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Old 26-01-2012, 20:51   #1
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Paint for Oil Soaked Wood

One of the legacies from the PO was a major oil spill in the bilge which was left to sit for months and soaked into the plywood supports under the sole. In addition to unsightly the old oil is pretty stinky so I would like to paint the wood. But the directions on every can of paint I have looked at say the surface must be clean and, among other things, oil free.

Well, that's not possible since the oil is soaked deeply into the plywood. So, any suggestions on what paint, primer, cleaner or technique I can use that will actually stick, look better and seal in some of the smell?

Thanks
Skip
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Old 26-01-2012, 21:30   #2
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Re: Paint for oil soaked wood

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
One of the legacies from the PO was a major oil spill in the bilge which was left to sit for months and soaked into the plywood supports under the sole. In addition to unsightly the old oil is pretty stinky so I would like to paint the wood. But the directions on every can of paint I have looked at say the surface must be clean and, among other things, oil free.

Well, that's not possible since the oil is soaked deeply into the plywood. So, any suggestions on what paint, primer, cleaner or technique I can use that will actually stick, look better and seal in some of the smell?

Thanks
Skip
Hate to tell you, but if you want to get rid of the oil, you have to replace the plywood... there is no other choice. Horrible job, I know, but no choice.
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Old 26-01-2012, 22:35   #3
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Re: Paint for oil soaked wood

Go here > Diesel Soaked Plywood - Can I Scrub and Paint ?

Same problem, different oil. Good suggestions.
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Old 27-01-2012, 01:09   #4
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Re: Paint for oil soaked wood

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Go here > Diesel Soaked Plywood - Can I Scrub and Paint ?

Same problem, different oil. Good suggestions.
As well as the ideas on the above link, you could consider the following IF you have reasonable access.

Aggressively sand back the contaminated plywood surface (30 or 40 grit), measure and fabicate new thin (say1/8") plywood pieces to cover existing plywood, epoxy glue and screw (countersunk) new pieces to the old, fill / fair screw head holes, enscapulate with epoxy and paint as usual.

A lot of work but will result in a good finish.
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Old 27-01-2012, 01:24   #5
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Re: Paint for oil soaked wood

I don't think that the epoxy would stick to the oil impregnated wood, no matter how rough the sanding. Any oil will retard oil based paints drying time, perhaps to never. That's why I clean as much oil as possible, give it a sanding, tape off and paint with two coats of RustLock. This penetrates well, dries quickly, and can be overcoated with regular oil based paints the next day. Don't let it go more than 24 hours without topcoating, or the next coat won't adhere.

RustLock is very thin, and dries on contact on your skin. Wear gloves, use a chip brush that you can toss when you're done. Tape off anyplace you don't want to paint, it's so light bodied it's very hard to cut in free hand.

The Port Townsend Shipwrights co-op uses gallons of it as a new wood primer, where they would have used red lead in times past. I use it on moist wood and where I've fought bleeding fastenings. Of course, it also works as a primer on steel. I use it in the engine room as an undercoat in places where oil-based paint took weeks to dry.
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Old 27-01-2012, 01:26   #6
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Re: Paint for oil soaked wood

All the above assumes that your plywood still has it's structural integrity, if it's coming apart, I don't think that any adhesive will stick enough to glue if back together. Better in that case to replace the contaminated areas.

Good luck!
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Old 27-01-2012, 09:23   #7
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Re: Paint for oil soaked wood

Thanks all for the replies and suggestions. A few additional details.

1. Structural integrity of the plywood is not compromised so don't have to worry about that.

2. Replacing it would be a HUGE pain, involving removal of the cabin sole which would involve removal of a lot of the interior so that is NOT going to happen. Rather sell the boat and buy another.

3. Access is limited to one side only of the two sections involved and even that is not what you would call reasonable so aggressive sanding or sheathing with another piece of plywood also not an option.

All things considered the Rustlock solution sounds like my best option. If it works as advertised, even if it's not perfect, I will be very happy with the improvement.

Again thanks. Once more Cruisers Forum comes through.
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Old 27-01-2012, 10:52   #8
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Re: Paint for oil soaked wood

Another option is to add a base board to cover the stain once it's treated.

I have some water staining (bilge overflow) in the base of the main bulkhead right at the passage way. Since it gets kicked a lot as people walk thru I put in a couple SS kick plates which served a double purpose.
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Old 27-01-2012, 17:32   #9
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Re: Paint for Oil Soaked Wood

I offer once again a solution that will take time, but should be effective in most situations. However
You may have one that is beyond hope.
Create a barrier a couple inches from the wood. Fill with kitty litter and let stand a few days. Change the litter. Repeat for a while, until the kitty litter does not feel or smell oily. The clay in the kitty litter sucks in oil, gas and petroleum products.

But, it takes time. The time depends on the temperature and the viscosity and how much oil there is.
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Old 27-01-2012, 18:16   #10
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Re: Paint for Oil Soaked Wood

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Originally Posted by Me-and-Boo View Post
I offer once again a solution that will take time, but should be effective in most situations. However
You may have one that is beyond hope.
Create a barrier a couple inches from the wood. Fill with kitty litter and let stand a few days. Change the litter. Repeat for a while, until the kitty litter does not feel or smell oily. The clay in the kitty litter sucks in oil, gas and petroleum products.

But, it takes time. The time depends on the temperature and the viscosity and how much oil there is.
But do you think k litter would suck oil absorbed deeply in the wood? This has been there for 3-4 years.

Moot point anyway as in this case I just don't have enough access to make the box to hold the litter but will file the idea away for future use.
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