This soy-based, biodegradable stripper is not the cheapest stuff around, but it’s easy to use and can be used indoors because it doesn’t have the harsh fumes of typical strippers. When I first used it about five years ago, I was shocked. I used two gallons to strip an entire room: it went on like honey and smelled almost as good. Three hours later, almost all the paint came right off in one fell swoop. I’ve since used it on several pieces of wood furniture and a metal gate.
There are several citrus-based strippers out there that are cheaper, but they’re just not very strong. SoyGel really is the most impressive eco-friendly stripper I’ve run across. I’ve been restoring and renovating old homes and furniture for over 25 years, and always used those harsh chemical paint strippers that are environmentally unsound. I’ll NEVER go back.
One recommendation: if you use SoyGel outside, watch for breezes that dry the stripper out too quickly. If this occurs, just brush on some more. You need the moisture for it to work. That said, it takes ages for this stuff to dry out – and frequently you can also cover whatever piece of furniture you are working on with thick plastic sheeting to keep the stripper moist longer.
Franmar also makes a Mastic Remover that works like a champ, and a great Marine Paint Remover that I used to strip my boat (ever try to remove anti-foulingpaint?!).