Help support the WCHA Forums by making a tax-deductible donation!

How to remove paint stripper residue?

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Howie, Mar 28, 2016.

  1. Howie

    Howie Wooden Canoe Maniac

    What do you folks use to remove the goop produced when using a paint/varnish stripper?

    I used to use mineral spirits, but stopped when had a bad experience with very dark wood - I figured the spirits carried 'dark stuff' deep into the wood where cleaners & wood brighteners couldn't reach.

    I then switched to using Dad's stripper & cleaned up with water. That's working better for me wood-color wise, but clean-up is still a chore.

    So is there some better goop get-out technique? Lacquer thinner? Acetone?

    And while we're at it, how about your favorite paint stripper? I hate the pink stuff. And Dad's is quite expensive.
  2. Gil Cramer

    Gil Cramer The wooden canoe Shop, Inc.

    Water cleanup can be accomplished with a high pressure washer set on LOOOOOWWWW pressure using hot water and TSP. Of course, you should check with your state EPA office to determine how to PROPERLY collect and dispose of the residue. From my experience, strippers without methylene chloride are virtually worthless. For the last 15 years, or maybe longer, I have sent almost all canoes and boats to a professional furniture stripper who is excellent. He charges $20/running ft for canoes with varnished interiors. I still do some small items with a locally produced water soluble stripper, and of course, dispose of all residue in accordance with EPA standards!?
  3. Andy Hutyera

    Andy Hutyera The Red Canoe Guy - Life Member

    For what it's worth I find that clean up with a 50-50 mixture of shellac thinner and lacquer thinner applied with a cut off paint brush does the job nicely. The cut off paint brush scrubs out the residue and gets into the tight spots where crud wants to accumulate. You can also now buy something called lacquer wash which is supposedly a lower grade of lacquer thinner for a bit less. it should work just as well. I work outdoors for good ventilation.
  4. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    For a really gooped up boat:

    1) The most evil stripper money can should blister your arms if you splatter
    2) TSP with a soft brush and very gentle power wash.
    3) More evil stripper if necessary.
    4) One more round of TSP
    5) Teak-Nu, generally twice

    Lot's of water......

    I am dreading the one I have in queue. It's gray paint over red paint. The only thing keeping it in queue is that it's one I really want.

    Gil has the right idea...let someone else suffer. My worry about that is letting someone that does not understand canoes go after the soft cedar with all kinds of sharp tools. I worry about damaging the wood. I'm not sure if we have someone around here that has big enough tank and experience on wooden canoes. If you find someone let me know.
  5. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    My commercial stripper does NOT dip. The canoe is not submerged in a tank.
    He simply has a large piece of sheet metal that holds about half or 3/4 of the canoe and is pitched back toward and drains into a reservoir from which he pumps, scrubs with a brush, and recirculates the chemical. Because space is limited, he does one half, then takes the canoe out to the parking lot to turn it around and bring in the end that was not stripped. A pretty simple, but highly effective method.
    After stripping, he neutralizes with fresh water from a low pressure hose. With this process, my canoes are ready for light sanding, then varnish... They are clean!
    You might explain this to a local furniture stripper and explain that people will pay good money to have a process like this to strip canoes and small boats.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2016
  6. Rollin Thurlow

    Rollin Thurlow member since 1980

    Assuming the stripper that is use is water soluble, it wants to be washed out right after stripping, before it has a chance to dry. Before using the pressure washer give the interior a quick scrubbing by hand with a soft brush with soap and water. Dish soap is good or if you have a fancy pressure washer that can add soap, that is good too. The soap will cut right through the gummy mess that can accumulate in the cracks and left over stripper.
  7. OP

    Howie Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Ok, so wash out the goop before it dries. But I'm sure you work on small areas at a time. Doesn't the water & soap inhibit the activity of the stripper when you advance to the next section of the canoe? I mean, no way can you limit the soap & water to just the section where the goop is. So maybe you skip sections? Like strip & clean 2 rib sections, then skip 2 (or 4, or 6) ribs and strip & clean the next 2. Thanks for the tip!
  8. Rollin Thurlow

    Rollin Thurlow member since 1980

    Once the water gets in the boat it would be impossible to try to restrict it to one narrow section of the boat.
    Strip the heavy stuff at any speed you want but after that, reapply another coat of stripper to the whole boat, let that soften up the residue and then apply the soap and water, doing the whole boat all at one time and not letting anything dry out before the whole boat is washed. Going slow and doing one small area at a time only prolongs a very ugly job. Using lots of stripper and letting the stripper do its work allows you to work much faster.

Share This Page