Need safe method to remove tape/residue from wood

aucaj

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Feb 2, 2021
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Hello,

A few years ago I bought a 18th century clock tower painting with a mechanism by Whitehead of London. The UPS store hired extra helper who were not properly trained on packaging antique items for shipment. They taped directly to the frame of the clock. This damaged the painted finish in two areas, which I'm not too concerned about. The main issue is that there is a paper-backed tape stuck to the wood that I can't seem to remove.

Please could you recommend the best and safest method to remove this tape without damaging the wood finish? The tape is on the back of the frame but I still do want to cause permanent damage if I can avoid it.

I would appreciate any recommendations you could give.

Thank you,
Chris

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Wayne A

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Sep 24, 2019
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I've used light orange oil based products for cleaning/polishing wood. If it was not on wood RemOil works great.
 
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Willie X

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Feb 9, 2008
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A good thumbnail and a few drops of warm soapy water works well sometimes. Use more time and less thumbnail. If you have some Murphy's oil soap, that's about the same thing, a rather safe starting point.

Tape marks are difficult to remove completely. If thumbnail/water/soap doesn't cut it, you will need to move on to mild solvents, on up to the hot solvents. Somewhere along the line the finish will begin to suffer. It's a good lesson on when good enough is good enough. :)

Notes, No fingernails (?) ... popsicle sticks, with the ends sharpened to a blunt knife edge, are a fair substitute. Don't use metal.

Scrape on, Willie X
 
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Tim Orr

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Sep 27, 2008
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Good afternoon, Chris!

Good advice so far. It looks like, contrary to popular advertising, the blue painter's tape has pulled some of the finish off. No solution there but to touch up the areas.

A female friend of mine advocates gentle application of heat to old tape via a hair dryer. You can't see it in the photo, but I don't need a hair dryer, so I use (carefully) a heat gun from Harbor Freight. Sometimes that works. Sometimes not.

Best regards, and good luck!

Tim Orr
 
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svenedin

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I have had great success removing tape residues with Xylene but you have to be VERY careful. If you wish to try this, try a small quantity on a completely inconspicuous area first. Do this in a well ventilated area as Xylene is a rather pungent solvent and is not particularly good for health. As an aside, It is marvellous for removing the sticky pads that are sometimes used to fix number plates to motor cars and does not damage modern two-pack paint. It will strip waxes though and reacts with many plastics. It is sometimes sold as Cellulose thinners as it thins cellulose paints. I would suggest trying to dampen the tape with water with a little detergent added (to aid wetting of the paper) as a first line. And once again if you do try Xylene use it somewhere it does not show to check it is safe on your clock. I have found masking tape does readily damage delicate surfaces even the blue type especially if left on for too long. The Frog brand seems to be much less likely to cause damage in my experience.
 
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Jonas

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Sep 17, 2020
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I’ve had good success with mineral spirits. I think it’s similar to kerosene. It seems like it may be a less aggressive alternative to some of the stronger solvents.
 
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bangster

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I've found that GOO-GONE nearly always works and doesn't harm finish.
 
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D.th.munroe

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Feb 15, 2018
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I use heat for alot of tapes and labels, it also has to be done carefully on shellac, but I can usually pull those labels off of shellac in one piece without harming the finish even when they are peeled like some of those labels are.
And then little bit of whatever you choose to remove the left over residue. Guitar picks make handy scrapers/peelers as well.
Dan
 
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