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Old 21-12-2008, 15:34   #1
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Best Varnish removal method?

I am trying to remove all the old and not so old varnish from my interior trim.

So far I have been sanding, and experimenting with some common strippers found at hardware stores and I'm not real happy with the results.

Any comments or thoughts on what might be the best product or method.

Ideally I am looking for something I can wipe on, wait 10 minutes then the stripper and old varnish evaporates. That would be nice.
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Old 21-12-2008, 15:52   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilentOption View Post
...Ideally I am looking for something I can wipe on, wait 10 minutes then the stripper and old varnish evaporates. That would be nice.
HaHaHaHaHa! That would be nice, indeed, Bill. Don't we all wish!

My preferred method is an electric heat gun and a Bahco (Sandvic) scraper. They have carbide blades of different sizes and shapes. You can get into a rhythm with the gun and the scraper that lets you cover a lot of territory fairly quickly. Instant gratification!
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Old 21-12-2008, 16:08   #3
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I just want to apologize in advance for the two comments I'm about to make:

Quote:
Originally Posted by SilentOption View Post
So far I have been sanding, and experimenting with some common strippers found at hardware stores and I'm not real happy with the results.
I know just what you mean! One of them gave me a case of the clap.

Quote:
Any comments or thoughts on what might be the best product or method.
Have you tried a belt sander with 60 grit paper or an angle grinder?

Ok, thanks and sorry about that.
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Old 21-12-2008, 16:58   #4
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Quote:
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I just want to apologize in advance for the two comments I'm about to make:


I know just what you mean! One of them gave me a case of the clap.


Have you tried a belt sander with 60 grit paper or an angle grinder?

Ok, thanks and sorry about that.
OK Sometimes I read posts here and I think to myself am the only guy I know with a sense of humor!

Your message came right when I needed a laugh the most.

Thanks.

I may have the energy to return to the boat tomorrow and continue stripping, heating, scraping and sanding. And, Just to keep it fun I'll add drinking.

Thanks Maren and Hud
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Old 21-12-2008, 18:21   #5
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Heat gun, triangular scrapers, then sand paper at the end. Putty knives are OK too for flat work but the scrapers with a straight handle saves on the wrist and you don't burn you hand as often. Use leather gloves. Just sanding is too slow. Heat guns just take a little practice. It took me about 80 hours to do our boat not counting time I wasn't actually doing it. It takes another 40 hours running around and complaining how much it hurts being in awkward positions.

For sanding I really didn't use much 60 grit but a lot of 100 and not much fine stuff after 150. Scrapers are faster. Belt anders are OK for the big open flat work but no one has that much without a lot of detail work left over. If you have scroll work add a lot more time and pray a lot. I wouldn't use chemicals except for paint.
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Old 22-12-2008, 02:52   #6
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Agree with the bahco & sandvik scraper system. I am 75% through the same thing. Just practice on some out of the way surfaces first as you get to know how to keep the scraper flat on the surface. You may make a few gouges in the first hour or two. After a day it is easy and as someone else said, very satisfying. Try not to push down with your thumb too hard as you end up with a sore thumb tendon as I have!
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Old 22-12-2008, 07:07   #7
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A flexible putty knife works for flat surfaces without a taking wood with it. The really stiff putty knives don't work as well. The straight long handled molding scrapers keep the wrist straight and away from the heat gun. You use them pulling not pushing forward. It's easier to add the right pressure and you will not be taking any wood with it. The cap rail on the CSY 44 has a lot of area to it. I did our prior CSY 33 and it was no small task itself. If you need to get into corners or curved surfaces the molding scrapers come in different shapes too.
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Old 22-12-2008, 07:19   #8
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i don't understand why more people don't try chemical strippers. you have much less of a chance of gouging the wood and it works pretty fast.
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Old 22-12-2008, 09:13   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gonesail View Post
i don't understand why more people don't try chemical strippers. you have much less of a chance of gouging the wood and it works pretty fast.
I am all for chemicals as the boat is going through a complete refurb. I am not worried about spillage or drips hurting any other finish.
My question is what chemical?
Those that I have tried don't seem too efficient.
I have also read a little about chemical strippers and they seem to range between extremely deadly to just plain poison.
If you know of a good stripper give me a name.


Thanks
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Old 22-12-2008, 11:04   #10
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I used Jasco paint stripper to remove all my old interior varnish. I tried all the "environmentally sound" strippers. They did not work very well at all or took hours to take effect. Jasco stripper is some nasty stuff but the bottom line is that it works.

I wiped it up with rags and scrapers between coats. I wiped it down with a cotton rag with acetone between coats and after the last coat. This got up the last of the residue.

Get yourself one of those big 30 inch box fans fan for ventilation and an organic vapor respirator if you want to preserve your brain cells. Those big thick black chemical gloves and goggles are also a necessity. Cover up the rest of your skin as well. Jasco can leave chemical burns. Believe me, you will start feeling it in about 30 seconds if you get it on your skin. Have some water readily available nearby in case you do get some on your skin or in your eyes.
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Old 22-12-2008, 12:56   #11
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I seem to have good luck with the natural system. You know, 8 coats varnish nicely laid on. Add 6mo sun. Scrape the remaining varnish from any spots it's still adhered to. Repeat every six months(or less) as required.............m
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Old 22-12-2008, 13:56   #12
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the best system I've used is really only suitable for horizontal surfaces, you wet a rag with acetone put a plastic bag over it, advoids evaporation, and an even layer of books. Wait 10 min and scrape gently, the varnish bubbles up. No mess, no drips and I really don't want to hear about acetones ability to be absorbed by the system. For whatever it's worth the medical community is backing off acetone absorbtion as ketones are naturally occurring in the body. Good luck George
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Old 22-12-2008, 15:02   #13
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Years ago I worked for a man who collected horse drawn carriages and had them restored to perfection. Yes he was filthy rich. The old English cabinet maker that did the restoration work had me use pieces of broken plate glass to remove the ancient varnish. Some of it had been on for 100 years or more. It was a lot of scraping but it worked well. Sometimes the old ways are the best ways. Acetone will defat exposed skin in a heart beat.
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Old 22-12-2008, 15:08   #14
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I am going to try the acetone I'll let you all know how it goes.
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Old 22-12-2008, 15:09   #15
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I have an extra heat gun if you want to practice, on my boat of course.
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