Remove Varnish - Leave Epoxy Untouched???

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by fredrosse, Mar 29, 2012.

  1. fredrosse
    Joined: Jan 2005
    Posts: 405
    Likes: 60, Points: 38, Legacy Rep: 56
    Location: Philadelphia PA

    fredrosse USACE Steam

    I am having some trouble with varnish over epoxy. All my decks have a coating of epoxy over plywood. The epoxy looks good, but I wanted to provide protection of the epoxy from sunlight damage, so I covered the epoxy with UV resistant spar varnish. In some places the varnish has poor adhesion, and can be flaked off with my fingernail. Other places the varnish is stuck onto the epoxy very well. Now I want to remove this varnish and start over with better surface preparation.

    The question: Does anyone know of a solvent for varnish (varnish removal) that will not touch the epoxy under the varnish?

    I have tried Acetone, with no softening of the varnish, and Acetone cuts almost everything (except epoxy, and evidently varnish).

    Is there a particular brand of varnish that will last a few years protecting the epoxy from sunlight damage?
     
  2. pauloman
    Joined: Jun 2010
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    Location: New Hampshire

    pauloman Epoxy Vendor

    sounds like you used a blushing epoxy...... next time upgrade to no blush epoxy.....

    99% of chemical paint strippers will do nothing to epoxy, so that might well work. Also, I suspect a heat gun will lift the varnish long before it gets the epoxy.

    paul oman
    progressive epoxy polymers inc.
     
  3. bntii
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Location: MD

    bntii Senior Member

    You will need to improve the key in to the epoxy after you get the varnish off.
    Just sand off the varnish and scuff up the epoxy in so doing. If the epoxy is looking less then perfect when you get down to it- apply a couple of recoats, let cure, scuff it up and go over again with the varnish.

    Is there a strong reason to use varnish over the epoxy instead of paint?
    Mahogany veneer etc?

    If you can skip the varnish, a coat of 545 followed by LP topcoat will get you years and years of service.
     
  4. fredrosse
    Joined: Jan 2005
    Posts: 405
    Likes: 60, Points: 38, Legacy Rep: 56
    Location: Philadelphia PA

    fredrosse USACE Steam

    I understand that I need to provide good surface preparation before varnishing. But my question is:

    Does anyone know of a solvent for varnish (varnish removal) that will not touch the epoxy under the varnish?

    All of the varnish removers I have found also state that they will remove epoxy, and I don't want to remove the epoxy that I have.
     
  5. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Can you scrape instead of chemical stripping? It's the best way to remove old varnish, while leaving the epoxy unmolested. Chemicals can work, but the can's instructions will be the key. Look for the words, "safe for fiberglass" and you'll do fine.


    The usual retail choices are:

    Ready-Strip Marine
    Aqua-Strip
    Ultra-Strip
    Sea Hawk Marine Paint Stripper
    Interlux Interstrip 299E
    Petit Bio-Blast
    Franmar’s Soy Gel stripper
    Marine Safety Strip and Marine Strip II by Peel Away

    Bio-Blast and Aqua Strip work pretty good, the Interlux product is pretty cheap and the Franmar's product the "green" way to go.
     

  6. fredrosse
    Joined: Jan 2005
    Posts: 405
    Likes: 60, Points: 38, Legacy Rep: 56
    Location: Philadelphia PA

    fredrosse USACE Steam

    Thanks Par for the info.
     
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