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Old 01-21-2011, 09:46 PM   #1
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Best Varnish Remover?

Hi All,
What is the best varnish remover that any of you have used.*** What seems to work best for "interior" applications?**

Thanks for any suggestions!
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Old 01-21-2011, 10:07 PM   #2
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RE: Best Varnish Remover?

A heat gun and scrapers. This ensures that you get the varnish off without removing any wood. My wife has become a veritable artist with a Makita heat gun. When we need to remove a bright finish like varnish, she's the one who does it. Much better at it than I am.
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Old 01-22-2011, 08:43 AM   #3
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RE: Best Varnish Remover?

I use non-toxic Citristrip. It works very well.
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Old 01-22-2011, 08:46 AM   #4
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RE: Best Varnish Remover?

Any of them.* The key is to cover the wet film with saran wrap, leave it on for awhile, then scrape.* Paint remover is highly volatile and outgasses too quickly to fully do the job.* The saran wrap prevents this.

Heat gun works too, with the key word being WORK.
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Old 01-22-2011, 08:52 AM   #5
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RE: Best Varnish Remover?

If you use a heat gun, be careful you don't burn the wood. Start on an area that doesn't show till you get a feel for it.
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Old 01-22-2011, 08:57 AM   #6
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RE: Best Varnish Remover?

Another heat gun caution, is to not overheat window trim - the glass can crack.
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Old 01-22-2011, 03:31 PM   #7
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RE: Best Varnish Remover?

Quote:
Marin wrote:

A heat gun and scrapers. This ensures that you get the varnish off without removing any wood. My wife has become a veritable artist with a Makita heat gun. When we need to remove a bright finish like varnish, she's the one who does it. Much better at it than I am.
How clever of you to convince Ruth that she was a better heat gun operator. Somehow, I need to convince Dorothy that she is the better cook.*

*
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Old 01-22-2011, 04:54 PM   #8
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RE: Best Varnish Remover?

I use the cheapest stripper (chemical type) I can find and a razor sharp scraper. Let the stripper work for about 10 minutes before scraping. Sharpen often.

Rob
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Old 01-22-2011, 06:29 PM   #9
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RE: Best Varnish Remover?

Quote:
Jay N wrote:

Another heat gun caution, is to not overheat window trim - the glass can crack.
Very true, and gelcoat can be damaged or discolored.* My wife has a series of "heat sinks" (pieces of laminate) in various shapes and sizes that she tapes, hangs, or holds in place to protect adjacent surfaces.

*
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Old 01-23-2011, 08:24 PM   #10
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RE: Best Varnish Remover?

Thank you all for the great suggestions.
I never would have thought of putting Saran Wrap over the remover.
Great ideas!* What a excellent resource for information.
Steve
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:29 AM   #11
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RE: Best Varnish Remover?

On my last sailboat, I stripped all of the varnish. I tried chemicals and heat. I had the best results by far with heat.
On my present boat, I haven't removed much varnish, preferring to spot repair and keep the finish up. That approach seems to work, as I get constant praise for the condition of the varnish, despite leaving it, except for attention to spots, a lot longer between coats than I ever used to. Part of the reduced schedule has to do with choosing the right varnish, as has been discussed in other threads.
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:37 AM   #12
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RE: Best Varnish Remover?

Taras, one more thing I have found critical is to use a back scraper, whatever method you use for softening the varnish.* You pull a back scraper rather than push it, which is critical to avoid gouging wood or for working odd shapes.* Good luck!
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:12 AM   #13
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RE: Best Varnish Remover?

I used a heat gun for years; it would take hours to strip the teak. But recently I used a gel paint remover called "Dads" to strip my sundeck. I tell you, it went faster than I could have imagined and cleaned up real nicely.
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Old 01-24-2011, 12:34 PM   #14
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RE: Best Varnish Remover?

Bahco scrapers.
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Old 01-28-2011, 09:43 PM   #15
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RE: Best Varnish Remover?

Delfin,
Back scraper!* Excellent point.
Thank you,
Taras
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Old 01-28-2011, 09:52 PM   #16
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RE: Best Varnish Remover?

Just don't confuse it with a back scratcher.* Totally different technology solution.
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Old 01-29-2011, 08:58 AM   #17
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RE: Best Varnish Remover?

the Eagle*has more teak than several boats combined.* i use the heat gun with a wet vac to get the majority of then orbital sand with 80 grit to get the rest off.* Takes about one hour to do do a 10 to 20 ft sections.* The trick to bright work is not doing to big of a section at a time and do the poorest/worst sections first.*
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Old 01-29-2011, 08:30 PM   #18
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RE: Best Varnish Remover?

Just a quick hijack of the thread- I have several small doors with small brass hinges on the flybridge that I need to refinish in the spring. I have remove the small brass screws to remove a few doors on other parts of the boat and it is a PITA to get theses hinge screws out.
I was looking today and I see where the hinge "pin" is mushroomed on the top and bottom. Is seems to me I might be able to take a Dremmel tool and grind the lower mushroom off of the pin and then use a small pin punch and hammer to drive out the pin- elimenating the work of removing these screws. Has anyone done this- or found another simpler way to remove the doors?
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Old 02-04-2011, 03:12 AM   #19
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RE: Best Varnish Remover?

This is what my wife is achieving with just the black scraper and the heatgun .... I am sanding after it with a 80 grid ..... than I will sand it with 240 ..... She is good !!! and she is a good cook too ! *I am lucky am I not?
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Old 02-04-2011, 06:00 AM   #20
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RE: Best Varnish Remover?

You shouldn't jump grit sizes that far. You'll just smooth off the top and leave the 80 grit gouges. I go from 80 to 120 to 180, and varnish then. Sometimes to 220.
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