Prepping floor boards for re-finishing

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Prepping floor boards for re-finishing

Postby Mark K. » Sat Nov 30, 2019 12:24 pm

Anyone have a recommendation on what to use to strip the old factory finish off of the cabin sole so I can refinish the floor boards this winter? Methyl chloride was recommended to me but I can't find it for sale anymore. So far the non-toxic paint strippers have been non-effective in removing the old finish.

I plan to apply a clear gloss interior polyurethane. Has anyone tried spraying this kind of coating rather than brushing it on?

Thank you,
Mark K.
S/V Encore
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Re: Prepping floor boards for re-finishing

Postby Camino » Sat Nov 30, 2019 2:36 pm

Hi Mark. People can be very particular about varnishing :D Stirs some definite opinions usually. I’ll cautiously venture in .. question really depends on your situation. If your sole pieces can be unscrewed and removed, the whole refinish can be done in your shop or garage. Your current finish and condition should help determine what to do... if current sole is pretty dinged up, has deep scratches, etc., all needs to be repaired or replaced before finish goes on... you asked specifically about removing the old finish.... if sole is in good shape, machine sand with vacuum sander with 350 grit to scuff up so new coats will adhere, wipe clean with mineral spirits, and brush on new finish (bristle or foam). Gloss will magnify every defect in the sole. Semi-gloss or mat works better imho

If the sole is gouged and beat up, usually sanding won’t help as the veneer is thin and sanding will quickly go through. Could be time to replace. (I know that wasn’t your question). In my experience, Spraying is very difficult.
Tom and Stephanie
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Re: Prepping floor boards for re-finishing

Postby Mark K. » Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:54 pm

Thank you Tom. I plan to remove the boards and do the work in my shop over the winter. I like the idea of using the 350 grit probably with a random orbital sander. As for the condition of the boards there is general UV fading and some discoloration and shallow gouges but nothing severe such as damage done by a dog's claws. If I have to replace the veneer I think I can get it through Defender. A friend of mine has a wood planer that could probably take the old veneer off rather easily. I also have some scrap pieces to test with before I begin. Tonight I experimented removing the finish using an electric heat gun and putty knife. It seems to have done a nicer job stripping the finish off than the chemicals I was using and with much less mess too.

Anyone have any good experience with chemical strippers?

thank you,

Mark K.
S/V Encore
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Re: Prepping floor boards for re-finishing

Postby bobr » Tue Dec 03, 2019 5:43 pm

Mark,

I have used a chemical stripper.

This is from my post several years ago:

I used a "non-toxic" product called Citristip. No strong smell, just faintly citrus not even noticed by the family upstairs in the living area.The old varnish came up easily after an hour or so after application with a plastic putty knife. The residue makes a pretty good mess. The label says you can leave it on for up to 24 hours without drying out but in my experience even 2 hours is too long. When it dries out it turns white and chalky. Probably not a problem with hardwoods, but the teak is quite soft and grainy so it left behind some residue. An internet search turned up a furniture re-finisher who had the same problem. She recommended denatured alcohol to remove it and it worked quite well. You may need to use a scotch brite pad or bronze wool to get in the grain.

Hand sanding to smooth finish, 80 grit, 150 grit, 220 grit. They say to make it feel like glass. I'd like to think I got close.


After 4 years it is holding up well, despite my dog's efforts to destroy it!

There are pics in this thread, second page. https://www.freedomyachts.org/viewtopic ... 5&start=10
Bob R.
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"Liberty"
Old Saybrook, CT
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Re: Prepping floor boards for re-finishing

Postby bad » Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:45 pm

We are slowly redoing the varnish on our boat. Best results have been with a heat gun and carbide scraper. We also have a small festool sander that has been great. My experience with chemical strippers was that they are messy. It helped to put plastic wrap over the stripper to keep it from drying.

I re-veneered a couple of our floorboards and had good luck removing the old veneer with a 6" RO sander and 80 grit paper. Need to be a little careful on the edges, but it's very easy to judge removal as the next layer of veneer appears. We used Fiddes hard floor wax oil to recoat. Was very easy to apply, is easy to touch up, and seems to be grippy when wet. We'll see how it does in the long run

e
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Re: Prepping floor boards for re-finishing

Postby Camino » Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:20 pm

Bob - nice pics and description! I just ordered some of the classic clear :D Still not convinced in the stripper, will try denatured alcohol- next project in mid- winter I think. Thanks
Tom and Stephanie
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Emery Cove, CA
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Re: Prepping floor boards for re-finishing

Postby GeoffSchultz » Wed Dec 04, 2019 8:15 am

I've used the "Orange" stripper that's available at HomeDepot & elsewhere with good results.

Here's a description of how I refinished the sole:

https://freedomyachts.org/viewtopic.php?f=64&t=9975

-- Geoff
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