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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 10-12-2007
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antifouling stripper

What is a good bottom paint stripper for many coats of soft, high copper content bottom paint (basic, cheap bottom paint)? I'm a great lakes sailer and am switching to vc-17 (standard fresh water racer paint). All the old paint must come off. If anyone has success with any particular product, I'd like hear of it.

john
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Old 10-13-2007
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We used "Peel-Away"; we did not use the "peel-away marine"; it was the household paint version. We bought it at Sherwin-Williams paint. You can get it in a 5 gallon bucket if you ask; will save some bucks if it is a big job.

Peel-Away is a caustic paste that makes the paint soften and release. It WILL damgage gelcoat so be very careful in application and amount of time left on. In our case there were 10+ layers of old non-ablative epoxy based anti-fouling on the hull and the peel-away removed about 3/4 of it. It was a big job getting all of it off but we would never have made it to the gelcoat by sanding with a orbital sander.

If you do a small test section with the Peel Away you can determine how long to let it sit. Be sure and buy the neutralizer (concentrated acetic acid) to rinse down after removal.
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A product called "Aqua-strip" - available on line - is a non toxic, "green" remover that worked fairly well for us despite using it at much lower-than-recommended temperatures (but on ordinary paint, not antifouling). Still I think it may be worth a shot as it is specifically claimed to be safe on gelcoat - though it does caution about not letting it get to work on Epoxy barrier coats.

It's a thick paste that stays where you put it, and once given time it softens the paint so that you can simply scrape it off and easily recover the spent remover and the paint together. (Still a messy job, though)
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It sounds like it works similar to peel-away. I don't think the peel-away is toxic; it's probably a paste made of calcium hydroxide or something similar. The bottom paint that comes off with the stripper IS toxic and should be taken to the hazmat disposal. One thing I might mention is not to trust any of these chemical strippers on your topsides gelcoat. I used the peel-away marine on the transom to remove the prior lettering and it severely blistered the gelcoat. I ended up re-painting the transom with topsides paint before re-lettering. This product is billed as "safe for gelcoat"; clearly it is not.
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Thanks for your input

I tried a product from West Marine called marine safety strip, and had lousy results. It was a paste too, and was billed a green, and safe for gellcoat, and removes all paint, varnish, etc, and it was only about 35 bucks a gallon. However, I didn't read the fine print that said to use marine safety strip pro for anitfouling. I don't know if I didn't read it, or just didn't believe it after reading all the good stuff about it, and the price was more friendly. Anyhow it didn't seem to work at all. It didn't even remove the paint on my trailor where I dripped the product. I got some of the bottom paint off, but it was from the scrapper's action, not the strippers. So now I'm leary of what to buy that will really work.

A second thought is what can I add that will make the paste product I have work, a solvent, or an alkali? It said to paint it on thick and wait 4 to 8 hours. Within in 4 hours it was dried and hard! I had to re-apply more over the top to soften up the stripper! Dis-satisified!

Has anyone had any experience with interlux 229E? It comes in like a solvent can instead of a paint can by looking at the picture in the catalog.
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Old 10-13-2007
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I used the same product from west marine, I agree it really sucked. It made scraping off the bottom paint even harder to do. I did buy for 10 bucks from sears a 1.25 inch gasket scrapper. It was hands down the best 10 bucks I've spent in a long time. It pealed the paint off my bottom with very little effort. Using that tool I was able to remove huge areas of the bottom paint. Trouble was every day, I never could follow up what I could remove the first hour or so that I started. Working, scrapping over your head is very tiring.
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Use Klean Strip Fiberglass Paint Stripper. (Google "Klean Strip") It's made for fiberglass autos and for boats. I've used it 3 times, and it won't damage your gel coat. Brush on one coat after another, so that you keep it wet. Don't start to scrape it off until it has softened through many layers of the paint. In other words, let the stripper do the hard work. There's no easy way, except to pay someone to strip it for you.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailormon6 View Post
.... There's no easy way, except to pay someone to strip it for you.
Ain't that the truth!!
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ok, ok I knew it was going to be work, but let me tell you that this is the part two of the bottom. My learning curve and the really hard work was done last spring on side one. I was going to do it the old fashion way. I bought a random orbital sander - a must have unit, but quickly found that there was way too much build up of paint and that I was never going to get it off with just that. After consulting with the Bristol group e-mail list, and a couple knowledgeable people who told me it was going to be a lot of work, I bought a small grinder and sand pad attachment. Messy, but this took of the paint quickly. Trouble was that if I wasn't extra carefull I gouged the gel coat. Sitting under the boat next to the keel with safety glasses and dust mask donned, and a grinder running at 6000 rpm with 60 grit paper grinding away paint over your head soon got to be very hard work, not to mention dangerous. I got all the paint off though - one side. I stopped there, and spent the next month and half filling in all my gouges and sanding them back down. I must have spent $100 in sand paper and dust masks, and used almost 1/2 a quart of epoxy. Finally I got it faired and painted - one side with vc-17. By then it was late june and hot and there was no way I was going to do that kind of work in hot weather.... heck there was no way I was going to do that kind of work again period. So, after sitting out a season of sailing on the big lake, I'm back at it again. This time side two. This time with the most volital, corrosive, and if need be toxic chemical I can get my hands on. I'm going to pay the chemical man to have the chemicals do the work. Something I said I'd never do last spring.

By the way, I've found the right product. Today I bought interlux 299E. West marine took back the 3/4 gallon of the stuff I previously bought that didn't work. They gave me full credit, and then I bought a quart of the interlux stuff. This stuff is not Green! It has some serious solvents. It lists Toulene, Acetone, Methyl alcohol, and ketones. It smells good, and works good. Brush it on, wait 10 minutes and scrape it off. I did have to apply it a second time to get down to the gelcoat. At $30 dollars a quart, and with half a quart gone and only a quarter of the side done, I could see this was going to get expensive.... To the local hardware store I went (truevalue). I found a gallon of a marine zip strip product with mineral spirits, methylane chloride, and methanol.... Cost $30.. it works twice as good as the interlux! I'm half done and still have more than half the can left. Half stripped in 3 hours! The West Marine 30 minutes away, the local hardware 1 minute away. Why didn't I check there first!

Thanks for your support - < 180 days till splash - John.
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Old 10-13-2007
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soy strip

Hello,

Has anyone tried this:

http://www.soysolvents.com/Marine/marine.html

It got great reviews in Practical Sailor.

I need to remove years of old bottom paint.

Thanks,
Barry
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