View Full Version : Paint Remover

Ed Nye
03-19-2002, 08:10 PM
I am going to use a paint remover to remove an old finish. The grain is too proud to scrape without removing a lot of wood. Most of the finish is on a vertical surface.
I have three questions:

1. What is the best paint remover to use on a vertical surface?

2. What can you use to mask the areas you don't want damaged by the paint remover? Tape? Tape and plastic sheeting? Tape, plastic sheeting and more tape? What kind of tape?

3. And, do all paint removers turn teak red and have to be neutralized with an acid solution (like Te-ka part B)?
Thanks, Ed

Wayne Jeffers
03-19-2002, 08:28 PM

The Chemist gave a good lesson on paint strippers several months ago. Try the search thing.

From what I remember, there were certain ingredients in some strippers that left harmful residue in the wood. These should be avoided. He mentioned other types that were safe to use on wood.

I found that an electric heat gun and one of the pull-type scrapers, e.g., 2 1/2 inch Red Devil, work wonderfully. The push-type scrapers tend to gouge soft planking. The electric heat gun is also a lot less messy. Just vacuum up the residue with the shop vac.


Mr. Know It All
03-19-2002, 09:39 PM
What Wayne said. Heat gun and pull scraper works best with less mess and easier on the wood. Do it outside or with good ventilation.Try not to eat the chips they could have lead in the paint if the boat is older. It takes awhile to get the hang of using a heat gun so be patient. By far the best way to strip paint off a boat...... is to get someone else to do it or sucker one of your friends to help.

Scott Rosen
03-19-2002, 10:11 PM
What everyone else said. Chemicals are difficult to use on a vertical surface. I use a hot air gun and Proprep scrapers. A really sharp scraper makes all the difference. Since you're going to have to sand the grain smooth for the next finish anyway, I don't think you should fear using a scraper with heat.

If you insist on using chemicals, the methylchloride ones are the strongest and fastest. Star Ten is an alternative that also works well but is less caustic to humans.

03-19-2002, 10:59 PM
Some of the chemical strippers come in a gel, less likely to run off a vertical surface. The ones I have used didn't eat through common house painters masking tape

Dave Carnell
03-20-2002, 07:54 AM
It's methylene chloride that is paint remover.

I have found a heat gun and a wide heavy wood chisel best for removing many layers of paint.

Bob Cleek
03-21-2002, 06:32 PM
Proper heatgun and scraper technique should not gouge the wood. Let the heat gun do the work, not the scraper. Use a sharp "shavehook" scraper, which is less likely to gouge. A flat edge like a chisel requires a deft touch and more experience. As said, you will have to sand the surface before finishing. If the surface is really full of grain divots (as teak can be), use a thick ("vertical application") liquid stripper and a GENTLE application of BRONZE wool to get the residue out of the grain AFTER you have gotten the worst of the old paint or varnish off with a heat gun and scraper. (STEEL wool will leave a zillion little rusty flecks all over your boat... don't go there.)

Tom Dugan
03-22-2002, 08:21 AM
Going back over the original question, I noticed something. What do you mean when you say "The grain is too proud to scrape without removing a lot of wood"? Are you saying it's weathered a lot?
Please describe.


Wild Wassa
03-25-2002, 08:37 PM
The older good quality paints have good quality poisons. There's Cadmium as well.

I agree with Bob, this is a mostly 'pull technique' The 'deft touch' with a chisel has to be good on a concave surface. We all have the deft touch, ouch! ouch again.


Mr. Know It All
03-26-2002, 12:16 AM
Chemical strippers don't work very well when the temperature gets below 70 degrees F. Heat gun and scraper method still works well when it's cold. Another plus.

Ed Nye
03-26-2002, 10:33 AM
Yes, the softer "summer" wood has been worn away to the point that a scraper will not get to all of the coating. I have kicked around how I was going to strip this for a couple of years. I want to do it next week and I am still kicking it around. I have the heat gun and scrapers, both hooked and burnished. I know how to use them and all that (been there, done that, got the hat!). BUT................ until I get the finish off and see just how deep the groves are, I don't want to start cutting away at the wood.
I ask the question to get the best information I could on chemical stripping. Mostly I the folks have been telling me what to do, not how to do what I think I need to do.
I''m not a novice at most of this stuff, but I must admit, I don't know much about chemical strippers. I know some are good, some are not so good. Some will turn teak red/purple, some won't. Some are thick and hold on vertical surfaces (even know the word, "thixotropic") and some are thin and run around alot. I didn't want to have to buy a copy of each stripper on the market and test it. I wanted to learn from the combined experience of the forum. Oh, well.

03-26-2002, 05:29 PM
Hi Ed, Where do you work? Where's your boat? I see that you are located in Renton, do you get around Lake Union or Ballard much? I've got alot of chemical stripper made by "Chemsearch", I would gladly give you some if you want to try it out. It's very hot, water soluable and easy on wood. Let me know if you would like to try some out.

Allen Foote
03-27-2002, 10:30 PM
Go to a local McCormack paint store and buy a gallon of thier "marine paint stripper". It WILL melt fiberglass and other plastics so take the usual precautions. It will run but...even a thin coating eats paint. Its the best compared to any kwik kleen brand.

03-28-2002, 04:37 PM
Ed, for what it's worth. I've used many different types, never really had any problems. Find something that says it will remove synthetic finishes. Right now I am using ZAR. Works well with seemingly no side effects. However I always finish with a 100 grit hand sanding. I'm confident most marine strippers will work.