View Full Version : Cold and heat gun
02-10-2003, 02:35 PM
I was told recently that a heat gun actually works better removing varnish in very cold weather . Idea is that the heat sort of breaks off the varnish in sheets, without melting it. Anybody tried this?
02-10-2003, 02:43 PM
I have stripped varnish with a heat gun in everything from 20F to 90F. I was suprised how much quicker it worked in the 90F. It makes sense though, the varnish is already hot.
Mr. Know It All
02-10-2003, 02:56 PM
My experience has been that heatgun and scraper will work good in a unheated gar...uh...boatshop on paint. Varnish is another story. With varnish it bubbles and gets goopy no matter what the temperature is. The chemical stripper I've used works OK on the varnish but only when It's warm and doesn't work at all in the cold. That is just one of many jobs I'm putting off until Spring. Keep scraping and when you're done start sanding. :D Dan....what kind of boat ya got there?
Peace----> Kevin in Ohio
02-10-2003, 02:59 PM
I'm looking at stripping the mast of a NY 32, which is about 70 feet long. I'm still looking.
Actually, the cold-weather thing didn't make much sense, although it was from someone who said it worked for him.
Mr. Know It All
02-10-2003, 05:03 PM
Dan......I'm far from an expert on this subject. Just saying what my experience has been. I'm always interested in a better way if it's out there. Maybe someone will drop in and enlighten us. Wish I had a better answer to your good question.
Peace---> Kevin in Ohio
02-10-2003, 07:30 PM
When starting anything significant - and a 70' mast counts as significant :eek: - I'd be prepared to try all three approaches - sanding, stripping, and heatgunning. Sanding and heatgunning would be my first two approaches. You'll probably find yourself using both over the course of the project.
For the heat gun to be successful, there has to be enough varnish intact for the heat to build up under the varnish and make it bubble. Being from a different weather pattern tongue.gif I have no frame of reference, but I don't know about the cold theory...
You'll probably find the heat gun successful around the base of the mast and the first 10' or so off the deck. It'll also work wonders around fittings, sail track, etc. I'm guessing the higher you go, the less varnish you'll have. Not implying that you don't have as many coats at the top, just wear from halyards, etc. ;)
There are some here that swear by StarTen stripper and I've got some in the cabinet, but I haven't used it enough to tell if I like it or not. I also have a firm rule against trying something new on a project where if the varnish fails, I will want to put a gun to my head. Having to wood and redo the mast a year or so later would definately make suicide appealing.
If you've used a particular stripper sucessfully fine, but IMHO experiments are for cleats and trim, not masts.
I haven't done a full mast yet, but we've got one from a 34' Hinckley on sawhorses waiting it's turn in the varnish spa :D Just today I stood there and looked it up and down and thought, "Geeze that's a big job." Then promptly went back to what I was doing :rolleyes:
Happy varnishing -
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