Date posted: July 15, 2009

Download Removing Paint With Eucalyptus Oil Instead Of Thinner as PDF

Suppress coughs and remove paint at the same time!

It’s no great surprise to those that know about my relation to this hobby that I spend more time with modifications than actually flying the helicopters.  I can’t help it.  Be it a personal touch with LED lights, decals, whatever… I like to set my helicopters apart.

Dare I use the world flair?  If, by some chance, I ever make 37 modifications to a single helicopter, I suppose I’ll have to quit my day job and work at Chotchkie’s.

You know what, Stan, if you want me to wear 37 pieces of flair, like your pretty boy over there, Brian, why don’t you just make the minimum 37 pieces of flair?

I’m not a painter.  I used to paint models as a kid, but that was about it.  So, when I had the idea to purchase some white Blade CPP canopies for a bit of customization, it had been roughly twenty some years since I painted anything.

Needless to say, the first canopy I spray painted was not only dripping with envy.  Canopy painting attempt #2 came out a bit better, just some rough coloring splash for the Fourth of July:

Fourth of July Helicopter Canopy

The first canopy was set aside with personal disgust.  I had sprayed too close, so paint ran and pooled in the plastic bends and curves.  I had a small bottle of paint thinner, but I wanted to clean the whole canopy and start fresh.  I tried using the thinner at first, and was able to remove the paint from the entire canopy.  Well, I thought I had removed all the paint.  Turns out I was just getting high off the thinner fumes and had only successfully brought out the bright white plastic underneath in a small three inch section.

A small headache and thinner-induced hallucination later, I vowed to break this unholy union of paint and plastic I so poorly created.  I just didn’t want to take another trip to do so.  Thinner and I got along swimmingly during my youth, removing a bit of paint off a model airplane’s fin, or an army man’s radio.  An entire canopy, however… Thinner mocked me.  The little I was able to get off still had a stickiness to it from the spray lacquer.

I searched online for alternatives. Something that didn’t make me think ‘chemical bath’ and ‘return to Woodstock’.  I stumbled across a few threads claiming pure Eucalyptus Oil works as thinner.

Hi. I'm oil. Wanna strip?

I figured, what the hell, and purchased a couple of 16 oz bottles of Eucalyptus Oil from All Star Health.  The delivery came just a few days ago, and after opening one bottle and taking a slight whiff, I was immediately transported back in time.

Mom’s Chicken Soup… Cold Compresses… Tissues… Hall’s Cough Drops (Come on, as a kid, Luden’s cough drops were anything but cough drops, we all know this)… and Vicks Vaporub.  It’s that familiar scent.  The oil sure is potent, and in pure form like this, not meant for ingestion in any way shape or form.  That’s it for my disclaimer.

Using a simple dish washing sponge, I applied some oil and went to town. Note to self: Never say the previous sentence out of context. Surprisingly, the sponge and oil dissolved the matrimony of paint and plastic within a few seconds.  I must admit, I was very much surprised as to how well it took the paint off the canopy.  Rinsed the canopy off with some warm water, and now I’m just waiting for it to dry.

From a smell standpoint, I’ll choose the Eucalyptus Oil over regular old paint thinner.  Sure, it’s strong, but much more tolerable.  From a paint removal standpoint, I’m completely won over, and will consider using it over thinner the next time I decide to paint something poorly.  I also gained points with the now ex-girlfriend, who has such an organic / natural / holistic / vegetarian approach to everything that maybe once she knows I used a more natural method to remove paint, she’ll stop trying the Folgers Taste Test of ‘Little did he know we’ve replaced his real taco meat with taco-seasoned vegetable matter‘ for once.