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McSwiggin 09-15-2010 02:24 PM

Stripping the bottom paint
SO I know I can sand it .... not great to breath, need special gear and at 30 feet its a bear.

I know I can hire a company ..... $$$$$$'

I had a small 20 footer that I used 5F5 paint stripper and after I scraped it off I washed it down. Everyone told me not to do it. That was twelve years ago and that boat is still floating.

Whats everyone here think ?

Really appreciate it.


sailingdog 09-15-2010 03:52 PM

You can use a fiberglass safe stripper, like Soystrip.

McSwiggin 09-16-2010 06:13 AM

Thanks Dog,

I did try a product this spring on a small area and it did O.K. but was going to take several coats to get down to the gelcoat. I didn't have the time as Summer was calling. It took off a thin layer.

Not sure it was soystrip.


tommays 09-16-2010 06:44 AM

For the most part a rigid razorblade holder from and auto parts store will make pretty fast work of bottom paint it is a very easy clean up

A 100 pack of blades is less than 10 dollars as they go dull pretty fast BUT as you refine your style it gets pretty easy to remove a lot of old paint

jfurlong 02-06-2011 04:17 PM

I don't recall the date or issue number, but Practical Sailor has reviewed chemical strippers. You may wish to check their site.

jtsails 10-06-2011 01:56 PM

Practical Sailor did the latest update on bottom paint stripping in the current (October) issue.

smurphny 10-06-2011 02:19 PM

The last time I stripped the bottom, used an orbital d.a. sander with a big shop vac attached. Getting a large shop vac attached and then dragging around a big vacuum hose is a PITA but a powerful vacuum really keeps the dust contained as long as you have the right disks with the holes lined up. An open coat 80 grit or so takes the paint off very, very quickly. With my old boat, I'm not concerned about maintaining a glassy gel coat so a rough grit is not an issue. Don't know if this would work with a fine grit to maintain a slick gelcoat but I suspect fine 220 or so disks would clog very quickly. In that case, a chemical remover would probably be the way to go. Will have to give one of those razor scrapers a try as mentioned above by tommays.

petefrederick 11-21-2011 04:41 PM

The last and only time I stripped the bottom was also with an orbital sander. I bought a really good face mask that enclosed my whole face, eyes included and it worked really well. A belt sander works well as well, and is not as dusty. I used 100 grit.

CaptainForce 11-21-2011 04:48 PM

I'd rather leave a little paint than take anything off the barrier coat or gel coat. I've known some agressive grinders that made some expensive mistakes.

tommays 11-21-2011 05:39 PM

On a boat that had more things bad than i could count

Somehow under about 15 coats of bottom paint was PERFECT blister free barrier coat which i did NOT want to mess up

And i was not paying the soda-blast guy 2K :)

While it was painful to use a 3" carbide scraper it only took about 24 hours to reach intact barrier coat on a 29' hull without much dust at all

After a fast scuff and clean and more barrier coat the bottom paint was once again happy

After a full season of soaking the bottom paint is still happy

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