Bowsprit Varnish.

The bowsprit on Puffin is looking tatty and needs re-varnishing. It is now removed and lying beside the boat. It is probably twice the weight I was expecting but all the better for that. I bought some varnish remover and spread it on the bowsprit. The bowsprit laughed at this pathetic concoction and nothing happened to the varnish. I suspect that this is not “3 coats of varnish” as original spec but probably a two pack (small print on varnish remover says “doesn’t work with two pack polyurethane”).

Anyone else had this, any idea what will get it off.

I do not know if the Sam Morse yard uses a 'two pack" varnish or not. Maybe someone from the yard can answer that. As for removing varnish, try stripping with Citristrip. That seems to work on stubborn varnish. If you still can not remove the varnish, try a heat gun. You will need one that can produce at least 1000 degrees F. Hold it at about a 45 degree angle and about an inch off the surface for about 5 - 10 seconds or until the varnish bubbles. Scrape away with a sharpened scraper. I only resort to heat gun as a last resort, but it is effective.


Two-part polyurethane clear coatings, such as Allgrips clear coat, are rather resistant to chemical attack. We remove epoxy coatings, as well as varnish with a heat gun and pull type scraper. The work goes fast once you develop the technique. Apply heat to the surface until the coating just starts to bubble, then use the scraper to remove the softened coating. Once the coating starts to bubble, pull the heat gun away from the surface but still keep heat on the area you are working or just ahead of the area you are working.

Once we have the coating removed, we use sandpaper to smooth the work and remove any residual coating.