Cetol:What a mess! ideas, please...

well I  ran  out  of  MAS  so  decided  to  go with  some  WEST epoxy . needed  to  put  a  coat  on  the  inside bottom areas   of  the (finished) eastport  pram as  i believed  that's  where  the  h 2 0  would lay. the  WEST  EPOXY seemed  to  dry  fine.  BUT  when  i  put  a  coat  of  CETOL  natural  onto  the  WEST , the  CETOL  refused  to  dry,  stayed   tacky  for  3  weeks. (note  almost  3  weeks  of  dry  time  between 1  coat  WEST  and  1st  coat  CETOL. the  CETOL  and  west  manufactureres  all  claim  there  should  be  no  incompatibility...  well  i  am  here  to  tell  you  there  is.it's  now  Oct.  and  the  CETOL  i  applied  aug 15th  is  still  tacky..  i  can  leave  fingerprints  in  it  , it's  so  sticky.. NB  this was a  brand  new  can  of  CETOL,  and  i  followed  direcxtions  on the  can..)


so  now  i  have  to  get  the  CETOL  off  the  epoxy --  have  tried  scraping ,  didn't  want  to  try  a  chemical  for  fear  it  would go  thru  the cetol  and  eat  into the  epoxy.  any  ideas/  use  a  heat  gun ?  use a  chisel/  putty  knife ?  paint  scraper..? sanding  doesnt  work  as  the  cetol is  so  gummy  it  fills  a  sheet  of  sandpaper  in  about  30 seconds.


i had fond hopes  of  launching  labor  day  which  needless to  say  did  not  happen  as  the  CETOL  just  refused  to  dry. 


i  think  i  will  varnish  over  the  epoxy  when  i  get  this  darn  stuff  off...


 any  one  have  any  suggestions  short  of  sanding  off  the  CETOL ?? 

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RE: Cetol:What a mess! ideas, please...


First (to make sure this never happens to you again), reading the CETOL literature it should have been totally compatible with the epoxy. So the problem is probably that the epoxy blushed. WEST tends to do that at the drop of a hat. If the blush doesn't get cleaned off, paints and varnishes stay tacky. Sounds exactly like your symptoms. So in the future, scrub the epoxy with water and a scotchbrite pad, maybe some dishwashing soap before putting on any paint, varnish, etc. You would have probably been OK with MAS, System 3 or one of the other non-blushing epoxies.

But that's for the future. For cleaning up this mess without chemicals a scraper would be best. Do not use a heat gun, it'll soften the epoxy.

Since the epoxy has been there close to 2 months, it should be fully cured. In that case it should be able to stand up to chemicals now. Orange Goop hand cleaner gets off gummy residues, is safe for skin and is non-toxic. I used it to get duct tape residue off my epoxy a few years ago. Goof-Off also gets rid of gummy residues, but it's petroleum-based, so it's toxic. I've also used that on fully cured epoxy.

I would recommend scraping and chemicals. Then when you're as clean as it gets, sanding. Finally wash it with water, then wipe it down with denatured alcohol. Apply a new coat of epoxy to reseal any cracks & scratches. When that cures, wash it as above to get rid of any blush. Give it a light sanding with #220, wipe it down with denatured alcohol, let it dry and you're ready for the CETOL, varnish, paint, etc.

Good luck,



RE: Cetol:What a mess! ideas, please...

Contact MAS Epoxy, they have a product called Bio-Solv which will work well. Give them a ring on the phone and talk about your problem, great company and you will really get to talk with a live person...


Bio-Solv is an environmentally friendly solvent that can be used in place of Acetone, Xylene, MEK, thinners and other petroleum-based solvents.

It effectively cleans or prepares surfaces to be painted or epoxied, removes adhesives and cleans tools. Bio-Solv is a tried and proven green solvent with a 500+ KB Cleaning Value, that out performs traditional solvents such as Acetone, Xylene, MEK, Toluene, Lacquer thinner and other solvents.

A True Green Alternative Solvent

  • 100% Bio-based, Bio-degradable, and carbon neutral

  • No Ozone Depleting Chemicals (EPA SNAP solvent)

  • No Global Warming Compounds

  • No Environmentally Hazardous Ingredients

  • Made from renewable resources

  • Developed in partnership with U.S. EPA DfE program

  • Not Listed on California Prop 65

Bio-Solv is ideally suited for a variety of marine, automotive and industrial cleaning and surface preparation applications including resin solving, paint and graffiti removal, vinyl graphic removal, adhesive clean-up, parts cleaning, and degreasing. Bio-Solv can be easily recycled though simple filtering or distillation for repeated reuse, and the low evaporation rate and high solvency formula can significantly reduce overall solvent usage. It contains no water and is completely reactive, unlike other green solvents which may contain up to 50% water.

Bio-Solv is a nonflammable, non toxic, high performance blend of green solvents designed as an alternative to hazardous and highly flammable petroleum based solvents.  It contains no Hazardous Air Pollutants and is not a HAZMAT.


RE: Cetol:What a mess! ideas, please...

Carey M. - Sorry you had the problem you did, but I have to correct your comment that "The Cetol and West manufacturers all claim there should be no incompatibility".

No one here on the tech staff answering phones and e-mails would ever say Cetol cures over epoxy. The issue is not blush - despite the  comments by Laslo. Cetol needs to be absorbed into the wood in order to cure properly - it is not a varnish. It is a polymer coating with a different chemistry. Since it's not fully cured it will probably come off with a solvent (acetone or lacquer thinner) or you can use the Bio-Solv or any other chemical stripper. To use a stripper just work in relatively small sections about 2 sq. ft. and neutralize with water before moving on to the next section.

FYI - Any epoxy hardener that uses amine chemistry in the hardener has the potential to blush - if you're told otherwise you're being sold a bill of goods. That said, some formulas blush more readily - others don't. All three companies, MAS, System 3, and West System, have systems that blush and systems that don't. I can tell you that for clear coating wood the West System 105/207 system is as blush free as ANY system being sold by any manufacturer, with the added benefit of being sandable and structurally strong after an overnight cure. Most "no blush" formulas are quite slow because the amines are large, hindered molecules and so don't easily react with the CO2 at the interface with the air but as a result react slowly with the resin as well. 

Laslo is right that blush is water soluble and comes of easily with water and can interfer with the cure of some coatings, particularly LPU's.


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