Since stripping the paint which seems to be a rather costly and /or difficult
job, why not just wire brush the loose paint, and then sand it to a dull
finish? After that, coat it with a couple of coats of your favorite paint
(mine is Rustoleum Cold Galvanize). If the FAA paint is that hard to remove,
it won't be going anywhere for a long time and should not flake. If the
galvanize is solid, why mess with it? You then have the problem of the legs
being thicker at the swage and not fitting together very well. I heard of one
poor guy who went this route and had to file and sand the insides of the legs
so they would be a small enough ID and OD to fit together. The same problem
cropped up with the bolt holes.
I've used the wire brush and sand approach with good success.