In answer to the question of a reader of its columns as to what will remove old paint and hard oil from any surface, a recent issue of the "Painter's Magazine" contains the following, which may be of interest to some of our own readers: When the surface is to be repainted, in which case a slight raising of the grain of the wood is no objection, the simplest method of preparing the remover is as follows: Dissolve 4 pounds caustic soda 98 per cent, or as many pounds concentrated lye in 1 gallon boiling water and allow to cool. In another vessel mix 1/2 pound each of starch and china clay in 1 gallon of hot water. Beat this well so as to have no lumps, and when cooled off some add it to the soda or lye solution, stirring well in the meantime, when it forms a thick, smooth paste. Apply this paste with a fiber, not bristle, brush to the surface in a heavy film, and when the paint or varnish is raised wash with warm water. To remove any traces of causticity, give the surface a coat of vinegar and allow to dry before repainting. For removing varnish from wood that is to be refinished in the natural, a mixture of 3 1/2 pints American fusel oil and 1/2 pint turpentine will lift the varnish without raising the grain or discoloring the wood.