Getting the old stuff off of a cabinet can be the worst part of the job in my opinion. It is messy, stripper burns and you can spend the day scraping. I think I have some suggestions that will save you some time.
Here is what we started with:
1) Choose a good paint stripper. I use goof off. It seems to work really well and it is sprayable which is key to this work. Also you need a good box of gloves. Dont get those crappy exam gloves, this stuff will eat through those. I use a heavy black box (Venom is the brand) of gloves that Lowes sells. They are amazing. You will also need a good scraper, some shop towels and liquid mineral spirits. I use low odor so I dont collapse in my workshop :).
2) Galaxian has a really thick whole cabinet overlay on it which can be a real pain. You want to use your sprayer and coat the entire thing with stripper and let it sit. Patience is key but dont let it dry. You have to keep it wet while you wait. After about 15 minutes start working on a corner with a putty knife. You should be able to slide you knife under the vinyl and it should feel really elastic if you have waited long enough. It should fold and roll easily. IMPORTANT! THIS STUFF BURNS WHEN IT GETS ON YOUR SKIN. You get some one there and nothing happens then BAM! Pain! Have some mineral spirits handy as that nutralizes it and als you will need it for the final step anyway.
3) As you move along you are going to have stubborn parts. I respray those and move on to other areas and then go back and scrape there. After I got through the entire side all I left to work on what the small spot pictured below. You can also see the little sprayer I used. A little patience with waiting for this stuff to work will save you a lot of energy scraping. Let the stripper do the work.
4) When you get done you should have a pile of goop like this that can go right in the trash. All of it came off in one big sheet! (You can also see in this picture a small spot that I had to respray that just didnt want to let go) Again, take your time and respray those areas and just wait a minute or two.
6) When you get done this is what you should have
7) Now for the cleanup process. You dont want to leave globs or a film of stipper on your game. So I use this type of mineral spirits to nuteralize and clean the surface. I seriously pour it on the cabinet surface and then wipe it with the shop towel to spread it around and get in the nooks and crannys. I pressure wash or spray off the cabinet later in the process after all the sanding is done before I paint so I dont have to get all of it. You just dont want to leave stipper on there. NOTE: If you have a particle board cabinet I would not dump the thinner on like you can with a solid wood cabinet, and I would not suggest washing those. They will swell up like a sponge and you will be looking for a new cabinet. On a particle bord cabinet I would pour the thinner on the rag and wipe it down that way. Solid wood I am not afraid of the stuff running over a little. You can really get a sense from the picture below how much of this stuff I put on here. It evaporates so you dont need to fret about getting it dry with your rag or shop towel. This stuff is highly flammable so do not use it around heaters or fires! READ THE DIRECTIONS! :)
That is it....will cover the next step in the next post.