Hello fellow Chris Craft Owners

The bottom paint on my recently purchased 1987 392 Commander is in pretty rough shape with a variety of imperfections.  I suspect i am in for a weekend of fun in the sun with my sander. 

I am wondering if anyone has any experience with the Interlux  Interstrip 299E product and whether or not it really does what it claims to do - which is substantially remove bottom paint.  

My hope is it will remove the majority of the existing paint and substantially reduce the sanding but its almost $100/gallon so i want to make sure its worth the investment. 

All feedback is welcome. 

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We just had a thread on this topic. Suggestions were: scraping (try it and see), sanding (BTDT, this should be the last choice), soda blasting (expensive), and chemical stripping. I don't recall anyone having tried chemical stripping.  I'd try a common paint stripper before spending $100 / gallon on a marine-specific version. Especially if there is a water-based type.


Hire a mobile sandblasting  company .

It's much less expensive than soda and well worth every penny .

It will take only a few hours for them and you'll be left with nearly no bottom paint sanding.

However be prepared to uncover  some hidden surprises  lurking under all of your old bottom paint such as blisters and stress fractures

there are many questions here. what is your final goal. There are many ways to remove bottom paint.They all have there pluses and minuses.It is all about what your starting point is(type of paint being removed and how many layers and how old.And how fair do you need or want your bottom?I can advise you but I would require way more info than I could readily address here.From you or me. There is no simple ans. Although we all want one.My suggestion would be send me an email to Ulyssescharters@yahoo.com with a phone number and I will spend all the time it will take to walk u thru this.I hope all here on this site will forgive me for this approach but as for expert advice I believe this is the way to get it.And I will give it to any on this site.The easy I will give here the more complicated I will use this method.Looking forward to your email. Don

I was just talking to a co-worker who is in the process of stripping the bottom of a 24' center console, He is using the Interlux stripper. He said it is a messy, time consuming process and he would never do it again. Asked him what he thought of doing this to my boat, which is the same hull as yours. His opinion was that for the time I would have to put into it, it would be worth the money to have her soda blasted and barrier coated. 

Thanks to all for the comments.  It sounds like a nasty job or an expensive one - not sure which way I will go.  I don't mind putting in the work to save a few thousand dollars.  I have considered the Interlux stripper as the local Marina's recommended that approach also.  Doesn't sound like it will be a fun project - however it is one that must be done - if not this spring then in the fall when she comes out of the water. 

Happy Cruising 

I probably spent 15-20 hours sanding my 27, first with orbital sander, then with 3 inch belt sander because the orbital was too slow. Needed to go thru 2 layers of ablative paint to get to smooth surface (an old barrier coat). And the sanding dust gets everywhere, I had a shop vac attached to the sander and it still made a mess (especially in the vac!).

If I were doing it again, I'd try the stripper. Let the chemicals do the work, not your back / arms / hands.

Thanks Jim.  That's the kind of info i was looking for.  I would have expected at least 1 hour per foot - which I think is reasonable.  Not much more than compounding and waxing to be honest.  I do have a pneumatic sander which should make the job at least somewhat easier and i am tempted to try the Interlux stripper first then hoping that one sanding after that will make it pretty smooth.  The marina where i keep her does have a large sander with a vacuum system so i am going to see if they will let me rent the machine. Can't hurt to ask.  

Thanks again for the scoop - i think this will be a fall job.  Running short on time this spring.  

One caution on the chemical strippers, the old solvent based ones will attack the gel coat. Not saying you can't or shouldn't use them but you would need to be very cautious as the gel coat damage would be permanent if it got on the gel coat.

Second issue is that all of the chemical strippers a very temperature sensitive. Early and late season can be problematic depending on geographic location and weather.

Third issue with the new chemical strippers is that in addition to being temperature sensitive, they are also humidity sensitive and the directions should be followed to the letter as far as covering and the contact time.

I'm somewhat apprehensive when it comes to abrasive blasting. Soda blasting is the safest to use as the media is less traumatic to the base material. Sand blasting is very aggressive and if the operator is not careful will gouge the base material. The issue is that the more aggressive the operator makes the blasting rig, the quicker they get done. This also induces more trauma into the base material.

I have not tried this yet but I suspect that if a person were to use one of the reciprocating universal tools with a scraper blade that the blade was properly ground, the paint would come off fairly quickly. The angle that the tool is held would need to be coordinated with the angle the blade was ground to.

Another possibility with the same tool is the tungsten carbide rasp tool. This should also remove the paint quickly if proper care is used with the down pressure.

Tom Malanfant said:

Thanks Jim.  That's the kind of info i was looking for.  I would have expected at least 1 hour per foot - which I think is reasonable.  Not much more than compounding and waxing to be honest.  I do have a pneumatic sander which should make the job at least somewhat easier and i am tempted to try the Interlux stripper first then hoping that one sanding after that will make it pretty smooth.  The marina where i keep her does have a large sander with a vacuum system so i am going to see if they will let me rent the machine. Can't hurt to ask.  

Thanks again for the scoop - i think this will be a fall job.  Running short on time this spring.  

Bottom paint removal is absolutely worth paying someone to do. I spent weeks sanding in all my freetime to get down to the gelcoat on my first boat, 29’ Catalina. It was nasty hard work and I’ll never do it again, as someone who does everything on the boat that says alot. 

I stripped the bottom paint from my 22 center console. I used Soy Gel stripper.Safe on fiberglass/greatcoat. I did it in the spring in NE Ohio right by the lake so it was cool temperature. There was only one coat of paint to remove. Look on YouTube to see how this is done. Covering the  stripper with clear plastic food wrap helps. This wrap does give off noxious fumes though. The stripper was first scraped off with a plastic scraper then soap/water and a coarse 3M scrubbing pad. Got about 95% of the paint off. I think a power washer would have been better than the scrubber.

I had my 31 Commander sand blasted. Lots of gel coat damage I had to address. May have been due to operator error. I have seen a dustless water/sand blast technique advertised. That looks like a good alternative.

Bottom line is pay to have it removed. Try the water/sand blast. Don't do it near any other boats.

If you really want to convince yourself get a gallon of Soy Gel, some saran wrap, a scraper and try it.

Good Luck

John Brock

I have done literally hundreds of bottoms over the years.  I now pay the yard to do mine, it is money well spent and the project will be completed more quickly and your health will be much better. The yard is equipped to safely remove old coatings without damage to the hull and they can safely dispose of the materials removed....and you're not suffering from chemical exposure.  No matter the method of removal and application, you are working with very toxic material.

i assume you are doing a simple antifoul bottom and not attempting to repair blisters and fair the bottom.  If you insist on doing yourself, sanding will be the most effective method (I assume from your question you have never used a sandblaster, don't learn on your boat!).  Best tip,don't skimp on quality of paper and change sheets often.  Don't use belt sanders, grinders etc., an orbital sander will do just fine and not create more work!

Depending on number of layers you want/need to remove you should be able to clear the bottom easily in 1 or 2 days (that is if it is heavily coated and bottom has been able to dry.  Using stripper, you will still have to sand the bottom so no time saved.  It is cleaner in terms of sanding residue overall. but you will spend more dollars, be at it longer and may/may not have as good of a finished product.

Leave this one to the pros, they will do it right, in much less time and without damage to the hull or your health...just my opinion.

I refinish wooden floors and staircases for many years. The above advice is all good. If you tackle it yourself, buy your abrasive from an industrial supplier not a hardware store/home depot. Then you are getting about 3 times more cutting power. With stripper, sample a small piece or two. Then refine/improve your technique as you go. Most jobs, daunting at first, speed up as you stay at them. Physical conditioning can also be a big issue. Its been a looong time since I spent 2 or 3 days working upside down.Beware of the one foot fallacy. One foot is as seen on TV. The whole job however is several hundred times bigger and must all be done 100 percent, for you to win long term.Just saying that by day 2, you might not be able to lift a knife and fork to eat, but the last 100 feet have to be as good as the first 100. I mentally section and subdivide large gigs to avoid magical thinking about the work in process/completion.

  These days there are some new generation strippers and some of them such as smart strip and smart strip pro are great for residential work.I dont know if they would be safe on fiberglass. I would definitely want to use a pressure washer for removal. 

Lastly get a decent dust/vapour mask that uses cartridges and other safety gear/ear protection  if needed. Any ergonomic crutches/helps you can get such as chair stool creeper ground matt etc can ease strain. Most of the difficulty is the bad ergonomics.

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