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PostPosted: March 22nd, 2010, 10:59 am 
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Joined: April 11th, 2009, 9:43 am
Posts: 444
Location: Central Maine--Sheepscot Watershed
Hi everyone:

I've not been here in a while because I've been busy moving into a new house.

Now that I'm settled--and now that I have a house with a nice big barn :thumbup: --I've taken on my first boat restoration project.

It's not a canoe, but a Merrymeeting Bay Duck sculling boat. It's about 16 feet long, 50 inches max beam, with an oak keel, skeg and ribs, and cedar strip planking over that.

The boat was covered--hull and decks only, not the interior bottom--in epoxy and Dynel cloth about 5 years ago, and has been essentially neglected since then. All of the wood is in excellent shape with no signs of rot, but the glass had failed in one area where two cracks were showing on the outside.

I started from the two cracks, and using putty knives and plastic scrapers, pulled away an irregular area of poorly bonded glass about 5 feet long by 3 feet wide that extends from near the keel to near the gunwale on one side of the boat. The glass around that is well bonded to the wood, and there are no signs that the glass elsewhere bonded poorly.

Because I don't know what caused the poor bonding, and also because the original glassing job was a bit sloppy, with the epoxy laid on very thick so that it adds a good deal of weight, I've decided to strip off all the glass, coat the exterior and decks with new epoxy, and cover with glass and epoxy.

I'm looking for suggestions on how best to remove the existing glass and epoxy. I have a 5 inch random orbital sander and a 3X21 inch belt sander, both electric, available to me.

Does it make sense to remove most of the epoxy--down to the layer of Dynel, for example--with the belt sander, and then take down the last of it with the orbital sander?

Is there any way to jury rig a shop vac to the belt sander to minimize the amount of dust that escapes? So far as I can tell, Black and Decker does not make a vacuum attachment for my sander.


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PostPosted: March 22nd, 2010, 3:37 pm 
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Location: Big Flats, New York USA
I would be loathe to sand fiberglass. The fine glass particles could be quite bothersome to your skin, lungs, eyes, etc. The proper PPE could help, but sanding would also take forever. And, you have the risk of damaging the wood.

Instead, try going at it with a heat gun. You should be able to loosen and peel the cloth fairly easily. It won't take long to figure out how long to apply the heat to be able to remove a patch at a time.

Here is a description of the process from West:
http://www.jamestowndistributors.com/us ... ving+Epoxy

Quote:
Removing fiberglass cloth applied with epoxy

Use a heat gun to heat and soften the epoxy. Start in a small area a near a corner or edge. Apply heat until you can slip a putty knife or chisel under the cloth (about 200F). Grab the edge with a pair of pliers and pull up on the cloth while heating just ahead of the separation. On large areas, use a utility knife to score the glass and remove in narrower strips. Resulting surface texture may be coated or remaining epoxy may be removed as follows.

Removing cured epoxy coating


Use a heat gun to soften the epoxy (200F). Heat a small area and use a paint scraper or cabinet scraper to remove the bulk of the coating. Sand the surface to remove the remaining material. Provide ventilation when heating epoxy.


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PostPosted: March 22nd, 2010, 3:47 pm 
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Location: Waterloo, ON
I've sanded down a canoe before - actually found that a belt sander worked pretty well. The reason I sanded it down was that I couldn't find any better advice out there.

Whenever I have to do that job over again, then I'll definitely give the heat gun a try.

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PostPosted: March 22nd, 2010, 7:40 pm 
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Joined: April 11th, 2009, 9:43 am
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Location: Central Maine--Sheepscot Watershed
Thanks. The heat gun is a good idea.

Anybody done it with good results? How big a gun do I need?

For sanding, I'll be wearing protective clothes and a respirator, but I'm definitely trying the heat gun first.


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PostPosted: March 23rd, 2010, 8:58 am 
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Did anyone ever try a product called liquid sandblast ?
I was looking to use it on an antique desk to remove the varnish. What I've seen on TV - DIY type of show - was amazing but research on internet showed mitigated results. Maybe it would be used for your project ?

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PostPosted: March 23rd, 2010, 10:03 am 
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On my old wood/canvas canoe restore, I used a heat gun and scraper to remove a covering of fiberglass that some turkey thought was a great refurb. I used that everyday standard kind of heat gun found in the paint section at Home Depot or Rona.

Over at the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association, everyone uses and told me to use a heat gun and scraper. Worked really well.

If you're lucky it might be vinylester rather than epoxy.

Liquid Sandblast is an average quality furniture stripper for removing pant and varnish not epoxy or vinylester.

cheers Ted

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PostPosted: March 23rd, 2010, 11:57 am 
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Joined: April 11th, 2009, 9:43 am
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Location: Central Maine--Sheepscot Watershed
Off to Home Depot for a heat gun on my way home tonight.

Has to be better than sanding 75 square feet of glass and epoxy. I wish it was vinylester or polyester, but I believe it's West System epoxy.


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PostPosted: March 24th, 2010, 6:15 pm 
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Check out this from YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXILZU6Jm-s

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PostPosted: March 27th, 2010, 9:43 pm 
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Joined: April 11th, 2009, 9:43 am
Posts: 444
Location: Central Maine--Sheepscot Watershed
Many thanks for the heat gun suggestion. I made more progress stripping in an hour this afternoon than I had with sanders over the past 2 weeks.


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