I hesitate to give out the information for my favorite wood strippers because I love them so, they are so good, and I want them to always be available for me. Just me. Meeeeeeee! (It's Grace's toddler stage rubbing off on me already. Sorry.)
But, you know, if you love someone, set them free and all that.
For the wood windows, we used Moises and crew at The Stripp Joynt in Chicago. It's a family business and it's been around forever, even though they have switched locations a few times.
They are delightful to work with and they can do it all. Wood stripping, repair, painting, varnishing, the works. Need a door stripped? Great-grandma's table has a deep scratch? The finish on your mid-century modern credenza is worn? Need 52 window sashes stripped down while breaking a minimum of glass window panes in the process? Take them to the Stripp Joynt.
Many of their clients will bring furniture pieces in to them straight from a scavenging trip in Chicago's bountiful alleys. The folks at the Stripp Joynt then turn back the clock on these pieces and clean them up.
As soon as I took out my camera, everyone began to spruce up for a posed photograph. Masks came off, hair was combed, Moises' kids who were visiting the shop got into the act. Adorable. Not the candid shots I was originally thinking of, but they were all great sports about getting their photo taken.
They also install new wood floors! Very pretty. These are the samples in their showroom on Elston.
I had a great conversation with Moises' wife, Patricia, about the word "reuse" being included in the slogan, "reduce - reuse - recycle". Both of us are always shocked at the number of great old house parts (especially beautiful wood doors) and furniture that gets tossed into Chicago's alleys and dumpsters. Sometimes these pieces only need a small repair or refinishing and they will look like new again. I've personally benefited from dumpster diving in Chicago, but still...it always makes me cringe to see so much beautiful wood destined for a landfill.
Here is Moises cleaning up some of the glass on the windows that I came to pick up. His folks are even able to strip them with the glass still in the frames. When I realized that I was breaking more glass by trying to remove it prior to stripping, I just shipped 'em off with the glass still in there. A few broken pieces out of 52 sashes during the stripping process is better than my breaking almost ALL of the pieces trying to "save the glass" before stripping.
They are good folks. They are careful and reasonably priced for the quality of work that they do. If you need a very quick turnaround, you may need to clear that with Moises beforehand. They have a lot of work from those of us who use their services.
The Stripp Joynt
Elston Avenue in Irving Park Neighborhood