Monday, February 7, 2011

Keepin' it warm

(Originally published on Windborne in Puget Sound)

Speaking of tools... We were speaking of tools weren't we?   Here is one which you should probably have on your boat:

Yep, a heat gun - kind of like a hair dryer on steroids.  This is a serious tool - the air it delivers is so hot that it will set wood on fire - like all serious tools, you should have a care when using it.

And like many tools, when it is needed, it may only be needed for a few seconds, but oh, what a difference those few seconds can make.

Here are some of the things ours has helped with:
  • Formica removal (at the nav station) - heat the Formica enough to soften the contact cement holding it to the wood.
  • Head hoses - coat the outside of the fitting and the inside of the head hose with silicone and then heat the hose (carefully, slowly) until it is pliable.   The hose then goes on the fittings *so* easily, and the hose clamps are much more effective at compressing the hose against the fitting.
  • Heat a piece of 1" head hose enough to get it over a 1 1/4" fitting - this saved our bacon when an engine hose split under way.
  • Heat large-bore shrink tubing for battery cables
  • Soften varnish for removal.  Every so often the brightwork demands that you start over with bare wood.  There is a slip-on scraper that comes with the tool (it goes right over the air nozzle), but I prefer to use my own scraper.
You know you want one.


  1. Would a heat gun be a good tool to remove old adhesive? Such as the adhesive left behind from the old formica?

  2. Hi Erick -
    It Would. But you'd have to be very careful to not burn or scorch the wood underneath. I checked my notes, but unfortunately I did not record how I got the contact cement off of my nav station top after removing the formica. Another approach would be to try chemical stripper (Original ZipStrip in the yellow and black can).



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