Best way to refinish the trim?

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Q: I have an old, small Victorian style house. It has beautiful, old, wide trim around the doors and windows. The trim around the kitchen door that leads to a small side entryway to the outside and the trim around the window and door in the entryway both have many coats of paint on them. The paint has deep cracks but is not really peeling off.

What is the best way to refinish the trim? Do I need to take all the paint off? I live in the Northeast and will be working on this project over my December vacation but can open a window if needed for ventilation.

A: I think I would use paint stripper on it. You want to avoid sanding because their is high likelihood of lead in these coatings. Remove as much of the paint by chemical stripping to get down to or near the bare wood, then prime it with a good primer such as Zinsser 1 2 3 or Bin.

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