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Old 05-06-2019, 19:33   #1
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Suggestions on Paint Stripper for Aluminum Mast

Hi,

The paint on my aluminum mast is flaking off - mostly under improperly bedded stainless steel hardware, but also under other hardware, and in general. I figured once I had all the hardware stripped off anyway, I should give serious thought to repainting it all. As far as I can tell, the metal wasn't properly prepared before the paint went on - I haven't found any zinc chromate looking stuff under the paint. There appears to be a layer of grey stuff under the off white paint, but that's it. Same is true of the boom.

Of course, though a good deal of the paint is coming off, and I have little hope that the rest won't consistently follow suit, some of it is on there tenaciously enough that I have to put work into getting it all off. I understand trying to simply (re)paint the mast without po is a pointless half measure.

So my question is, how to get the paint off? I tried some random hardware store stripper that said safe for metal and removes epoxies and polyurethanes, among other things. That was about as effective as smearing mayonnaise over the paint. I didn't have much hope it would work. I'm finding many things online in the 80-100 price range, twice as much as a gallon of this stripper, but don't want to lose the time (not to mention money) of ordering something else ineffectual.

I'm not sure what kind of paint it is - from my limited experience, I'd guess it's polyurethane. It's a pain to sand off - and though I suppose they're pretty thick, it kind of makes me nervous to be removing aluminum from a 1/5" thick spar. Besides, I have very little hope of sanding the paint off in the little nooks and crannies in the mast and boom tracks, masthead, etc. I'd really like to strip the stuff chemically if at all possible.

Has anyone any suggestions for stripping the stuff off? I know methylene chloride is potentially unsafe and serious stuff. But would it even remove this paint? If so, I'd be willing to give it a try, if it's safe for the aluminum - at least there isn't any gelcoat to worry about. But is there something better? Something safer, or more effective? Is methylene chloride even going to do the job?

Fingers crossed there's a good solution to this problem. Thanks for your thoughts!
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Old 05-06-2019, 19:44   #2
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Re: Suggestions on Paint Stripper for Aluminum Mast

Sandblast.
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Old 05-06-2019, 19:46   #3
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Re: Suggestions on Paint Stripper for Aluminum Mast

There's quite a few threads on this very subject: did you have a look at them?


Maybe this is useful?


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Old 06-06-2019, 07:47   #4
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Re: Suggestions on Paint Stripper for Aluminum Mast

> There's quite a few threads on this very subject: did you have a look at them?

I did find some but I didn't find any that could recommend a stripper.

> Maybe this is useful?

I wish I was stripping _that_ paint. Looks like it would come right off.
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Old 06-06-2019, 14:41   #5
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Re: Suggestions on Paint Stripper for Aluminum Mast

Please check out SODA BLASTING , Cheaper and cleaner than stripper , Leaves a great finish ready for etch primer and paint ,,,,,,
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Old 07-06-2019, 07:36   #6
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Re: Suggestions on Paint Stripper for Aluminum Mast

I didn't use chemicals to strip my mast, I used an angle grinder with ever finer flap discs. It leaves a clean alloy with swirls. I then put a clear finish designed for ally, which has been on for about 8 years with no flaking. It is not as glossy as before but still glistens. Good luck, Jim
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Old 07-06-2019, 17:24   #7
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Re: Suggestions on Paint Stripper for Aluminum Mast

> Sandblast.

> please check out SODA BLASTING , Cheaper and cleaner than stripper , Leaves a great finish ready for etch primer and paint

I love these ideas. But are either of these something that can be done in remote locations? I've got the mast mostly stripped (just the compression posts and tangs left) and sitting in somewhat remote bayfield, wisconsin. Is sandblasting or sodablasting something that can be done right in the boatyard? Or do I have to ship the mast somewhere - and back - for that to be done?

> I didn't use chemicals to strip my mast, I used an angle grinder with ever finer flap discs. It leaves a clean alloy with swirls.

Back up plan. It just seems crazy time intensive. On the boom I'm experimenting with a random orbit sander and 100 grit or so sandpaper - does a decent job. I hate to see the aluminum disappearing but after all it's only a tiny bit.
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Old 10-06-2019, 15:45   #8
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Re: Suggestions on Paint Stripper for Aluminum Mast

aircraft stripper. Wear gloves. good ones. fresh air will be pretty nice too.
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