View Full Version : Bottom paint removial Keeping Spray Pics

06-24-2003, 03:32 PM
Some of you may remember back to 8/2002 when I ran a post about selling my 1947 39' Philip Rhodes Weekender on Ebay. Well as luck would have it the bidding only made it to $15000.00. I have moved to Michigan where the boat had been for about the last 50 years. The best part is I will be keeping the boat and am starting a refit. The first question (of many) is what is the best way to remove the at least five layers of bottom that are currently on the boat. I have many different types of sanders but would like to know what is the most common method. Also can anyone tell me what the toxicity of the copper paint is. I am also looking for a surveyor in my area (port huron) that is experenced in wooden boats. I am suppling a link with pics for anyone who could give advice.

06-24-2003, 03:51 PM

06-24-2003, 03:52 PM

Ian McColgin
06-24-2003, 04:05 PM
Bottom paint really clogs sandpaper and you're making the most noxious dust around. Most falls down quickly but it will still be outside your drop cloths and will still be entering the ground water.

There's a gizmo you can see advertised in some of the rags - looks a bit like a shrouded disc sander and may be really an attachment for same - that has cutters and good depth control. I've talked to one who had one and he says it's great if you need to get through bottom paint and glass and such and want to wood the boat. He said it was very aggressive and took a while to learn to manage and for him was cost effective only if you're a pro doing lots of such boats.

The only way I've gotten bottom paint off with with a well handled well sharpened scraper and sometimes add a tourch.

Sometimes hard labor is the only way.


Scott Rosen
06-24-2003, 04:13 PM
The most common method around here for removing bottom paint from a boat the size of yours is a powerful random orbital sander, 40 grit paper, with a dust extractor. I haven't had problems with clogging paper, as Ian has.

I've seen guys try the chemical strippers with lots of problems and mess. Scraping works, but it's tough work on a 40 footer.

06-24-2003, 05:05 PM
Henry, Antifouling paint is toxic, To find out whats in it, you would need to identify it and read the stuff on it's can, Cupros Oxide, TriButylTin etc. Back in the fortys there were real poisons in the stuff, not so many now, EPA, Save the Planet etc. Anyway history from old cans is hard to retreve.
I've done a job similar to yours three times, once with space suits, butane torch, Nasty. Rent a kid with a scraper 4 - 8 hour days, ten gallons of toxic nasty paint remover, the kid's still around.
Most recently using the Peel Away type product, from West Marine, available in gals. and fives. Found this system to be far superior to the two previous methods and almost living up to the claims. There is a similar product at Home Depot, which I checked out with the manufacturer and learned was formulated for restoration of Victorians and not suitable for AF removal. Like anything else. follow the instructions, experiment in the beginning with the let it sit times, and brush it on thick, trying to brush it thicker only makes it thinner, smear it on thick and leave it alone. Apply just the area overwhich you have already taped the membrane, which had been rolled up, for unrolling down as soon as the area is covered. Get as little air under the membrane as possible. The flat membrane doesn't conform to the curved hullshape, so try to keep the precutting size of the membrane within a reasonable/workable size. Let it soak as previously determined, I was able to work a 24 to 36 hour soak, but don't go too much by that as they have "improved" it since my use. Try to find a pro in your area with experience with this stuff. Wear a disposable long sleved shirt, gloves and a hat, dont spill it on any paintwork, like the side of your truck, And consult with whoomsoever as to the disposal of the nasty scraped off easily, residue. Mine stayed in the boatyard trash cans. Hope this helps and good luck whatever you choose.
Another thought, having the paint removed is the only way to easily locate all the fastening bungs, assuming they are silbronze screws and a refastening hasn't ever been done, I would sure pull a few to determine if this might be in order, or for reassurance they will last till the next bottom paint removal, say l5 years hence. Maybe pull a few first, before removing all that bottom paint, and you might want to think about going baack to E-Bay with the old bottom paint on. ;)

Mr. Know It All
06-24-2003, 08:32 PM
Thats a beautiful boat. Congratulations on your decision to keep and restore her. smile.gif I stripped a small boat of 40 years of paint, using a heat gun and pull type scraper, followed by a orbital sander. On a boat of your size I would be looking for an easier way. :D

06-25-2003, 12:18 AM
I was told of a new product now in use that requires you to paint some goo on the hull and then cover it with some type of plastic stuff, which, when it is done you peel it off and the paint comes with it. I didn't get the name of the product, and was told that it's kind of expensive, but it sounds like a good method to me, especially considering the alternative in terms of time and exposure to some truely nasty biocides. This way, it can all be collected and disposed of properly, and you don't have to risk breathing the dust. Anyone else heard of this, or know the name of the product?

Nicholas Carey
06-25-2003, 01:04 AM
Propane Torches. Maybe think brush burner, 25 pound propane tanks and long hoses.


Respirator (think 3M) with filter stack for toxic dusts and heavy metal dusts/vapors and organic vapors. The 3M web site (good luck finding the right page :D ) has a 'calculator' that recommends respirator/filter stack setup (just specify what you'll be exposed to and approximate exposure levels and it spits back a parts list).

Gloves—hot, melted paint with high concentrations of metals leave nasty burns. Ask me how I know.)


Keg o'Beer (Fullers ESB recommended) as reward.

Much more pleasant than chemical strippers.

Easier cleanup too.

4-5 of us wooded a 40 footer this way in a weekend.

06-25-2003, 11:29 AM
I was wondering where Spray went. Seems like she's found a good home.

In the summer of 2001, I put in an offer on her contingent on financing, but couldn't find a surveyor locally who felt comfortable surveying wood boats or a financial institution who felt comfortable financing an unsurveyed 52 year old wooden boat.

What happened the first time you put her in the water? How long did it take for the seams to swell? Did you have any trouble with that old engine? Any plans to rebuild the cockpit?

Let me know if you ever need an unpaid apprentice - all I'd ask is to eventually go sailing in her.