Battle of the Strippers

I purchased the following paint strippers and forced them to compete.   The battlefield: the bottom of a 1954 Lyman Islander Boat.

This is not a scientific test, since only one kind of paint was tested, and I don't even know what kind of paint it is.   

Let's meet the Strippers


In Alphabetical Order we have:

Bullseye the 'safer' paint and finish remover.

   It is billed as a 'soy-based', and yet in this technical data sheet it says:
  'warning:  Contains methanol, methylene chloride, methanol, toluene, and dipropylene.    I'm not sure why the list 'methanol' twice.  Maybe the fumes are a little thick at the factory...   I also don't see it as being 'soy-based' since I thought that methlene chloride is what makes the scary strippers work.
Cost $9.98 / Pint = $0.62/oz

Citristrip - 'safer' paint and varnish remover

From the WMBAR company website:
A powerful, industrial-strength remover. It is easy to use because it stays wet and active for up to 24 hours, allowing stripping of multiple layers in one step. It contains no methylene chloride, is non-caustic and is safe for indoor use. This special orange stripper has a pleasant citrus scent and is biodegradable. Use CITRISTRIP®’s all-purpose stripping gel to remove multiple layers of latex and oil-based paint, varnish, lacquer, enamel, polyurethane, shellac, acrylics and epoxy from wood, metal and masonry surfaces. Your satisfaction is guaranteed!
Citristrip MSDS excerpt

   OK, so it's made from Crystal Meth, Cocaine, and Oranges.    Sounds good.
Cost: $11.88 /Qt =  $0.37/oz

Jasco Premium Paint and Varnish Stripper

  It apparently is not as 'safer' as the others.    There are plenty of warnings here.  It is a Methylene Choride scare stripper which you have to be careful with.  
Jasco Premimum paint stripper msds sheet

Interestingly, it is made by WMBAR also, the maker of Citristrip.  Basically,  Methylene Choride, Methanol, and mineral spirits
Cost $27.97/128oz  =   $0.22 / oz

Klean Strip

  ok, this is made by WMBAR also.   
klean strip msds sheet excerpt
But it is a little different.   It has isopropyl alchohol and ethanol in it.   
Cost: $10.24/Qt = $0.32/oz

Motsenbocker's Lift Off Paint and Varnish Remover

  This says it is biodegradable,   The Mostenbocker website says:
"This gel works faster than traditional solvent–based formulas by breaking down the molecular bonds within minutes of application, while being safe and easy to use! Our patented formulation successfully strips enamels and acrylic paints, shellacs, varnishes and other solvent and water–borne coatings and stains."
motsenbockers lift-off msds excerpt
  So it is made of acetone, mashed up plants, and a SECRET INGREDIENT!!
Cost:  $9.98/Qt = $0.31/oz

The Battlefield

The strippers will be competing to strip more than one layer of paint off the bottom of a 1954 Lyman Islander, a wooden power boat.  This was done indoors with no wind, at about 72 degrees with medium humidity.   It was raining all day outside.

Strippers  - the battlefield
   Bullseye didn't smell very much, was easy to pour,  and went on very nicely with the brush  Used only about 1/4 oz to cover
   Citristrip is a gel, and it went on thick.  It had a nice smell, almost was tempting to taste it but not really.  Used 1/2 oz or more to cover
   Jasco is a slime like you find on a giant slug that had mutated in a chemical factory waste pipe hard to pour without making a mess and stank. 1/2 oz to cover
   Klean Stripper smells just like Jasco, but was much easier to pour and went on very nicely with a brush.    1/4 oz to cover
   Lift Off seemed like Bullseye.  Didn't stink, went on nicely.   Caused a slight color change upon applicaiton though, unlike Bullseye  maybe 14 oz to cover

The Battle Scene at 5 minutes in
Strippers 5 minutes into the fight
Bullseye just looked wet, not activity
Citristrip already had dry spots after one minute even though it went on kinda thick.  After 5 you can see it is more than 1/2 dry
 Jasco and Klean Strip look about the same.  They bubbled within one minute.
Lift Off hasn't done anything besides a slight fading of the color

Well after 7 minutes, Citristrip was pretty dry, so I decided to give them all a 2nd coat.   That seemed more fair than just doing another coat of Citristrip.

That 2nd coat used up all of my Citristrip, and I had to mop up the last little bit in the container to try and cover the little square of bottom.  Jasco was about the same.

 15 minutes have expired 
15 Minute Timer Expired

The amounts left over in containers
amount of stripper left over in containers

Stripper results after 15 minutes but before scraping
Strippers after 15 minutes
Bullseye may have taken some paint off above the fasteners, but besides that it just looks wet.
Citristrip finally bubbled in the last few minutes - I'm glad I put another coat on
Jasco and Klean Stripper have really gone to town.
Lift-Off was still wet, and there slight signs of maybe some bubbling but I couldn't really tell.

Scraping Results
Strippers scraping results for all
Bullseye was a complete washout.   Scraping seemed to remove some dirt.  Maybe it would be better as a cleaner.
Citristrip definitely was working, and took the red coat off fairly well
Jasco had really done its job well.  The paint lifted right off.
Klean Strip worked just as well if not better than Jasco, despite the fact that we used 1/2 as much
Lift-Off was the big surprise.   At the last minute, it worked almost as well as Citristrip at taking off the top layer  However, we didn't use all of it, and it was still wet after 15 minutes.

Final Results
Battle of the Strippers final Result

Final Results:

If money and time are the most important factor, I would say Klean Strip wins the battle.   It was easy to handle, went on very well with a brush,  and stripped both layers off with easy despite only using 1/2 oz.   At $0.32 per oz that makes it the most economical also, considering that I used so much less than Jasco.      Citristrip did the best of the less toxic three, but it took the most to cover and was drying really quickly.   Possibly covering Citristrip with plastic wrap would have made it more economical.  Lift-off went on easily and used a lot less than Citistrip and did not dry out.    It did not take as much of the 2nd layer off (as compared with Citristrip), but perhaps it would have if given more time.   They are about the same price, but I used much less Lift-Off than Citristrip.   So I believe that either are a good choice.   Citristrip smells nice but you have to deal with the drying issue.

Bullseye was the big flop.   Even after an hour, the paint did not lift, it just kinda dissolved a little.   As you scraped you would expose some wood, but really it didn't seem to be affecting the adhesion of the paint to the wood.   Perhaps Bullseye is made for Latex paint only.