View Full Version : Getting epoxy off?

Rick Potter
11-02-2011, 11:51 AM
My brother called yesterday, and said he had just bought an old WPA plaque, which was apparantly on a building from the 30's. It is heavy bronze, 18" X 24", and has been covered by a thick coat of clear epoxy.

He would like to remove the epoxy. I had no clue how to do it without damaging the plaque. Anyone have any experience with this??

Rick Potter

David G Baker
11-02-2011, 12:07 PM
Acetone may work. I helped build race car bodies out of fiberglass when I was a kid, we used Acetone to clean our tools and hands (don't recommend for hands). It worked.

Matt Meiser
11-02-2011, 12:27 PM
Is he trying to preserve any existing patina? If not, there are strippers for epoxy. Where you get them I don't know but I found some in a quick Google search. He could also consider media blasting--probably not sand but maybe one of the less abrasive options. He needs to find a competent professional for the later for sure since you could do a lot of damage too.

Rick Potter
11-03-2011, 2:05 AM
Thanks guys,

I will give him your ideas, and let him run with it.

Rick Potter

Dick Strauss
11-03-2011, 9:08 AM
Be aware that the gov't is trying to get many WPA/CCC pieces of art back. I don't know how they feel about plaques from their buildings...? Here is a quote from an article on the subject:

The fact sheet does not mince words about who owns the art-- the United States Government. Citing the Constitution as well as relevant court rulings, it reads: "Federal property can only be disposed by an act of Congress, either by general or enabling legislation (such as GSA's authority under the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949) or by specific legislation." Furthermore, "the courts have held that the Federal Government cannot abandon property." Those still hazy on this point can read on to see that "It is well settled that title to property of the United States cannot be divested by negligence, delay, laches (whatever those are), mistake, or unauthorized actions by subordinate officials."

Hee's the full article... http://www.artbusiness.com/wpa.html

Take care,

Bonnie Campbell
11-03-2011, 9:30 AM
Just saying.... Laches: (law) legal doctrine that a person who waits too long to bring a claim alleging a wrong shall not be permitted to seek an equitable remedy

Rick Potter
11-04-2011, 2:51 AM

I will tell my brother about that too!

Rick P

Dick Strauss
11-04-2011, 9:40 AM
I agree that the gov't shouldn't be coming back to reclaim these items after neglecting them for years! If the items were stolen, that is a different story.

Rick Potter
11-04-2011, 11:14 AM
For the record, my brother bought it at a renovation/reclaimation place, where they sell stuff off of tear downs.

He plans to inset it in a masonry mail box column. His whole house is full of architectural details he picked up here and there, like old piano or sewing machine panels.

Rick P

Dan Hintz
11-04-2011, 11:21 AM
For the record, my brother bought it at a renovation/reclaimation place, where they sell stuff off of tear downs.
If it's guv stuff, they need special permitting... and I do not know if that permit allows for sale of anything removed during renovation (but I'm going to guess 'no').

Jim Koepke
11-04-2011, 1:51 PM
He plans to inset it in a masonry mail box column.

Putting it in a place where the public can see it may create more problems than he wants if he can not gain a clear title to the piece.


tyler mckee
11-04-2011, 5:56 PM
Heat will usually soften epoxy, he might try a heatgun and scraper to start with.

Mac McQuinn
11-06-2011, 11:08 AM
Perhaps talking to a manufacturer like West System/Gougeon Bros. could shed some light on how to remove the epoxy w/o damaging things.