removing fiberglass from a wood hull

can it be done with a heat gun or should i go the sander route? don’t really want to take an orbital to a wood hull. thanks.

Removing Fiberglass
Here’s a guy who used a “heat plate”

A heat gun will work too. Heat, scraper and elbow grease.

Heat works
I used a heat gun and a torch to remove FG from a wood canoe. Heat to soft and then gently remove with a scraper. Too fast and you’ll take a layer of grain. Too slow, you’ll leave burn marks. The torch is a lot faster, but much more prone to leave burnt marks on the wood. It was relatively easy.

The FG I worked on was 70s era, so not the newer epoxy mix. I don’t know how that will work.


an axe
This will not work if your canoe was fiberglassed with the newer epoxies but if its older.

I am not kidding about the axe. At the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association Assembly two wooden canoes were defiberglassed. The older one when the axe was used (you pretty much go in horizontal its not wood chopping) the fiberglass peeled in wonderful big slabs. But it was an older bond, not epoxy. The one with the newer epoxy turned out to look like a porcupine.

You will find some good practical help on the forii at

removing fiberglass from wood
The most common way is with a heat gun. Works on both polyester resin (most common) or epoxy. Go slow so material lifts off wood. You may take some wood off as you go if you start to pry.

I have seen Bill Miller (Candian canoebuilder) remove fiberglass from a canoe by slipping an axe head between the glass and the wood. He made it work, but I don’t think it would work in some situations. He was working on old polyester resin.

Building wood inside the Rob Roy and then removing the fiberglass seems like a hard way to get a wood Rob Roy.

thanks, all
it’s an older boat. i’d like to get it down to all wood and lay one sheet on the hull. it’s a racing hull so weight is important.