Fiber glass removal

Duncan Rosborough

Curious about Wooden Canoes
Can any one tell me the best way to remove fiber glass from a cidar stip canoe. It's a thin layer but would like to return to canvas.
Heat gun method video:

It might be harder than in the video, or easier, depending on the quality of the glass-job. (We have a canoe that appears to have been slimed by Gozar the Gozarian, only the slime has hardened.... I figure that'll be a tough one.)

Dave Wermuth can explain the pond in the yard method...

You're going to need a pond for this.

The pond method:
1) Dig a pond
2) sink canoe in the shallow part for a few days to a week.
3) proceed as usual

I think it may assist in getting the glass off. One thing's for sure, the wood is less apt to catch fire if it's been soaked for a week. ( yes, i did use a propane torch in some spots.) And it may be a little less prone to tearing chunks of planking out if the resin is stubborn and the wood has the moisture in it and is less brittle.

This method is only applicable six months out of the year here. (four months in the UP). The pond is frozen over.

Truthfully, the pond may be unnecessary.


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Soaking isn't realy very effective if it's good resin. Considering that some of the resins used for fiberglassing boats are among the best waterseals/moisture-barriers that you can find for wood, they aren't likely to budge if the job was decently done, and you can leave most fiberglass submerged for years and when you take it out, it's still fiberglass. Don't expect it to wash off or give up its grip on the wood fibers from a little water-soaking, because it's not likely to happen. The wood will rot away first.

Carefully applied heat and elbow grease are the only effective ways to remove it. You need maybe 140 degrees to begin softening most epoxy resin and likely a bit more for polyester resin. The epoxy sticks better from the get-go, so despite needing less heat, it may be considerably more work to remove.