiding paint bleed and for making super-sharp lines between areas.

I painted the panels on the flat side garage door with ScotchBlue tape, and they are SHARP. This picture is not super-sharp because I ran out there to take this picture in a semi-blizzard. I love Minnesota in springtime.

I masked the panels on this flat door using ScotchBlue tape, and they are SHARP. This picture is not super-sharp because I ran out there to take this picture as the wind was picking up for a blizzard. On March 18. I love Minnesota in springtime.

But as with the regular masking tape, the stripper eroded the adhesive bond. I don’t think there’s any getting around that chemical reality. In this case, it was exacerbated by the fact that I had to do two applications of paint stripper because of the nastiness on the hinges. My scraper technique certainly didn’t help the tape edges stay taut.

2. Freehand!

Nope. Just no. Next!

3. Duct Tape

I still had seepage and adhesive erosion at the edge, but the worst thing was that the duct tape pulled off some of the door finish. It just caused a whole different problem, and I don’t recommend it.

4. Petroleum Jelly

This is not an absurd non-sequitur: I have a white blaze on one temple.

Elsa Lanchester as the Bride of Frankenstein; this is, of course, the look I'm going for.

Elsa Lanchester as the Bride of Frankenstein; this is, of course, the look I’m going for. Check out the eyelashes!

Thing is, it wouldn’t be just a blaze if I didn’t cultivate it. I started to go grey in my early 20s, so I’m a long-time home colorist. When I decided to let the blaze part grow in, I started protecting it from the hair color with Vaseline. So I’m coloring my hair the other night, and it occurs to me…

…WHY NOT MASK PAINT WITH VASELINE TOO?

Why not, indeed — it works!  I carefully spread petroleum jelly on the paint surrounding the hinge face, taking care not to get any on the area to be stripped.  I went about an inch out from the hinge in all directions. Then, I carefully painted the stripper onto the hinge face.

Zinsser's on the hinge, Vaseline on the door. Note that the finish I'm covering is not all that great to begin with.

Zinsser’s on the hinge, Vaseline on the door. Paint chipping issue at the bottom right was pre-existing.

Ideally, when I had to go to a second coat of stripper, I should have cleaned around the hinge and reapplied petroleum jelly. I also could have gone further out from the hinge with the protective coat. But the outcome was still head and shoulders above my other ideas.

Hinge detail after. Paint intact! Not that it's great paint, but still.

Hinge close-up detail after. Paint intact!

Now, I still wouldn’t do this if you have a pristine surface, which this obviously isn’t. But if you are feeling rather lazy and don’t mind the possibility of a little touch-up down the line, give Vaseline a try.

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