Removing 'gummy' varnish - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 18 Old 11-10-2010 Thread Starter
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Removing 'gummy' varnish

It looks like the interior of our boat has been painted with some kind of oil/varnish that, even after 30 years or so doesn't QUITE set hard.. It LOOKS hard enough and isn't tacky, but when you try to sand it it just mounds up on the wood into a waxy pile and instantly clogs any sandpaper that touches it!!

I've tried turps, metho, kero(?) and acetone and none of these seem to dissolve the stuff, whatever it is.

Any ideas how to get rid of it??

Thanks,
Cameron

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post #2 of 18 Old 11-10-2010
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Cameron,

Sounds like an oil finish that has already cured -- solvents aren't gonna touch it. A scraper (with or without a heat gun, but probably without) may be your best alternative.
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post #3 of 18 Old 11-10-2010 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by PorFin View Post
Cameron,

Sounds like an oil finish that has already cured -- solvents aren't gonna touch it. A scraper (with or without a heat gun, but probably without) may be your best alternative.
Thanks, PF - I think you are right on all counts but was hoping you weren't going to say that. This muck sticks to everything - scrapers included!!

To date, the only way I've been able to get rid of it was to sand/scrape as much as I can into a pile on the timber and then use used sandpaper of any grit to wipe it off (it clogs the pores real good!) into the bin.

There's no easier (and less expensive) way?!?

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post #4 of 18 Old 11-10-2010
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I've found the combination of a heat gun and a sharp scraper works really well (of course just be careful not to leave it one spot so long it burns the underlying wood). The heat gun may "bake" the muck a bit so it doesn't stick so much. It depends on exactly what the muck consists of - you'd just have to try it and see.
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post #5 of 18 Old 11-10-2010 Thread Starter
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Thanks, MC1 - I'll give that a try.

It's kind-of waxy... dry to the touch but sticks like old chewing gum. I suspect it was a Linseed/Tung Oil based-finish at some point in history - but only because I can't think of anything else it might be.

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post #6 of 18 Old 11-10-2010
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inside finish

So, I am going to give away a "Pro" secret. Retired painting contractor and sailor..Cape Dory 22.
Go to a Sherwin Williams store and get a couple of CARBIDE scrapers.....
Nothing else comes close. Do not let 'em talk you into anything else.
CARBIDE Practice before doing the real work.
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post #7 of 18 Old 11-10-2010
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Oh, it sounds like the bozo put on a "tung" oil ar teak oil.
They never truly cure...not meant to.
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post #8 of 18 Old 11-10-2010
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I don't want to throw gasoline on the fire but have you tried petrol as a solvent? Good ventilation is obviously required.
There is also something over here we call 'Lacquer Thinner' which will take your skin off; is that the meth you referred to?
That said, I think PorFin is correct about a cured oil surface, tung, linseed or otherwise.

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post #9 of 18 Old 11-10-2010
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I feel your pain. I had to do a toe rail that had the same kind of stuff. The only way was sharp scraper, heat gun and a ton of sand paper. I am sure glad I was paid by the hour and the client bought all the sand paper.
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Originally Posted by CalebD View Post
I don't want to throw gasoline on the fire but have you tried petrol as a solvent? Good ventilation is obviously required.
There is also something over here we call 'Lacquer Thinner' which will take your skin off; is that the meth you referred to?
Hi Caleb, nope I haven't tried petrol.. it sounds dangerous and I know it leaves an oily residue that might be worse... I'll think about it. I've also heard that stainless wool might be a less expensive means of picking the stuff off than using sandpaper.

Lacquer Thinner.. Hmm... You mean this stuff?? Nope.. didn't think of that! "Removes chewing gum, some inks, waxes, PVC adhesives and other plastics".. Sounds pretty good!!

I'll see if I can get some. Thanks.

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