View Full Version : How do I remove 7 zillion coats of Paint

08-09-2001, 07:41 PM
Hello everyone!

I am new at boat building and restoration so please be patient with my questions. I was fortunate enough to be handed down an orginal 1920's plank punt/small dory. There are multiple layers of paint under the sound planks. what is the best method for removing all of this paint because I may varnish it or even paint it again. Any assistance would be appreciated..

chris Turner
Nova Scotia, Canada

Bob Cleek
08-09-2001, 08:19 PM
A heat gun and a sharp scraper.

Ed Harrow
08-09-2001, 08:50 PM
What Bob said. Careful of the fumes, however, and don't get the wood so hot that you scorch it.

08-09-2001, 09:00 PM
A blow torch and a fire hose http://media5.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/biggrin.gif Hold your breath, the fumes can kill.

Seriously, I found a heating iron(one that stands off the surface about 1/4 inch and has a heat shield) and scraper lifted all the layers in one pass and the fumes were less than what you get from a heat gun which burns easily if your not right on it, moving along. http://media5.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif

[This message has been edited by norske (edited 08-09-2001).]

08-09-2001, 09:24 PM
Addition to cleeks direct yet incomplete answer.
Heat gun,sharp scraper,AND,some one to bring you lots of beverages and sandwiches of your choice. http://media5.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/biggrin.gif
It takes time and some muscle but the results are good when you use heat and a scraper.

Scott Rosen
08-09-2001, 11:12 PM
You can remove a lot of paint in a day with a heat gun and a sharp scraper. I've found that the only scrapers worth a damm are the Pro-Prep scrapers. The blades hold a good edge and come in all different shapes and sizes, so you can get into tight spaces. Don't use a putty knife thinking it will do the job of a scraper. You need a heat-resistant handle and the blade should be 90 degrees to the handle. The Red Devil scrapers have plastic handles that melt from the heat, so they're no good. Keep a diamond stone handy to keep the blade sharp. Also keep your shop-vac handy, as you'll produce lots of chips and dust. I don't worry about the fumes if I'm working out of doors, but I'm pretty lax about that stuff.

08-10-2001, 05:12 AM
Gentlemen and Ladies!

Thank you all for your comments regarding Removing 7 zillion coats of paint. Sounds like everyone is in agreement with regard to heat guns and scrapers! I was surprised though that no one had mentioned paint thinner or another type of paint removing chemical.

Thanks to all and I will probably be back with more questions for all of you yeomen!

08-10-2001, 06:35 AM
Hi, Chris. Welcome to the mad passion of boats. As above, heat & elbow grease is the way to go - chemicals will not help the health of you or your boat. You may also wish to surround yourself with like-minded fools on a regular basis to gain moral support and practical advice in your chosen lunacy of wooden boats (a wonderfully diametrically-opposed undertaking from IT, don't you think?). The Small Wooden Boat Association of Nova Scotia meets on the 2nd Tuesday of every month (except summer months when we meet somewhere, sometime on the water) at 7:00 pm at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax. Next meeting is Sept. 13th. Admission is open to all who will make a donation per meeting to the Metro Food Bank, membership is CDN $25 per year. For further info call Ry & Anne Clark at swbans@fox.nstn.ca, an invitation which is open to all you other boaties who read this.

[This message has been edited by mmd (edited 08-10-2001).]

Dave Carnell
08-10-2001, 06:39 AM
I use a 2" wide heavy chisel as scraper. It really peels the paint and the handle is long enough to keep your hand cool.

Scott Rosen
08-10-2001, 08:10 AM

You must have one hell of a steady hand. I tried a chisel once and ended up taking off some wood. Do you use it bevel away from the wood or bevel toward the wood?

Tom Dugan
08-10-2001, 08:28 AM

Go to http://www.starten.com and get ahold of one of their starter kits. Give it a try and report back to us here. It could really save you some time. Or not. But it would be worth while to find out.

I'd do it myself if I had a boat to try it on. http://media5.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/frown.gif

Still searching

08-10-2001, 04:57 PM
Scott - I think the differences in various coatings combined with various wood surfaces make the "tool of choice" fairly variable. I've even had a perfectly good system just cease to be effective midstream. It definately takes a light hand with the chisel (bevel up) and I've had pieces where it worked wonderfully (hard woods like locust) and others where there was an instant "yikes!"

These days the bag contains:

Milwaulke heat gun
Easy Gun (or something like that) heat gun
Two moderately dull chisels (1/2" and 1")
Flexible putty knife (with corners rounded)
Stiff putty knife
Red Devil scraper (they reach a point where they just won't melt anymore. Maybe The Husband will craft me a wood handle - hint-hint)
Full compliment of Pro-Prep scrapers
Right angle chisel/left angel chisel

When one thing won't work, I reach for another. The two heat guns also have widely different effects.

The right/left angle chisels I got from the Japan Woodworker catalog. You guys probably have plenty of things on hand, but for someone like me with few hand tools, they've been a life saver for getting the varnish out of corners and along the edges of trim. I can't explain it, they're just "right."

Take Care!

Don Z.
08-10-2001, 09:46 PM
Star Ten... GOOD stuff. Works well. The fumes can get to you, and you really need tons more of part two than you do part one... I'd use a heat gun on broad, flat areas, unless I had a piano and was sure I was going to varnish... I'd use Star Ten on a pair of shutters or anything where I'd use a dental pick to get into all the fine stuff...