Jump to content

How do you clean up butyl tape?


Recommended Posts

Let me give you a bit of context...

I am playing with vacuum bagging technique.

I had a part made out of carbon fiber, with rough finish; this was previously done with vacuum bagging and the substrate surface finish is what is left, once you remove the peel-ply. So it is even, but "rough to the touch". On top of that, I vacuum bagged some more stuff, and used butyl tape as the seal all around my vacuum bag. So the butyl tape was laid on the rough finish previous layer of carbon fiber.

Once completed, I removed the bag, the felt like material and the new peel ply I applied for the added material.

When I tried to remove the butyl tape on the perimeter of the bag, some of it came off the substrate carbon fiber nicely, but some sticks so well to the substrate that when you try to pull it, it stretches, and streched and stretches... and breaks. Leaving some goo on the carbon fiber.

I will eventually fair that carbon fiber, and paint it. So I am concerned about using any chemical that could impair further adherence of epoxy based filler/undercoat....

 

I know there is a wealth of know how around here, and I must not be the first one facing this problem, so what do you recommend?

 

Should I attack this with chemicals? Acetone? Petrol? Paint thinner (which one)? Something else??? But remember, I must be able to eliminate all traces of the chemical to apply more epoxy in the future.

Should I consider mechanical means? Scrapper (but it will not take all material in the tiny holes on the surface of the carbon fiber...)? wirebrush (but is it not going to damage the existing carbon fiber?)

What about... ice? If I cool down the butyl tape, does it become less stretchy, and easier to peel off the surface???

 

 

In advance, thanks for all suggestions!

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

A cold morning certainly helps. I use a spatula and then genetic paint thinner on a tiny and quickly-disposed-of rag. Paint thinner can itself leave some oil that might take a while to evaporate so some cleaner compatible with the process underway might be needed: Alcohol, water and detergent, etc...

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

And the next time, use a bigger bag and keep the butyl tape away from your laminate!

You can make a bag that is more like an envelope and seal the edges with tape and totally enclose the part.

Bag is blue, folded in half

Butyl tape to seal seams in red

image.png.16e64933d12767dd18cc19d064aec3d8.png

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

All good advice so far.  I will second what Zonker says and also reiterate that any solvent will basically eat butyl tape up readily.  I like using mineral spirits.  For almost all other gum up sticky residue clean ups I find that lighter fluid in the yellow bottle works like magic.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/25/2021 at 7:55 AM, eliboat said:

All good advice so far.  I will second what Zonker says and also reiterate that any solvent will basically eat butyl tape up readily.  I like using mineral spirits.  For almost all other gum up sticky residue clean ups I find that lighter fluid in the yellow bottle works like magic.

For localized butyl mess, a spritz of WD40 is adequate. WD40 is mineral spirits, mineral oil (parrafin/petrolatum), and stoddard solvent. Takes longer to evaporate than either straight or low-odor mineral spirits (which is regular minus xylene/toluene), but that gives you more time for careful wiping off of residue. Lacquer thinner (xylene+toluene) will take butyl off to the last molecule -- but you have to work fast.

My typical schedule for removing butyl is: mechanical scraping off 90% of it. Shot of WD40 and a dry rag for areal cleanup. Clean rag dampened with mineral spirits or laq thinner for final wipe. (Our Albin Ballad used butyl sealant for the hull/deck joint, which is fine in that it stays flexible forever and does not crack out of the joint. But with time & temperature cycles, or when you go around re-tightening the many, many perimeter fastenings, fresh butyl does ooze out inside the seam and can even drip like snot in a couple places. So I've been slowly working around the boat, scraping and wiping the joint & glassing it solid.)

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Diarmuid said:

For localized butyl mess, a spritz of WD40 is adequate. WD40 is mineral spirits, mineral oil (parrafin/petrolatum), and stoddard solvent. Takes longer to evaporate than either straight or low-odor mineral spirits (which is regular minus xylene/toluene), but that gives you more time for careful wiping off of residue. Lacquer thinner (xylene+toluene) will take butyl off to the last molecule -- but you have to work fast.

My typical schedule for removing butyl is: mechanical scraping off 90% of it. Shot of WD40 and a dry rag for areal cleanup. Clean rag dampened with mineral spirits or laq thinner for final wipe. (Our Albin Ballad used butyl sealant for the hull/deck joint, which is fine in that it stays flexible forever and does not crack out of the joint. But with time & temperature cycles, or when you go around re-tightening the many, many perimeter fastenings, fresh butyl does ooze out inside the seam and can even drip like snot in a couple places. So I've been slowly working around the boat, scraping and wiping the joint & glassing it solid.)

Same. I have used the Compass Marine butyl for all deck fittings but used a cheaper (local) version for the toerail. In the process of cleaning it up for a second time - the gift that keeps on giving.....

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks a lot to all contributors!!!

I had some Interlux 333 thinner and used it.

First, as recommended by El Borracho, I used a sharp putty knife, dipped in the thinner to mechanically remove 99% of it. Then I rubbed the last traces with a clean cloth dipped in the thinner as well. I will rub one more time with alcohol or acetone, to remove as much as possible the thinner... if there is anything left.

I tried to use a piece of butyl tape to remove the butyl tape... but I was only partially successful.

And yes Zonker, I learned my lesson; next time I will enclose the whole part in the bag! Or if it is simply too big, I may first lay a wide masking tape strip, and then lay the butyl tape on top of it; but I am afraid that the masking tape may leave some air going through, even if it means it would have to flow accross the thickness of the tape...

 

Thanks again to all!

Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, Fleetwood said:

Same. I have used the Compass Marine butyl for all deck fittings but used a cheaper (local) version for the toerail. In the process of cleaning it up for a second time - the gift that keeps on giving.....

tell me about it.  I have a 37 year old boat.  That stuff occasionally oozes out from under a fitting and I have to clean the deck of it..

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...