Guy Cyr Stripper Recipe


Wood Girl #1186

In 1983 or 1984, At the assembly I think it was in Madison, WI Guy Cyr gave a demonstration on Wood and Canvas Canoe Restoration. I have lost my notes but the recipe for the stripper he gave to use on old varnish and cedar consisted of a mixture of Lye, Starch & Warm Water. I don't even know if good ol' Guy is still a member but if he is I'd like this particular recipe from him again. Does anyone have it, or can someone pass my request along to him?

With Gratitude,

The method you describe I have tried and used very sucessively. It was posted by Rollin thurlow ,, a very long time ago and it may have been lost in the old forums.
The recipe was to use the lye solution as you described but Rollin's additive was wallpaper paste. I used this recipe a few times and it worked well.

You mix the lye up as per the label and the add the paste so it will adhere to all the sufaces. You then cover the canoe with light plastic like from the dry cleaners or such. This is done so it wont dry out to soon and can work away. Leave it over night and then scrub the canoe and rinsh.

Be very very very careful,, it is very caustic.

hope this helps.

Oh, you are a dear! Thank you so much, my dad will be beyond thrilled and I cant wait to use it on a new project we will embark on soon. Thanks tons!
Good tip

Hey, I appreciate the extra reinforcement on safety regarding "Causticity". Now I get to share a favorite word with you......"Parsimonious" which is just a fancy word for stingy. Thanks for your GENEROUS input and for the news about Guy. Margaret
I believe the correct term is Akalinity. Sodium Hydroxide & Potassium Hydroxide [caustic soda & caustic potash] are base the opposite of an acid with a pH in the 12 - 14 range. Gloves, eye protection possibly a chem resistant apron and faceshield should be considered the minimum not only will caustic eat skin & eyeballs; it will disolve aluminum!

caustic was the only way to 'clean' bones [skeletons]and is the primary ingredient in most drain cleaners...
Less caustic solution

I used a method given to me by Ralph Frese of Chicago Land Canoe Base with great results.

The first step was to place a gallon can of paint stripper such as Stripeeze in a gallon of hot water. The hotter the better. Also try to do this when the weather is also warm. The heat will make the stripper work better.
The stripper is painted on and let to work for about 30 minutes.
To the hot water you add a gallon of bleach and TSP.
The water/bleach/TSP mixture is used with a nylon bristle scrub brush to scrub the stripper out of the canoe. The brush is used to get into all of the cracks and crevices.
Finally spend a good deal of time with the hose and flush out all of the stripper and cleaner.
The result was a very clean hull.

Email Ralph for the exact recipe and procedure.

Email Ralph at