“Lasers”, Kevin Fitzke’s Plan To Rid The Planet Of Old Varnish


The future is here!

This past spring, Mark Setterholm told me about a new laser he had gotten. Kevin Fitzke and him were stoked that this was indeed a game changer. And now, the world can take a gander at it. And use it! Like today.. this year. Now. Not in 30 years.

Removing old varnish is a true pain, and comes with all sorts of misery. But this does it with perfection and well.. WOW!

Laser Stripping Varnish from Fitzke Boatworks on Vimeo.

Now, do not be confused with the smaller lasers that remove rust and so on. This is a serious professional tool. And Kevin has been perfecting the process. The stats are insane on this machine.

Riva Super Florida – Laser Stripping Varnish from Fitzke Boatworks on Vimeo.

 The services offered are: Option one is me using the laser to remove the old finish off the client’s boat and then the client does the new staining and varnishing (this is great for the DIYer that doesn’t want to deal with chemicals or heat-gun technique).
The second option is for me to laser the boat and apply new stain/varnish.


11 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Now that is a game changer for stripping a boat!
    When you buy one, can the Michigan gang borrow it once in a while?

  2. Kelly Wittenauer
    Kelly Wittenauer says:

    Holy crap – that’s amazing! No doubt the cost of one of these machines would also elicit a “Holy crap”, as well.

  3. Scott K
    Scott K says:

    Having spent more time than I care to remember standing in front of a sandblast cabinet, I have marveled at the videos of lasers removing corrosion from metal.
    But having the bandwidth to also tackle something much more delicate is incredible. What a phenomenal labor saver!! When it comes time to strip the finish off of the SeaBird, with its exterior lapstrake and inner exposed frame / oak battens, Mr Fitzke will be getting a call.

  4. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    I see it also removes paint from wood and wonder if it also does painted surfaces applied to fiberglass hulls. I have a 23′ CC Lancer with an amateur paint job that I started peeling off with a single edge razor blade. It comes off without damage to the white gel coat but is very labor intensive because you have to get the blade at just the right angle and gently catch the paint edge to peel up. As you can see it is a very tedious job but removing the blue/green paint to get to the original white gelcoat would be desirable.

  5. Rabbit
    Rabbit says:

    Kevin is just an amazing craftsman. Yet, not afraid to use technology where it makes sense. This makes a ton of sense!

  6. Dan Overbeek
    Dan Overbeek says:

    WOW, WOW, WOW! Did we find out a price on the unit? What would it cost approximately, to strip a typical 18’woody runabout boat, deck, sides and bottom? Just curious! That is cool!

  7. Walt
    Walt says:

    Where is Fitzke Boatworks? I went on their website and they don’t seem to have their address anywhere on the website. I guess this is something we are all supposed to know already.

  8. tom
    tom says:

    It looks as if he’s making two passes, the first is getting the varnish and some stain off, the second finishes off the rest of the stain? Is there any sanding afterwards?


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