Join Date: May 2002
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Re: Paint Remover for anti-fouling paint
How big is the boat you're talking about?
I have stripped three boats, a 22, a 25, and a 35.
I stripped the 22 with an electric sander.
I stripped the 25 with a chemical stripper. Don't use the stuff you get in Lowes or Home Depot or discount stores, or house paint stores. It's much too aggressive, and will dissolve your gelcoat. Use Klean Strip paint stripper, which I believe is currently available from WM for about $29. gal. , as well as other suppliers. But, that particular variety of Klean Strip is hard to find anywhere other than a specialty store or online. The company makes different types of paint strippers. One customer evaluated it very poorly on the West site, but he wasn't using it for bottom paint. I have used it twice for antifouling, and it works, but you have to use it for the right kind of paint and you have to know how to apply it. The trick is to slather it over a large area, and then reapply it whenever it starts to dry out. Keep re-applying it, without scraping off the previous coat, until the paint softens underneath. By keeping it wet, you keep the chemical softening process going. When it's well-softened, scrape it off with a putty knife or scraper.
I stripped the 35 footer myself, and with the help of a pro. I had a professional strip all but the last 1-2 coats of old paint off the 35 footer with a power plane, and then I stripped the rest with Klean Strip. Trying to do a boat that size with chemical stripper was a bigger job than I cared to tackle.