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Author Topic:   Removing bottom paint from classic 16
Chesapeake posted 02-19-2001 06:33 PM ET (US)   Profile for Chesapeake   Send Email to Chesapeake  
Folks: My Nauset has about 15 coats of bottom paint on it and it is chipping off. Now that I have the engine off, I have thought about stripping completely or re-painting the bottom before the new Yamaha is mounted.

I would love to have the original white show, but with so much paint, I am not sure it wouldn't end up looking like a dog's breakfast. Your thoughts? Can it be successfully done?

What is the best method for removal? Have heard of people using chemical strippers. Have heard of others sandblasting with baking soda. Still others suggest good old power sanding. The latter makes me a bit nervous as I would hate to lose any mor gelcoat than necessary.

Thanks, in advance, for any thoughts you can share (or companies near Chicago / Milwaukee that might undertake such project.


maverick posted 02-19-2001 07:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for maverick  Send Email to maverick     
Hi, Bob - I understand that there is another way to remove - it is like sandblasting except they use small plastic shots or particles - supposedly, the plastic can be fired at car windows during a paint removal and NOT damage the glass at all. I haven't seen it first hand but you may want to check around with reputable paint and body shops about it. As for sanding, chemicals or other potentially harmful methods- I'd say emphatically NO for two reasons - I'd want to avoid ANY damage to the white gelcoat; and 2, the dust can be harmful as some of the older [anti-fouling] bottom paints contained LEAD. I wouldn't want to breathe that. As a lad, my dad owned a marina in Port Clinton, Ohio, and one of my jobs every year on several boats was to paint that stuff on hulls (wood boats, generally). I used Pettit (spelling?) brand X253 - it was named: Red Lead. Worked GREAT. Best, Mav
hardensheetmetal posted 02-19-2001 10:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for hardensheetmetal  Send Email to hardensheetmetal     
I used a combination of several of the options you mentioned when I stripped the bottom of my 22. First i hand scraped the loose stuff, then applied interlux fiberglass paint remover, then scraped again, then sanded. I was not happy enough with the outcome to consider not repainting. Any time you scrape the bottom (as you will have to with a normal paint remover) you are going to dig into the gel coat at some point. I just started work on an older 13 sport that has at least 5 coats of paint on the bottom. I plan on trying out the Peel-Away product and then possibly wet sanding.

Dan Harden

JimU posted 02-20-2001 12:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for JimU  Send Email to JimU     
Bob, I have used the bakind soda blasting (I may have been the first to do so.) It works fine if you are going to fair and paint. I used it on the textured interior because sanding would have removed the texture. One problem with blasting even with the mild soda medium is that it will reveal pinholes in the surface and you will have to fill them. I sanded the exterior or my boat with a double action sander (random orbit) starting with 60 grit and working down to 80 grit. West marine makes a marine paint stripper especially for fiberglass. It works well. As I indicated in another post, my son and I have another 16-7 project boat and it has bottom paint. I'll use the marine stripper, the sand with 60 grit then 80 grit, put on Interlux barrier coat as a primer, then follow with Interthane plus as a finish coat. (I don't relish the idea of stipping and sanding as it is hard work and the cost of the beer drunk during the process really increases the materials cost. ) Good Luck. JIM
Tom W Clark posted 02-20-2001 12:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Of all the methods previously described, paint stripper is probably the best. If you are trying to get to the original gel coat then it is probably the only way. I don't mean to suggest that stripper isn't messy, but sanding or blasting turns your bottom paint into tiny particulate matter which, given its toxicity, is very undesirable. With the stripper method you corral all the paint and goop, let it dry out into solids, and dispose of properly. (it is hazardous waste)

Here's my two experiences with the stuff:

I bought an '80 Montauk in 1986 from the original owner who had put bottom paint on her from the get go. There were several layers. The waterline kinda' got away from him at the bow. The paint was red. It had to go! I used a paint stripper made for bottom paint. (I don't remember the brand) It worked well in removing the paint but had the odd side effect of slightly "swelling" the gel coat. This isn't quite the right phrase, but you could tell where stripper had been appllied and where it hadn't by the fact that the gel coat was ever so slightly raised in the area where the stripper was applied. The gel coat wasn't altered in any other way in terms of its hardness or shine.
The problem I had with this boat was that the original owner did a thorough job of preparing the bottom for paint, i.e. he really roughed it up well with sand paper. Because of this I chose to repaint the bottom with white bottom paint which really looked pretty good. From a distance it did not appear to have bottom paint at all. When I repainted I corrected the waterline. I marked it in the water only one inch above actual waterline. (boat loaded and fueled). This left me with the area at the bow where the old paint had crept way up. I wet sanded up to 400 grit then rubbed it out with rubbing compound and it looked good as new.

My other experience was watching a fellow Whaler owner take to bottom paint off of his 18' Outrage. I his case, the bottom was only lightly sanded before paint was applied. As a result his bottom came out magnificently. When he got done rubbing it out, you could not tell there was ever bottom paint on her. So it can done!

A note on strippers: They are not all the same. In my contracting business here in Seattle I do a lot of old home restoration work. Most of the time we use heat guns to remove the bulk of the paint, but with hardware and detailed woodwork we use strippers. I don't think you need to necessarily use a stripper made for bottom paint. The brand I like to use most often is Jasco Premium Paint & Epoxy Remover (not to be confused with Jasco Paint Remover) It is nonflammable, water rinsible and doesn't smell to bad. It is caustic and will burn your skin if it comes in contact with it. I you get some on your skin, go rinse it off quick or you will feel it in less than a minute, (I know). The most prudent thing to do would be to buy several different products and do some trial patches on the bottom to see what works best.

JimU posted 02-22-2001 02:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for JimU  Send Email to JimU     
The key to using stripper is that it must one that is "mec" free so that it does not harm the gelcoat and fiberglass. See West Marine. They handle the product and it works in my experience. JIM
JimU posted 02-22-2001 02:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for JimU  Send Email to JimU     
Dan, what is Peel-Away? Do you use it like any other stripper? Wherw do you get it? JIM
hardensheetmetal posted 02-22-2001 03:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for hardensheetmetal  Send Email to hardensheetmetal     
Peel-away is a stripper that you lay on thick and then coat with some type of paper(included with the kit I believe). This paper confines the stripper to the area you are working on. You leave it 2-24 hours then peel the paper off and the paint comes with it. Its on page 380 of Wests 2001 master catolog. (wests also markets their own version for about $20/gal less)


Soho posted 02-24-2001 07:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for Soho  Send Email to Soho     
I did the same job ( sort of ) on my 69 Nauset back in 93. I used "Dad's" paint remover I think at the time - my favorite for removing paint - although you have to exercise great care as it will eat the gel if you leave it on too long. If you are careful and pay attention it is no problem, I use water to rinse it and that stops it's action dead cold. My bottom was so crazed and cracked ( sounds bad -ouch ) that I ground the gel off and recoated the bottom with West system epoxy and Interlux barrier coatings. The Interlux leaves a grey finish, but as my boat is in the water almost all year and always has bottom paint on, this was not an issue for me.



Soho posted 02-24-2001 07:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for Soho  Send Email to Soho     
Addendum - for what it is worth, I have heard that the "peel away" products are quite good for bottom paint and are not damaging to the gel. I am going to try it next time I take my bottom paint off.



MikeC posted 02-24-2001 09:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for MikeC  Send Email to MikeC     
I am also planning on using the Peel Away this spring.I read an article that said the Peel Away brand works much better than the West Marine brand.
jimh posted 02-26-2001 12:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Removing bottom paint is on my list of projects for the coming season, so I would very much like to hear of people's results using the West Marine Bottom Paint Remover product and the Peel-Away product.

This seems like a popular modification as many older boats have multiple layers of bottom paint on them.


DIVE 1 posted 02-26-2001 09:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for DIVE 1    
We have used Peel-Away on several boats and it works great. Apply the chemical, lay on the paper, and go fishing the rest of the day. Peel off the paper and paint the next morning. Wash the bottom of the hull with a good pressure washer. We have found that we can get away with one application and remove 90% of the paint. Try to keep the boat in a cool area out of the sun. Be advised - do not use Peel-Away on any plywood parts or you will have more parts. It seems to soften the glue.
lhg posted 03-01-2001 05:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I recently watched a Dealership preparing a new Whaler for bottom paint. I thought this was worth observing, as it indicated what you will find after the paint is removed with bottom paint strippers mentioned above.

The fellow was using a rotary sander (worst possible way to damage gelcoat) to rough up the gelcoat for adhesion of the paint. Assuming your hull was done in a similar fashion using the 400 grit, or worse, wet sanding will necessary to restore the original gelcoat finish. I would first see if #600 cuts the scratches, if not, you will have go lower as necessary. Hopefully, the shop didn't use #60! Most guidelines say to stop sanding after #600, and switch to rubbing compound, etc. But I have found in repairing gelcoat that continuing sanding using #1000, then #1500 makes the rubbing less work, and gives a factory gloss finish. After the rubbing and polishing compound steps, use 3M Finesse-it II finishing compound (highly recommended by Boston Whaler), then pure boat wax. The 3M product is necessary to restore factory quality gelcoat gloss.

Chesapeake posted 03-02-2001 01:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chesapeake  Send Email to Chesapeake     
Thanks LHG. Good info on the finish. I am still a bit aprehensive about tackling this project, but I will definitely use your info for compounding, finessing and polishing the light blue interior gel coat of the boat.

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