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Author Topic:   Removing Bottom Paint (Montauk)
mbking1 posted 07-14-2002 11:35 PM ET (US)   Profile for mbking1   Send Email to mbking1  
I am considering removing bottom paint from my 1999 17-Montauk. It is now stored high and dry inside for fresh water river use. What is the best way of removing the paint so I can get back to orig gelcoat color? Looks like it has been painted twice. Seems to be scuffing off the bottom ok. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
skred posted 07-15-2002 10:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for skred  Send Email to skred     
Everyone here recommends Peel-Away. There's numerous posts about this product. I was at Twin Cities Marine, Two Rivers, WI this weekend, and they said they hadn't heard of it since it's not usual to bottom coat boats in WI. They did say, however, that if they take a Whaler in with bottom paint, they use a buffer with coarse rubbing compound, then fine compound to remove the paint. Takes longer, but leaves a clean polished hull.
Taylor posted 07-15-2002 02:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for Taylor  Send Email to Taylor     
I used Peel-Away because it was recommended here, but also because I had some left over from a bunch of paint stripping at my house. I also needed to just clear a small area for my keel guard.

Peel-Away is not nearly as neat nor clean a process as the label and ads would have you think. Its really pretty messy and it hurts if you get some on your skin.

After I finished with the PeelAway I still had some paint left, and I took of that with a scotch bright kitchen sponge and water, and it worked well.

If your bottom paint is actually starting to come off, I would (at this point) consider skred's suggestion of rubbing compound. Ablative bottom paint is, after all, designed to come off over time.

My boat's bottom was scuffed up with a pretty coarse sandpaper before it was painted, and it would take a lot of buffing to get rid of that. Because the bottom was already scuffed up I might consider something like an scotch bright type open pad and water with a random orbital sander to take off the bulk, and then work through some rubbing compounds.

Note - perhaps the worst job I ever had to do on a boat was to sand off the red bottom paint on a big cruiser. The dust was almost certainly toxic. Handling a big grinder overhead for hours made the job even worse than replacing the clogged macerator pump (the second worse job I ever had to do!)

Wworking on overhead paint removal is a realy drag, so we are talking about a lot of work here. Bottom paint is looking better and better to me.

jameso posted 07-15-2002 02:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for jameso  Send Email to jameso     
Try a little acetone, my bottom paint comes right off with a little of this stuff.
Learned this by accident.
Jim Armstrong
Jay A posted 07-15-2002 08:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jay A    
You may have to look a bit to find it but try Wonder Paint stripper. I worked on a project for the Navy. (Hush-hush) But what I can tell you is that we had to disassemble this "sensitive object" that was sealed in epoxy paint and the only thing that worked was Wonder. You brush it on and wait about 10 minutes then just wash it off! The paint would "wrinkle" and pull away from the surface. And the surface of this "object" consisted of different materials including fiberglass. We tried acetone in several areas and the fiberglass became chaulky! Wonder left ALL surfaces looking like new!
Abalonehunter posted 07-20-2002 11:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for Abalonehunter  Send Email to Abalonehunter     
What about the stripper "Star 10", I haven't tried it myself, but have a couple of friends who used it on wooden boat projects and were quite happy with the results. Anyone tried it? Url is at
pist2348 posted 07-23-2002 01:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for pist2348    
Would you guys recommend starting with some sandpaper and then to the coarse compound?

I have some of the 3M Heavy Duty, which I use for the superstructure in the spring, would that work?

jimh posted 07-23-2002 08:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The degree of difficulty in removing bottom paint can be affected by how it was applied.

Some boats have had their gelcoat abraded by rough sanding, then primed, then bottom painted. These boats will require plenty of sanding, etc., to get the bottom gelcoat back to a shine.

On my boat I found the underlying gelcoat was in nearly pristine condition. I could remove most of the bottom paint with mechanical means, using a scraper. However, I don't recommend this as it left too many little scratches that needed to be sanded out. Some of them were deeper than I thought.

The truth is that complete removal of bottom paint will be a big project.

The results described for the "Wonder Paint Stripper" sound good. If anyone tries this product please let us know the outcome.

Sammy posted 07-24-2002 11:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for Sammy  Send Email to Sammy     
Using several different search engines in an advanced search for the exact phrase "Wonder Paint Stripper" yeilded zero results.

Jay A - could you give us a little better lead on the stuff? Or do we find it on the same webpage as Sky Hooks?

I'm going through a bottom paint removal project on a '79 15' Sport and it's more fun than one guy should be allowed to have by himself. Just the first step in bringing this one back to life.

From reading as many posts as possible on this subject it seems the best thing to do is just go to work. If I missed a reference to a magic bullet, would someone please let me know.

Jay A posted 07-24-2002 07:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jay A    
Sammy, all I can remember is that it was purchased at Salem Paints in Salem,Ma about 7 or 8 years ago.I would recommend to ask at a local paint store and ask for a gel stripper that would "lift" or "wrinkle" the paint off the surface. The Wonder stripper was a gel type that was brushed on then washed off with water. We used a teflon "spatula" to remove the stubburn spots.
Sammy posted 07-24-2002 09:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sammy  Send Email to Sammy     
Jay A - appreciate the reply. I'm a contractor involved in new construction, renovation and resoration projects - and spent a little time working on wood and glass boats over the years. It's not a product that I've run across in this region (MN, WI) but it could have been a regional product offered elsewhere. I've talked to a few people at my supply houses locally (MPLS - St. Paul) and at least the ones I've talked to aren't familiar with it either. But in this business even better quality products do not always survive.

Getting to the question from mbking1 - I've been trying small areas using products like regular and extra strength Bix, another Bix product that claims to be for aircraft and marine applications and some 3M Safest Stripper(all products that I had available from other projects). The Bix products (all containing methylene chloride) will wrinkle the paint and need to be scraped off. The 3M product is more benign, has a longer cooking time and of course doesn't seem to work as well as the more caustic stuff. Haven't tried the Peel Away product so many here have mentioned/recommended but may give it a shot. Also have not tried an Interlux product called Interstrip 299E Paint Remover - which does not contain methylene chloride. Interlux recommends using Interstrip 399 Liquid Paint Remover to remove any residuals left after applying 299E. It's Interlux so it's pricy, but if anyone has used either it would be interesting to here about results.

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