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Thread: When to remove masking tape?

  1. #1
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    Default When to remove masking tape?

    I am in the process of painting the interior of an epoxy-coated plywood stitch and glue wherry. I have masked off a number of parts that are to be finished bright. I have primed with one coat of Interlux Pre-Kote and have sanded it out to a thrillingly smooth surface, just aching for paint.

    My question is, do I need to pull the tape and redo it before I put on the 2-3 coats of Epifanes Monourethane? Do I need to pull and retape with every coat? The taping is pretty intricate in spots and would be hard to hit the exact lines again in certain spots.

    Typically I pull tape while stuff is wet but in this case I didn't after priming because it was so tedious to do the first time. In this instance, it was my thought that if I leave the tape all the way through the whole process and allow the paint to really harden, the paint should stay bonded to the boat and break along the tape line. Is this wishful thinking? What say ye?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: When to remove masking tape?

    Different surfaces and different paint jobs require different tapes. Some tapes really must come off that day or latest the next or they will bond more or less permanently and be plain hell to get off. The common harware store tapes, both blue and beige, are often like this no matter what the lable says. I have developed a trust for the better 3M tapes I can get from Jamestown. There are even tapes you can leave on for a week or two.

    Some good paint and laquor shops - the ones for folk in auto restoration - have some cool tapes, especially if you have to fineline. But in general for wooden boats, the 3M blue for day after removal and the 3M disgusting pale greenish is good for leaving on a week at least, maybe longer.

    You can save money and get better curved lines using a thinner strip of the good tape and use that common painter's paper half sticky tape to make a wider protective line.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: When to remove masking tape?

    I have had good luck with both hitting the same spot when remasking. With quality masking tape (M 218 Fine Line Masking Tape), it is surpisingly easy. http://www.jamestowndistributors.com...e+Masking+Tape

    However, I have also had good results by leaving the tape for multiple coatings and then CAREFULLY using a variable temp. heat gun set to the the lowest tmperature to help with tape removal after the final coat. Your milage may vary.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: When to remove masking tape?

    Last year, I was watching Hvalsoe paint a white waterline stripe (boot stripe? my mind has gone blank) on a Knarr Kutter, and he pulled the tape off no more than 60 seconds after the coat of paint was brushed on. He told me to pull tape the first moment you can. For each coat, I'm pretty sure he retaped. That's just the way it goes. (Be sure to really push down and set the edge of that tape, it really seems to matter.)

    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: When to remove masking tape?

    For a boot stripe painted with anything like the traditional high pigment sign painter's paint, pull while it's wet for sure. Otherwise you'll chip the edge. However, that's paint so high in pigments that one prominent brand is "One Shot" and they mean it. OnShot is better than marine boot paints for the job but easily twice the price. Tape for painting the boot first since that surface is so hard I doubt even duct tape would pull it. Then you can tape on it both top and bottom for the top sides and bottom painting. I pull the bottom paint's tape right away but I use ablative paints that clunk off when hard leaving a poor edge and also I tend to be launching about half an hour after I put the bottom paint roller down.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: When to remove masking tape?

    I tried a new way to make the tape seam perfect. painting an accent stripe onto a painted surface. put your tape down then paint a thinned light coat of the same paint you used under the tape and seal the tape lines. if you put down a very small amount of paint just at the tape line it will dry very quickly and then you paint over with your accent color. when you peel the tape there is no bleed of the accent color. as for the time to remove the tape as soon as your paint is not going to move take the tape up. I cant say this method of sealing will work with all kinds of paints but I have tried it with a waterborne polyurethane and it sure worked nice. tried it in the house with latex and it was perfect.
    Freudian slips : when you say one thing but mean your mother.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: When to remove masking tape?

    There are many tricks to getting a good clean edge and not chipping out paint. Removing the tape as early as possible is but one of them.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: When to remove masking tape?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Smith View Post
    I have had good luck with both hitting the same spot when remasking. With quality masking tape (M 218 Fine Line Masking Tape), it is surpisingly easy. http://www.jamestowndistributors.com...e+Masking+Tape

    However, I have also had good results by leaving the tape for multiple coatings and then CAREFULLY using a variable temp. heat gun set to the the lowest tmperature to help with tape removal after the final coat. Your milage may vary.
    I think a heat gun may be just the trick.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: When to remove masking tape?

    It is not always practical, as the OP indicates, to remask every coat. I might do several coats on a surface with the tape in place, depending on the situation. As Ian says, use the appropriate tape. 3M delicate blue, or the green, or the Fineline for tight curves. If the tape has been on through multiple coats you might want the assistance of a razor or utility knife for removal. Never thought of using a heat gun - interesting - good lord be careful. For at least the last coat I like to retape, setting the tape just beyond the existing build up (by a hair). Lew is sounding cagey - I bet he knows that the most simple and effective way of preventing bleeding under the tape is to lightly sand along the tape line prior to coating. I'll knock down that built up edge a tad if I've set the tape just outside it. And I'll pull the tape for the last coat as soon as I'm finished with the brush.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: When to remove masking tape?

    If it were me, I think what I might do is plan to remove the tape after the second to last coat and plan to re-tape at the point. This would provide an opportunity to address the sharp ridge left by the edge of the tape, check for problems and fix any minor issues along the tape line before laying on the final coat of finish. After the final coat the tape would come off as soon as possible, ideally while the finish is still a little wet so the sharp ridge left by the edge of the tape can become more rounded.

    Another point to note, even thought it sounds like it may be too late in this case. I was taught to always apply varnish before paint if the two are going to butt up against each other. There are a number of advantages to this including:

    1. You have more options for easily hiding minor errors along the tape line if the final finish being applied is paint, which can be used to hide earlier problems.
    2. Paint drips on the area to be varnished are much more of a pain to clean up than varnish drips on the area to be painted.
    3. In areas where you are cutting in with the brush (i.e., not using tape), if the paint overlaps a little onto the already varnished area it is less of an issue than if varnish overlaps a little onto the previously painted area. In the former case the paint hides the varnish underneath. In the latter case, the varnish remains visible on top of the paint. In fact it is desirable to have a small overlap of paint onto the varnish to make sure the joint between the two finishes does not provide a place for water to leak behind the finish.

    Of course if these are previously finished surfaces and if you are just redoing the varnish and not the paint then all of the above is moot.

    P.S., Eric posted while I was writing my post.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: When to remove masking tape?

    Hey Eric! I was posting from the "Go-Go" connection on an Alaska Airlines flight, which was very cool, but also very slow, so I was forced to truncate the message when the pilot announced that the plane was landing.

    Here is some stuff that seems to work for me:

    I like to tape to varnish (not paint) as I get fewer pulls that way. I don't worry as much about bleeding as I do about pulls. Paint pulls don't speak terribly well to adhesion, but they are a fact of life sometimes, especially when the paint is still green. How you pull off the tape can seem to make a difference. I was taught to pull it back on itself and that seems to help.

    I try not to push paint or varnish under the tape. Sand the paint ridge lightly as Eric suggests, and start at the tape line. Make sure the tape masking the topsides paint is well pressed down along the line run the thumbnail over the junction as Tim said) , and then pull the tape as soon as the job is done. As has been said, (I think) 3M has several blue tapes. The one with orange on the label has a plastic substrate and less adhesive. I like this plastic substrate blue tape for delicate work. You will know it by it's extra cost. It is a replacement for the old and somewhat ineffective white paper "safe release" and with proper thumbnail technique it will seal quite well.

    We all know this but it is worth saying that in many cases, bleeding results from poor prep that hides uneven surfaces that contain small surface irregularities. These catch and hold excess paint. Again we learn that solid prep is the best defense. The good news about boot stripes is that they are at the water line and out of direct site. If it looks good in the yard or on the trailer, it will look great in the water.

    Since I just finished, and even though this (photo) has been used elsewhere, we really nailed the boot stripe this year, with almost no bleeding and a very even straight line. The blue safe release was used and the brush was started on the tape. Never brush paint into the tape; always try to brush away from the tape. If you bleed onto the paint. wait until everything dries but the paint is still somewhat green and carefully worry any errant paint off with a rag dipped in solvent, or even your fingernail.

    If you start with sharp, clean surfaces, getting nice lines is possible otherwise, it's really hard.



    Perfection is a goal, not a realistically attainable reality. "All hail the jewel in the lotus."


    For the first time in years no pulls or drips worth bothering over. Tape was pulled within an hour of paint being applied.
    Last edited by Lew Barrett; 07-29-2010 at 11:54 AM.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: When to remove masking tape?

    Many good tips on this thread

  13. #13
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    Default Re: When to remove masking tape?

    If you go with multiple coats on one masking you may end up with a substantial layer of paint bridging the tape and your finished part. Pulling the tape then may result in the tape tearing and leaving pieces behind.

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