A couple of years ago I bought a house. One of the things I really wanted was lots of wood. I have always been impressed with houses that has well finished wood throughout. The house was almost 60 years old and had hardwood flooring. The original wooden doors were painted. Well, those were the first thing to tackle. Little did I realize what a workout my arms would be getting :) I also would like to thanks the gang at www.thinkhaus.org for creating their hackerspace where I was able to make a dusty mess on a regular basis ;)
Step 1: The beginning
So obviously the first thing I did was take the door out of the house. I removed the door handle but left the door hinges as they too were painted and needed a good cleaning.
Step 2: Apply heat
There are many ways to strip a door. I am not terribly fond of the chemical way to do so so I opted for the heat-gun method. For those that don't know, this is a special heat gun designed for high-heat applications. A hairdryer will not work.
I learned pretty quickly how to apply this heat. I found that if I heated the paint too much, it would simply harden and make it just as difficult too remove as pure sanding it would. I also found that after you apply the heat, you have to wait till the paint cools otherwise it's a big gooey scraped mess :/
The best way I found for this door (YMMV) was to hold the gun about 6" away from it, let the paint bubble just a little bit. The paint would seemed to generate some fumes (safety note, do make sure you are in a well ventilated area) and the paint, being evening applied and sufficiently think enough, would start to create one big bubble underneath. This is the paint literally separating from the surface and is ideal for removing.
I also learned to do it in small sections as the 'bubble' would eventually find a part where the fumes would escape and collapse, thus partially ruining a clean removal.