Latest News: Forums Technical Removing old varnish on wooden parts of Mk1 GRP W3380

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  • #26106
    Sylvain Caro

    Hello all,
    I want to completely remake my Wayfarer’s varnishes.
    For that I must remove the old varnish … and the question that I ask myself is this: to do this, is it better to remove it:

    – Sanding it?
    – By stripping it with a chemical stripper?
    – By stripping it with a heat gun?

    On my mk1 GRP of 1973, some parts seem to be mahogany (the banks and reinforcement drift wells basically), the rest is plywood but I do not know what type.

    Thank you in advance!!

    Sylvain from France

    Dave Barker

    Hi Sylvain,

    Greetings! To make it a bit easier for anyone to answer the question, can I just confirm which parts of the boat you mean?

    Banks = benches (seats)?

    Reinforcement drift wells = ?


    Sylvain Caro

    Sorry, I asked to google translate haha!

    I mean : The side benches and the transverse board which strengthens the board well (where the addger board passes thru the hull…)

    Is it ok for you?

    If not, it’s not important because I want to remove the varnish everywhere! đŸ˜€



    Dave Barker

    You’re right, it’s not important, but it is more fun than sanding or stripping varnish!

    The transverse board must be the thwart – a horrible word for a French speaker…

    Personally I would try a chemical stripper first. Some varnish responds well to this, but because chemical stripping products have been made safer, the results may be disappointing. If you need to re-apply the product several times, it can become expensive.

    If the chemical stripper is not very effective I would try sanding. A random orbital sander connected to an old vacuum cleaner would be my choice for flat areas, and hand sanding for the difficult areas and edges. Of course it is necessary to change the abrasive paper frequently, and gradually move up from 60 or 80 grit at the start, then 120 or 150 and so on, finishing at 240 or 320.

    For me a heat gun would be a poor choice for varnish work, because of the risk of scorching (burning) the wood, but I’m sure some people have had good results. (On painted areas it’s not such a problem, because minor scorch marks will be covered by the new paint).

    It would be interesting to hear some other people’s views.

    Sylvain Caro

    Hi Dave,
    Thanks again for your message.

    You confirm my fears about heat gun, wich seemed agressive to me…
    I didn’t think about the different types of varnishes wich maybe won’t respond to chimical strippers, damn’!!
    And it depends on what kind of varnish the precedent owner used…
    I’ll try it as you say… and maybe make the job sanding the wood… but there are a lot of flat pieces and… a lot of not-flat pieces đŸ˜€

    Dave Barker

    “And it depends on what kind of varnish the precedent owner used…” – that’s it!

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