Stripping cedar

Don Fleischut

Curious about Wooden Canoes
I am looking for recomendations on stripping 100 years of varnish off a cedar canoe. I need to do it indoors in winter, so a power washer option won't work. I prefer a wipe off type over a scrape off, as I don't want to damage the cedar
Stripping can be done in many ways, but none are more efficient than semi-paste methylene chloride-based chemical strippers. Use in a ventilated area, and protect your skin, though :eek: . Scrapers, even metal ones, work fine as long as you just go slowly and smoothly. It's not the scraper that gouges the wood, it's the scraper operator (from a life-long hunter but strong advocate of gun control, that statement sounds ominously like the propaganda from the "other side"!).

After stripping, clean the wood with a strong solution of TSP, and then use a quality 2-part cleaner/bleach and/or oxalic acid to bring back the beautiful natural patina of the aged wood (see the blraching thread elsewhere on the forums).

happy stripping :eek: ,
What is the interior wood finished with now, as I assume that you are thinking about the outside? Is the boat stripped with small strips and what type of framing is inside? The reason I ask is after you end up strippping this boat, I would consider minimum time unfinished, to keep from any seperation.
canoe stripping


It was a general question. I strip 5 to 6 cedar canoes a season. It is strickly to remove years of varnish and grime from the interior without harming the cedar. The outside is almost always covered with canvas. I am looking for a product that will not blind me and can be used effectively indoors in the winter.