Thursday, May 14, 2009

Removing boat bottom paint

I read somewhere that the best tool for removing bottom paint is your checkbook. After my experience, I would have to agree, but it can be done. Apparently the pros sandblast the stuff off. Not being a pro, I turned to Google and read about several different methods for DIY: scraping, stripping, and sanding being the top three. In the end, I believe the most efficient way is to scrape AND sand.
Important tip: have a file in your pocket and keep the scraper sharp. The copper bottom paint dulls the scraper quickly. To sharpen, you have to lay the file down and hold the scraper perpendicular to the file. Just a few strokes makes a huge difference.
Flying Scot #338 had several layers of bottom paint so scraping removed a bunch of material, but did not remove the last layer of paint. The picture above shows the results of scraping on the right and after sanding on the left. I sanded using a 1-2 punch of a 6" sander with 50 grit lightly and carefully run over the paint to remove 95% and then a 5" orbital sander with 80 grit to get the last bit off and smooth out the agressive grit. This process took about 1 hour for the first side, second side TBD...

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