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stripping teak grab rails while on boat


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#1 Pooch692000

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 04:00 PM

have done my companionway which was pretty bare just through sanding and am using cetol natutal teak -2coats, then 2-3 coats of cetol marine gloss. the exterior grab rails need to be stripped lots oe peeling at ends and some chips and craks throughtout. they and have multiple coats of cetol. i have a heat gun, easy off and lots of sanders. just trying to get suggestions on what people have used here that works the best as. the 2 rails are close to 12 feet long each.... uugh... Is there a stripper to use where you dont need to tape prior to stripping and just tape when recetoling

#2 Fleetwood

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 02:43 AM

Heat gun with a curved scraper, plus masking tape to ensure you don't mess up whatever the grab rails are attached to.
You can get a 3-sided scraper with a convex, a concave and a straight edge (plus nice sharp points useful for damaging your work. Grind 2 of them off. The pointiest one is useful for getting out thick varnish in corners.) Finish off with hand-sanding.
Cleaner and quicker than stripper.

#3 USA 236

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 02:51 AM

I stripped 12 interior mahogany doors at my house using the orange stripper from home depot. It removed the old varnish in one to two applications. No smell and water clean up. I doubt it would bother gelcoat (you should check this out for yourself) and all you would need is to lay down some newspaper to catch the scrapings.


The colder the temp, the longer it takes for any stripping product to work. I just finished stripping the interior of a vintage aluminum race boat that had indoor/outdoor carpeting appllied to the interior. For that project I used Franmar Soy Gel stripper. That stuff is the bomb and their customer service is first rate. However that was a messy project given I was trying to dissolve old mastic glue and a bitch to clean up. I wiped up the gel/glue slurry with shop rags and towed the boat to the do tt yourself carwash and scrubbed with soapy water and brush and pressure washed. What small reside of mastic that I missed blew away with the water pressure.

My point being, try the cheap orange stripper from home depot and if it doesnt work get a small bottle of the Soy Gel, it should get the job done. Again, colder temps will slow the product down, so be patient.

#4 SailAR

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 01:43 PM

How are they held on? Would suggest pulling them, stripping them.. then you can seal/encapsulate them --> easily varnish/setol the underside and the bedding surface. Then, reinstall. No leaks and a good well sealed job should be worth the effort in terms of lasting a lot longer.

#5 steele

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 11:24 PM

I have done it both ways. The problem with chemicle strippers is not just will they damage the gelcoat (and ports, metal bits and other parts it gets on), but also what to do with the sticky mess once scraped off. Unless you can take the rails off the boat a heat gun is best. Mine are about 6 ft long, and using a heat gun and good sharp scraper was pretty quick. By good I do not mean something you pick up at a big box store, better woodworking and marine shops are best. You do not need to tape if you take it slow near the area where wood meets glass. A good scaper will leave a surface almost ready for coating, unlike strippers that will raise the grain and result in the need for a lot of sanding.

#6 Pooch692000

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 11:18 AM

i tried 'klean strip' and it is pretty agressive stuff. had a run down the cabin top and it etched the gelcoat pretty good, but made for easy removal with 3 sided scraper. will follow up with hand sand if sandy doesnt swallow here whole. the old owner did a pretty bad job of cetoling them as the nonskid at the bases had dspots of cetoll all over. the klean strip and a wire brush removed most of the spots so glad i didnt tape prior to stripping rails wont come off unless i remove he headliner.removal, so that aint happening.




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