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Old 15-11-2018, 08:56   #1
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Varnish ... in the cockpit.

Last season I was unfortunate to drop a small can of varnish in my cockpit.
I cleaned up the mess pretty rapidly using acetone and cleaners but there is some residual staining which has seeped into the gelcoat, seat back, runnels and surrounds.

I have tried everything to get these out- will post some photos later.
Polishing them out ( gently)
Scotch brites and Vim
Polishing ( gel coat ) paste
Various cleaning products
Muriatic Acid .

Nothing works.

Not willing to sand them out!

Any ideas please?

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Old 16-11-2018, 02:40   #2
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Location: Australia
Boat: building Roberts Mauritius 43ft
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Re: Varnish ... in the cockpit.


There's quite a few suggestions to removes stains on gelcoat. Probably the nearest one to your clumsy effort is here:

Removing oil impregnation from gelcoat?

But there are a lot of other suggestions including some proprietary products.

Remove oil stains from Gelcoat - Gear Anarchy - Sailing Anarchy Forums Sailing Gear Anarchy
Dec 2, 2008 - 17 posts - ‎16 authors
Ive got black oil stains on the transom from the 2-stroke outboard. Does anyone know how to remove the stains from Gelcoat? Andy.

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Old 16-11-2018, 08:49   #3
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Re: Varnish ... in the cockpit.

Thank you Clive.
I will check that out later on over the weekend.
I tried a proprietary product called something like ' Oil Off' (?) was I think orange coloured and smelt of orange oil.... but to no effect.

I also tried another proprietary stain remover.
Will name it next post.

Thanks again.
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Old 03-12-2018, 09:16   #4
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Re: Varnish ... in the cockpit.

Clean up successfully underway.
On the advice of my local chandlery I bought this product for $32.
Captain Phab Marine Strip-It.
Claims to get rid of paint. varnish, oil stains from gelcoat, fibreglass, enamels etc. without damaging.

I had long standing varnish stains on the fibreglass and gelcoat in my cockpit; I dropped a can of varnish it went everywhere. One corner I nicknamed ' Calamity Corner''.

This product if used correctly seems to be ideal for all of the uses it claims.
The caveat is to use it correctly. It's the usual paint stripping gel texture.
Apply with a brush working only one direction and leaving a thick coating.
Product has its' own built in 'evaporation' aid so application process will aid that.

Do not scrub. Have a plastic scraper, a clean dry oil free cloth, some water,(a light sanding and/or scrubbing pad, some dishwasher soap, light grade wet and dry paper and some paper tape to tape off, the as the Maximum advised working area is 2' square - I improvised with these items but was successful).

Obviously rubber gloves.
Heavy fumes. Respirator use advised.Fumes fall to lowest point so work with product height to prevent bending down into them. They are really noxious.

Leave for five minutes and check. If scraper does not remove some/all of paint /varnish etc. Paint over again for five minutes and repeat several times until varnish starts to soften and peel away.

Soon as it is coming off like a gum - neutralise with water and then wash with hot soapy water. Any remaining stains, can be very lightly sanded out. I worked patiently with sanding wet and dry as I did not want to erode the stippling/grip on the deck and lazarettes by sanding them flat..
Worked like a dream on Calamity Corner and the two runnels and drain points.

Highly recommend.
No advice on temperature and conditions outside. Suspect it will dry quicker on a warm day ? Yesterday was bright and cold but not freezing Not to be used in confined spaces.

Before and afters:Trying to post these. Can I only do this by using a url?

Regards to all,

Cap'n Caliamari.
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