Thirty years ago, when I began restoring old houses, workers commonly used blowtorches and belt sanders to strip off old lead-based paint. Thankfully, these messy and dangerous practices are now taboo. As JLC readers are well aware, the EPA's new Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) rule permits only low-temperature heating devices and vacuum-attached power tools for mechanically stripping painted surfaces that may contain lead.

With contractors across the nation grumbling about the onerous RRP regulations, dozens of entrepreneurs have jumped into the market to hawk products and services that promise to lighten the burden of dust containment, cleanup, and compliance. But if you're looking for a specialty tool that makes the paint-removal process itself less onerous,...

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