A better title for this post might be: Can you really remove epoxy once it has cured? Because it is not easy. The most popular method out there right now seems to be acetone, which is a lot like rubbing alcohol in that it is colorless and very flammable. The belief out there is that rubbing some acetone on to cured epoxy will loosen it up and allow one to scrape the epoxy off.
Now, acetone might be all well and good for thinning epoxy BEFORE it has cured, but best of luck to you if you are attempting to use acetone to clean off a surface that has already been treated with hardened epoxy. Epoxy is tough. That’s why you coated whatever you’re working on in the first place.
It may be that allowing the acetone to soak in/on the coated wood or surface for an extended period of time can make the epoxy a little more malleable, but the results might not be all that you are hoping for, or all that other sources might have led you to believe. There is a particularly unhelpful article on ehow.com, for instance, that makes it sound like a real piece of cake to remove cured epoxy resin.
In my experience, a product like acetone can be a great complementary item to have on hand when attempting to get rid of unwanted epoxy. First and foremost, though, what you are going to want is heat, and a lot of it. Remember when you were first applying the epoxy in question, and it became very warm while it was curing? Well, at the time, the epoxy was also very workable. And that’s the condition that you need to help the epoxy resin return to if you ever hope to ‘work’ with it again.
Buy or borrow a heat gun. You’ll have your best chances of success if you heed this advice. Blast your surface with heat for what seems like forever. Slowly, the epoxy will begin to soften up. When I said that you’d be able to ‘work’ with it again earlier, that was a bit of an exaggeration. We’re really just telling you how to remove epoxy, and it isn’t easy. Even taking the two main steps outlined in this article, you’re going to be gouging and clawing at that epoxy garage floor, or whatever you’re working on. Take heart though, it can be done, and with great results. Just don’t go into the project thinking it’s going to be a walk in the park.