Spring Varnish

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Brightwork is finiky work.   As an offshore sailor who is pretty rough and tumble, I consider my varnish protection first, perfection second. As a wooden boat owner I am aware not only of the movement of the wood on the boat but also the area’s that take the abuse. Therefor I do things like coat all rounds and surfaces that lay flat to the sun several times. A typical cabinside will get two or three coats on the waterways and eyebrows- to one coat on the horizontal grained cabin wood. Some places will get three cost while others will get one.

Here are a few tricks I have learned over the years that make it a but easier.

  • Clean your surface ( after Sanding ) 3 times. Once with a vacuum, then with a rag with spirits on it and lastly with a fresh tack rag.

I use to tell the people that worked with me doing brightwork in the tropics ” it is all about cleaning” and i would tell my clients “your paying for more then a seasonal coat. Your also getting a complete wash down to your openings including screens, tiles and walls. ”

  • Wait until the pollen has passed and there is no wind

Everyone is in a rush to get evrything knocked off there list for boat season. It pays to do your brightwork on the perfect day with no wind, early in the morning but not so early that dew is around.

  • Always buy and use a new brush.

I now charge one new brush to each job for the last coat. After someone has spent good money on sanding and cleaning they should not have a problem paying 12-18 bucks extra for a new brush, with no dust.

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brightwork on an S- Class Boat

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varnish hatch

varnish on an alden hatch

Varnishing Wooden Boats in New York

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varnish, brightwork

at urbanboatworks we restore and refinish all matters of wood. On land or sea.

As  owner’s of a wooden boat, Julien & I understand varnish and the stable surface that needs to exist below the varnish. We address the under lying cause of varnish failure. ( caulk seam gone bad, bad bung, leaking port lights, not enough build up) When perfection is not required, we know how to lay on for protection. Prepping and painting wooden hulls – cold molded, plank on frame or strip construction is our pleasure. We work with Awlgrip, Kirby Paints and Fine Paints of Europe. Varnish is always Epifanes.

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varnishing Allegro an s class boat

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brightwork on an S- Class Boat

varnish on an alden hatch

varnish on an alden hatch

door varnish

epifanes matte varnish to a west village New York Door

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Paint on Hope a q class wooden boat

Late fall is always a time for me to work on my own boat. The build up on TIGER MARU was thick. It had been 8 years since the last strip. I use an  inferred heater to strip large surfaces. The build up was thick but it only took a half hour to strip the cabin sides. Next I cabinet scraper the wood back to a uniform red color. If not done properly yellow oxidized wood will remain. The scraper ( when sharp) levels the wood out to an even plane. When the sun hits the varnish the rays will bounce off. If the surface is not fair then the rays will absorb into the wood. After the scraping I check to make sure everything is fair. You can run your hand over the surface with your eyes closed. I promise you will feel divits, high and low spots. Scrape away until it feels even. Then I sand with 150-180 to make sure all marks are out. Next comes the varnish which is played on across the grain and thinned for the first 3 coats. This ensures all the pores are filled. Full strength varnish is played on and sanded back with 320 sand paper until the build up looks right. Round eyebrows and the top of coamings gets more coats and is sanded back with a 400 grit sponge.

Keeping WOODEN BOATS alive.

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Keeping wooden boats floating can be daunting. There is always a problem to address and more coats of varnish to apply. Always a race to get to in to short of a time. ( most of us still sail and do not have motors big enough to get us places with out the sail up) The pace of life on a wooden boat is slower but surely good for the soul.  We, wooden boat owners, certainly have an obsession. Wooden boats are a dream. You cant imagine the amount of work and craftsmenship that has gone into a wooden boat. The sound that resonates off a wooden hull while slipping thru the water is mesmerizing and will lull you to sleep. The creaks and groans of a wooden boat are of a primal comfort.

Next weekend is the Antique Boat Show in Kingston New York. It is put on by the Antique  Boat society . These guys are suckers for wooden boats and try to keep wooden boats showing, moving and remembered. www.acbs.org

Soon after starts the classic races on  Long Island Sound, part of the wooden boat series. www.woodenboat.com/community     These september and october regattas are when wooden boat owners get to show off our beauties and compete with each other. It is wonderful to see so many shapes and sizes of wooden boats out and about on these days. Wooden boats are few and far. American’s wooden boat scene is a drop in the ocean of wooden boats when  compared to Europe.

Tiger Maru- Polish Built Boat Tortola sloop David's boat has sailed the world its wood antigua classics Bahamas boat acorn skiff DSC_0261 woodie gutherie off bannermins sland eggimogin reach regatta- no wind at the start DSC_0971 DSC_1436_3 DSCF1350 before the start- Long Island Sound

We are wooden boat lovers. Ice boats made of wood on the ice of the Hudson River.

We are wooden boat lovers. Ice boats made of wood on the ice of the Hudson River.