Sunday, October 6, 2013

A tribute to sticky stuff (removing glue residue)

The problem 

There is some sticky glue residue all over the inside of hull. I need to remove it to be sure that the new vinyl backed foam insulation will adhere to the hull. Even tho the glue is over 40 years old it is still very sticky. I used an angle grinder with a metal wire brush attachment to remove a lot of the old foam and glue. A good friend in the local marina recommended that I try using "brun sæbe" to remove the rest of the glue and foam.

"Brun sæbe" aka "the stuff"

"The Stuff"!
I have been unable to find suitable translation for "the stuff". In Danish it's called "Brun sæbe". Directly translated it's simply "brown soap". I found a forum post that refers to it as "German soft soap", "soft potassium soap"or "crystal soap". Neither of those seems to be correct.

If i had to describe it i would say it has the consistency of jello and has a slight brown color. Apparently it is basic (pH > 7) and is rich in calcium hydroxide. Please leave a comment if you know the english word for "the stuff".

How to 

1) Apply a thick layer of "the stuff" directly on the surface (glue and foam residue).
2) Cover with plastic to prevent "the stuff" from drying. 
3) Leave "the stuff" on the surface for as long as you can. Preferably more than one week. 
4) Remove plastic.
5) Remove "the stuff".  
6) Wash surface until all the soap ("the stuff") has been removed.

Inside of the hull covered in soap and plastic

Does it work?

Yes and no. The soap does dissolve the glue and foam but removing the sticky glue-soap amalgamation is a tedious and time consuming task. I can't help to wonder if it wouldn't have been simpler to use something like Xylen. Hopefully I will never find out ;-)

A lot of the old glue and foam came of easy

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