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Old 24-05-2010, 00:11   #1
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Antifoul Removal - Using Stripper

Has anyone had experience with removing a build-up of antifoul by using a stripper? The yard I'm in doesn't allow dry-sanding (and nor should it) and I don't want to lift the mast off to allow it into a wet-blasting bay.

I want to remove all the antifoul to allow sanding back to glass to apply an epoxy anti-osmosis treatment.

Any advice or experiences welcome.


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Old 24-05-2010, 00:58   #2
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I've done this to a couple of hulls - not much fun - took me the best part of a week to get back to gelcoat last time. (42ft boat).

Putting on the epoxy is worth doing though

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Old 24-05-2010, 04:46   #3
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Just did this with my boat. Bought it with 25 years of buildup, chipped paint and an overall lumpy bottom. Looked into every option I could and hired a pro to strip it down. He used a tool designed for the job which is essentially a large, electric plane.

It has a small, spinning cylinder with blades around the edge, very hard steel and very sharp. The depth of the cut is adjustable and a vacuum hose attaches to the head to suck up the debris.

Took about 4-5 hours to shave the bottom of a 42' sailboat. The finished bottom was quite smooth, not at all like a blasted or sanded bottom.

I have found these tools for sale on the net. I considered buying one to do it myself and then selling the tool to another DIY owner when done but had plenty of other projects to keep me busy.
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Old 24-05-2010, 07:51   #4
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Had this done last year at a yard by a so called professional crew. They dry sanded, used stripper and everything short of C4. The bottom was completely curtained and sealed. The workers wore special masks and suits. It took them 4 weeks with daily vacuuming of about 1 hour. The end result was nice but the bill wasn't. 44 foot boat with almost 30 years of build up.
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Old 24-05-2010, 16:10   #5
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A decade ago I stripped the bottom of Insatiable I (29' LWL) using a 1 1/4 inch carbide scraper. The 17 years worth of hard bottom paints took about 50 hours of disagreeable hard labor to remove. Not fun, but it did work and didn't cost much.


Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Port Cygnet again, freezing our bums off.
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Old 24-05-2010, 21:25   #6
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Thanks for the replies. I should have been more specific. I was actually talking about the chemical strippers which supposedly soften the antifoul allowing it to be scraped off. Has anyone out there used any of the products available?
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Old 25-05-2010, 01:22   #7
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I have used a caustic soda based stripper on anti-foul with good results - I don't recall the name but as it was a locally manufactured one, the name wouldn't be relevant anyway.
All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangereous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. T.E. Lawrence
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Old 25-05-2010, 09:09   #8
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It’s been a while but I used one of the safer strippers (peel away) about 20 years ago to strip a 30 foot islander that had approximately 15 years of build up on it. The safe stripper worked well for about 80% then hit what I always assumed was hard epoxy paint where it stopped working. We followed the directions and used the special paper over the stripper etc. The layers it removed game off easily and mostly attached to the paper using a standard paint scrapper. Clean up was relatively easy. At this point found some blisters so went into the whole tenting grinding thing to get down to glass. I did try in a couple of places the “regular” strippers you get in the hardware store to get the hard paint off, went right through the hard layer but also right through the gel coat (may have been my lack of skill but I would not recommend the normal caustic strippers for a DYI like myself).
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Old 25-05-2010, 09:52   #9
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I'd go with a carbide scraper. If the paint is mostly loose and chipping, a special nozzle on a pressure washer will get rid of most of it. Just did this on my boat last night after a yard worker saw me slowly scrapping away. I think he felt bad for me so he offered the pressure washer with the special attachment.
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Old 25-05-2010, 10:00   #10

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Its a painfully slow messy toxic job, at least from my experience, apply about a four sq ft area, then scrape. Long industrial rubber gloves and long sleeves didn't prevent some burns on arms from the scraping process. I've heard of green not as toxic strippers, but haven't used them. I did a portion of my boat stripping, then dry sanded the rest on the next bottom job. Ill be purchasing a gelplane next time as I'll be stripping all the way to roving and doing an epoxy layup to finally end blistering problems
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Old 25-05-2010, 11:41   #11
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Just had my boat(42ft Sail) blasted with recycled glass, very nice took it down to the gelcoat.
Cost about 2k worth every penny.
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Old 25-05-2010, 14:53   #12
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Three years ago, I used a chemical stripper (caustic soda based) to soften 3 layers of hard antifoul before hand scraping. I took care to rinse the paint thoroughly with high pressure water before scraping, then wet sanding by hand, and finishing with power dry sanding in preparation for anti-osmosis epoxy.

If I remember well, it took 5 or 6 days scraping and sanding for 27 feet waterline.

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Old 09-06-2010, 21:44   #13
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franmar soystrip

This is a little bit old, but I thought I'd add my .02.

I am in the midst of stripping my bottom down right now, I'm using Franmar Soystrip.

It is supposedly the safest stripper on the market, made entirely (I think) from soy beans. No long winded safety warnings on the back, though it does say that its' known to cause reproductive problems in California. Luckily, I am using it in Texas so am not worried.

Application is easy as could be, I'm just pouring it into a jar and slopping it on with a paint brush- I have been using the same jar and brush for quite a while now, the stuff does not evaporate. It has the consistency of honey and generally seems very inert, but does a pretty good job on paint removal. Probably the best thing it has going for it is that you don't feel the need to wear a has-mat suit when you use the stuff, like others I have read about. It doesn't have an offensive or dangerous smell to it- seems very safe. It is supposedly safe on gelcoat, I have not had any damage-though I have been very prudent in washing the areas well after use. It does have a warning on the bottle, stating that damage will occur if the product is left on for more than 18 hours. A little common sense will leave you and your gelcoat safe.

I tried it on some topsides where sanding would have to be done by hand, and it removed old one-part topside paint handidly. It is not quite as effective on anti-fouling, but that could be because I was using it more liberally on the small topside areas.
I am NOT enjoying boat ownership during this whole bottom stripping process/as the prep process for painting drags on and ON. But, soystrip may have made the whole process a little less terrible. Maybe. Also, it should be noted that regardless of what the franmar website says (not sure if it makes this claim), you will- or at least I am having to, do quite a bit of work post-stripper for a clean bottom. I did not have excessive build up, and the stripper still leaves a bit to be sanded. It is considerably less than if the stripper had never been used-but leaves some, nonetheless.

It is not really a consideration here in TX right now, but low temperatures are said to decrease the effectiveness of this stripper, and pretty much all of them from what I have read.

At first, I ordered a quart ($27 or something) and liked it enough to buy a gallon (77.00?)

I'm sure that there are better write ups on the stuff on this forum.

Google franmar soy strip and it'll pop up. I have no affiliation with this stuff.
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Old 10-06-2010, 02:20   #14
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Used the Inernational Paints antifoul stripper (can't remeber its name)to do a 22 foot hull, probably 3 or 4 layers of hard antifoul. Large tub cost about $150 and off to work I went. In mild temperatures, UK May time, I found the gloop dried before really taking effect and once dried in wrinkles was as hard as the original antifoul paint. Some one later said to use cling film to stop it drying out to quickly.

It took 3 days of lying upside down painting the stuff on then scraping off. Came away in lumps and made a dreadful mess on my drive way for the rest of the year. It disolved my t shirt and jeans, stuck in my hair and was generally a very unpleasant task.

If I was going to do it again, I would either pay someone to slurry blast it, which is popular in the UK, or dry scrape it with one of those scraper things like this. It won't be quick but a least its shavings rather than dust you have to deal with.

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Old 18-06-2010, 03:43   #15
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Well I tried the caustic-based anti-foul stripper. I applied it, covered it with food wrap and left it for 24 - 48 hours. It worked very well on the soft anti-foul coats, as well as penetrating my disposable overalls, getting into my long-length gloves and removing a considerable amount of skin. However, the hard anti-foul coats proved too tough, completely withstanding any attack.

So I resorted to using a dichloromethane-based stripper. After application to approximately half a square metre you wait for 2 or 3 minutes and scrape it off with a tungsten-carbide scraper. It has taken several coats to get it down to the gelcoat. I'm not too concerned about gelcoat damage as there is some osmotic blistering so my intent is to expose bare glass and give it a build-up of epoxy before anti-fouling again.

Thanks for all the replies, experiences and advice.

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