Removing epoxy from the plywood subdeck

​During the first phase of Kyria's restoration I had laid a new marine plywood subdeck and covered it with epoxy and glass fabric in preparation for laying a teak deck.  But that was as far as I got, and Kyria had been lying under cover for over 20 years since then.

Over such a long period of time there had been enough UV light getting through the cover to degrade the epoxy and it had become slightly opaque and yellow in colour.

Even though it was still reasonably sound, I decided to remove the old epoxy and glass cloth before proceeding, to ensure that the teak deck would have the best possible surface to adhere to.

Trying to sand the epoxy and glass fabric

There was a small section on the foredeck where I had not laid any glass cloth and it was only coated with epoxy.  I started off in this area, using a combination of sanders to remove the epoxy (Festool Rotex 6" sander and a Rupes long bed sander) and whilst it was slow going they did the job well enough.

sanding plywood subdeck

Starting at the bow and working aft

six metre restoration

A long way to go!

However, as soon as I reached the area where the glass cloth had been laid, the sanders weren't working very well at all.  If I continued this way I knew that it would take forever to remove the epoxy and glass cloth.  I thought that there must be an easier way, but how?  After thinking about the problem for a while I came up with a better method....

Using a heat gun to remove the epoxy and glass cloth

I decided to try to use a heat gun to soften the epoxy and then getting a putty knife under the glass cloth to lift it bit by bit.  With a little patience, and just lifting a little at a time, this worked very well and was much quicker than using the sanders.  The cloth was coming off in large sections, which was very satisfying!

removing epoxy glass cloth

Using the heat gun was working a lot better and the epoxy glass cloth was coming off in sections

6mr restoration

Removed about 3/4 of the glass cloth, but there is still quite a bit of the epoxy to remove from the subdeck

Sanding the remaining epoxy and fairing the deck

There was only so much of the epoxy that I could remove with the heat gun and scraper.  I would still need to sand what was left, but at least I had removed most of it, so this was much better than trying to remove it all by sanding.

I removed most of the epoxy with the Rotex sander using coarse grit sanding discs and then used the Rupes long bed sander to fair up the surface as much as possible.

Even though it's a long bed sander, the Rupes sander is only 400 mm long and therefore not long enough to fair the deck properly.  Once I had done as much as I could using the machine sanders I then switched to hand sanding with a long board that I had previously made for the purpose, which is just over 30" or 800 mm long.

fairing with a long board

Fairing up the surface by hand using a long board

6-metre restoration

Job finished and subdeck ready for the next step later on

Thats all for this update.  These posts are a few weeks behind actual progress at the moment and I hope to catch up over the next couple of weeks or so.

The next post will be about moving Kyria over about 2ft (0.6m) inside the shelter so that I can start work on the starboard side.

Feel free to leave a comment below and please share with anyone that might be interested!

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