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What stripper should I use?

Discussion in 'Strippers, Stitch-n-Glue, and Other Wood Composite' started by Brian J Knudsen, Mar 10, 2019.

  1. Brian J Knudsen

    Brian J Knudsen Curious about Wooden Canoes

    An experienced person recommended that I use "Dad's" stripper. I imagine there are other opinions about this, and I could be better educated. What would you recommend?

    Thank you,
  2. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    I’m lucky enough to have a professional furniture stripper within a few hours of me. I take 4-5 canoes at a time. I take out the seats and long decks if they are there. It helps the stripper do a better job.
    There was a time that I did strip my own. It is time consuming, tedious, and the result was not near as good as the professional. It costs about $20/ft these days. To me it is worth it in the time savings, quality of the end result, and cost of gallon cans of chemical.
    Check the commercial stripper in your area... it may pay off.
    If that’s not feasible, I recommend getting the most expensive, harshest stripper to remove the old varnish.
    I’ve tried to do it on the cheap and environmentally safe, but the results were not good.
    I always say with strippers, varnish, and marine get what you pay for.

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  3. OP
    Brian J Knudsen

    Brian J Knudsen Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thank you Dave. I believe you worked on my brother's canoe.

    Would you say that professional strippers that have never worked on a canoe are likely to do good work on a canoe? Should I not be concerned about that?

    I am still inclined to do the stripping because I assume that that is the part of the project that I am most well equipped to accomplish. Is it easy to screw up stripping?

    Thank you,
    Brian Knudsen
  4. David Satter

    David Satter LOVES Wooden Canoes It used to be called soy-gel now it's called Blue bear paint and urethene stripper. This is one of those environmental strippers that actually works. It's a little expensive but you can hose it off anywhere and no masks or gloves. It stays wet a long time so when your done get it all off and let it dry well in the sun. Not a bad smell either. You'll use 2 gallons + on a canoe.
  5. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    What sort of stripping have you used it for? Does it work on layers of really old hardened varnish?
    Does it work on nasty old oil paints? Have you used it on anything like red oil paint applied directly on wood (minimal varnish under it) with other layers of old paint over it? From my experience only the most caustic and evil strippers (the stuff that burns your arms and leaves scars) have worked on red oil paint or really heavy old varnish. It would be nice to find an alternative...
  6. David Satter

    David Satter LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I've used it on paint and varnish in canoes. That very old hard varnish may take two coats to remove. Yes if you want it done fast use the poison stuff , I use it also if i'm in a hurry. Though this stuff does work better than the environmental stuff you get in the big box stores. Only way to tell is to get some and give it a try. I use it 80 % of the time.
  7. OP
    Brian J Knudsen

    Brian J Knudsen Curious about Wooden Canoes

    If I were to use one kind of stripper and then switch to another would it make any difference? Do strippers in any way color the wood or impact the way that wood takes varnish when it is revarnished?
  8. David Satter

    David Satter LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I would stick to one kind myself. I don't think it would hurt as long as you let one dry well before using another. I like plastic putty knifes so you can cut them to the shape and size you want. After it's all stripped I use a two part cleaner like Te-ka a two part teak cleaner to brighten up and lighten the wood. There are others but that one works well. As long as you clean and sand well your varnish should adhere. thin your first couple of coats. Good luck, this is the worst part of the job.
  9. Michael Duffy

    Michael Duffy canoeist canoe builder

    Just a word of caution. A few years ago I had to strip the varnish off a canoe and went looking for a good stripper. Reading the labels I saw that many said that it should not be used when fiberglass/epoxy was under the varnish.
    So be careful of what you get

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