I also spent a few hours over the weekend stripping the paint from around our master bedroom fireplace. It is quite a time consuming job, and I only got about half way through before I got tired of it, so will have to finish things up in future weekends to come. Here however are some in-progress photos for your enjoyment.
I always love discovering what seemingly crazy paint colours people used in the past to paint their homes, and was pleased to learn that at some point our fireplace had once been painted bright yellow. In 100 years, when the next owners of our home strip off the subsequent paint layers that have built up over time I guess they will find our boring whites and greys pretty dull. Ah well.
In terms of technique, I used an inexpensive Black and Decker heat gun (available here from Amazon for £18.95) and a wall paper scraper for the fireplace surround (which it turns out is stone or concrete not timber), and the cast iron insert. The heat gun doesn’t come with a nozzle to focus the heat, but I found I didn’t really need one. I haven’t got to the detailed decorative bits yet, but that will need a finer instrument.
As for the concrete hearth, I used some pretty toxic liquid applied paint stripper as the paint had seeped in and wouldn’t come up with the heat gun. It was messy and unpleasant, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend using this technique for paint removal if you don’t have to!