Mailport: June 2013
About eight years ago, I used Peel Away to strip the sloughing bottom paint on a Catalina 22, and while it wasn’t fun, it worked pretty much as advertised, with some follow-up scraping and sanding. Now, I have a similar stripping job on an old Flying Scot, and based on the Sept. 1, 2000 Practical Sailor review, I thought using Franmar Soy Strip would be even better. Huge mistake!
Maybe the paint I’m working with is different, but the stuff barely softens the paint. I’m scraping like a mad man, and I’ve still got a long way to go. What’s worse, is that it seems to soften the gelcoat under the paint, enough that the scraper digs easily into the under layer. At this point, I’m considering a tub of Peel Away to remove the hardened Franmar. The customer service reps at Franmar were friendly, but their advice was to just use more and thicker.
In the 13 years since that article, we’ve tested a wide range of high-strength chemical strippers, including Franmar Soy Strip, Dumond Chemical’s Peel Away and Smart Strip, and even West Marine’s stripper, which is a re-branded version of the Smart Strip (PS, November 2006, April 2008, March 2009, and October 2011). We’ve had varying results with each, depending on the job at hand (antifouling, epoxy barrier coat, a few layers, a decade of paint buildup, etc.), and have found that by experimenting with concentrations, dwell times, and ambient temperatures, we could greatly reduce the scope of a paint removal project. In the most recent test, we found that the Peel Away Marine Safety Strip—with its thick, creamy consistency—was the most effective for heavy-duty paint removal. The Franmar Soy Strip also worked, but not as quickly.
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