1953 Shepherd Runabout: How to Apply Final Coat of Varnish

1953 shepherd runabout final varnish

Yes, she is Voodoo Child, and if all goes well this fall and winter, you can see her in Tavares, FL, at the Sunnyland ACBS show, March 24-26, next spring.

John and RJ are making one final pass hand sanding to a snow field using 400 grit paper. The goal is an absolutely dirt-free, super flat surface, in preparation for applying the 20th and final coat of varnish.

We had her name applied following the 16th coat, to which four more coats have been applied. I am well aware that this issue is similar to asking five economists’ forecast for the economy and receiving at least seven conflicting replies. However, my goal is to provide some UV protection to the vinyl, while also delivering an identically glossy presentation across the transom.

We will allow the varnish to cure until early next week, at which time we will install the dual quad four, 331 cubic inch, V-drive Chrysler Marine Hemi and its drive line. The gauge cluster and the steering, throttle and shifting systems will be installed as well. Add a couple of fender cleats and we should be good to go.

Go where? To splash in Lake Champlain, since, before I can make a final commitment to Sunnyland, I must know she’s ready to romp.

After she triumphs over her sea trial, Voodoo Child will sit for 30 days during which time the varnish will finish curing, or at least have cured sufficiently to support the polishing process that completes her preservation.

Finally, we will put her back together and banish her to storage until March, 2017, when we will tow her south, away from a still-frozen Lake Champlain and equally frozen Vermont.

…Just cannot wait ….

1946 Chris Craft U22 Dutchman Next Steps

1946 chris craft u22 dutchman repair

Following this morning’s video update on the Dutchman repairs John is executing on the port topsides of the 1946 Chris-Craft Brightside U22, he reached for a heavy, 1-inch chisel and began shaving each repair and its associated TotalBoat Thixo Wood 2.0 two-part squeeze-out until it was fair with the topside planking.

He then ensured there will be zero voids in the seam around each Dutchman.

John release the bungs using a Rota Broach, which increased the diameter of several countersinks, so, rather than using Gorilla Glue, which is cures blonde, he used the same tinted Thixo Wood 2.0 as the adhesive.

He will shave the bungs fair using a Japanese cabinet makers saw, at which time the port topsides will be ready for final longboard sanding.

Once he has completed Dutchman repairs on starboard and sanded it fair, we will flip her over and strip the decks, covering boards et al, sand these surfaces fair and be ready for bleach.

Progress is a beautiful thing for sure!

1957 Lyman Runabout How to Mock Up Helm Station Seating

1957 lyman runabout helm station seating mockup

Our 1957 23’ Lyman Runabout’s owners asked us to replace the unworkable, basic helm station seating and storage she was originally fitted out with in Sandusky, OH, with the optional center pass-through alternative.

It will offer a flat floor from the engine box to the firewall, two storage lockers, one behind each “bucket” seat, and additional storage beneath them.

Where to begin? Fortunately the two seating configurations share interior seating pedestals. John began there, shaping and fitting each seat and locker, including the shelves within and the door he will fabricate and install. That door will be fitted out with the traditional Lyman anchor cutout.

John’s ability to imagine and then translate his ideas into a concrete, three-dimensional reality is at least inspiring, if not just a bit intimidating!

1957 Lyman Runabout: How to Fabricate and Install Ceilings

1957 lyman runabout how to fabricate ceilings

Ceilings – hull-side mahogany planking – and helm seating with a center pass-through and storage lockers fixed to the aft side of the forward seatbacks were available options on the 1957 23-foot Lyman Runabouts.

Her original owners opted for the stripped-down configuration, no ceilings and basic seating. The latter included a wide, solid seatback centered in the helm station with two short hinged wings at each end.

Her owners are opting for the upgrades, including a pair of lockers, complete with silhouetted anchors in the doors. Even better, once finished, our optional seating configuration will include a flat floor from stern to firewall, and a small step-up to each helm station seat.

We will fabricate and install the ceilings and mock-up the seating and lockers while her owners are on the east coast. Presenting our concept to them in person helps us reach a joint decision, which must translate into a superior results for all.

1959 Chris Craft 17′ Sportsman Engine Install Alignment is Cricital!!!

1959 chris craft sportsman engine install align

Frustration dominates the shop this afternoon. Why? Whoever last stuffed this 283 into her bilge failed to align the engine and driveline properly, or even at all.

As is clearly evident in the video, we now understand why her original prop shaft was so badly scored and had actual, almost inch-wide grooves worn into it. The shaft log is worn completely out of round as well.

The shaft log can be used, but the prop shaft will be replaced with a stainless one.

You simply cannot just drop the engine onto its mounting wedges, crank down the mounting bolts and then bolt the mating faces of the transmission and prop shaft couplers together with a long ratchet handle. Yes, you can force – distort – them until they appear to mate by reefing on the coupler bolts.

But all you have really accomplished is initiating destruction of the strut bushing, the prop shaft, and the shaft log, while also visiting potentially high-wear forces onto the transmission and engine.

Once properly aligned, and before any bolting begins, alignment is a hands-only process, with the wedges being tapped this way and that, and the engine being teased laterally back and forth until it is impossible to insert a 4 mm feeler gauge between the coupler plate faces when the latter are held in place by hand.

Repeat all the way around 360 degrees while holding the plates in place. If the feeler gauge can be inserted anywhere, the engine is not properly aligned.

Spin the prop shaft and its coupler. When correctly aligned, inserting that gauge remains impossible.

That the original prop shaft was polished along the section passing through the shaft bore as well tells us the latter was bored slightly too small, so we cleaned it out using a Forstner bit on the drilling shaft John fabricated to open the bore until the prop runs without touching any wood once the engine is aligned.

Yes, alignment is a slow and at times incredibly frustrating process, but oh is executing it properly critical to achieving rated horsepower output as well as to the long run viability of your engine and driveline.

John, who spent decades building high-performance engines for mud racers, knows of what he speaks on this front.

1957 Lyman Runabout Bleach & Stand Part II

1957 lyman runabout bleaching and staining

Here is Part II of the crew blasting through the bleach-stain milestones as we apply Wood Kote Products Jel’d Wood Stain on our 1957 23-foot Old Style Lyman Runabout.

Part I’s narrative focused on the how, why and advantages of jel’d over filler stain in these applications. Yes, it is far easier to apply and delivers an incredibly uniform color. It, goes an incredibly long way; we used about 12 ounces to stain everything we stained today. But it is not a filler stain, which translates into a surface that retains most of its cross-sectional declivities – hills and valleys – post staining, especially compared to a filler stain, which is designed, well, to fill these selfsame valleys.

Bottom line even following three full coats of Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer, filling these valleys and thereby achieving the truly flat surface we thirst for requires at least 3-5 additional coats of varnish.

We are not ready to jettison our Interlux Interstain Wood Filler Stain yet, but the ease with which we achieved an absolutely uniform color across all these surfaces makes it truly difficult to hide the Wood Kote in a deep corner of a dark cabinet!

1957 Lyman Runabout: Bleach & Stain Part I

1957 lyman runabout bleach stain

Our 1957 23-foot Lyman Runabout conservation project blasted through two milestones today. We bleached her decks covering boards, toe rails, king planks and helm station bulkhead earlier this week. Today we stained all of the same surfaces and components.

We have long standardized on Interlux Interstain Wood Filler Stain, but have recently been seeing dramatic and superior results using Wood Kote Products Inc.’s Jel’d stains – dark and red mahogany mixed in equal proportions for our Lyman products, and a bit more red relative to dark mahogany for Chris-Craft.

Jel’d stain is not a filler stain and it is not meant to be applied and let sit until it flashes. Instead, it is applied in a circular motion using a terrycloth or old T-shirt rag and then wiped – not scrubbed – off immediately with strokes that follow the grain.

The uniformity of the result is dramatic and easily attained compared to the sweat and blood required to achieve a similar result with a filler stain.

One of the advantages of jel’d over filler stain is that those nasty, light “Oops!!” events we all experience when sanding too aggressively after the first few coats of varnish are easily repaired with a rag and a bit of the jel’d stain. That offending light spot or area disappears, at least in our experience with it thus far.

Part II follows John and RJ as they stain the balance of these surfaces.

1946 Chris Craft Brightside U22 5200 Bottom Patterning

1946 chris craft brightside 5200 bottom patterning

OK, we’ve received a myriad of questions about how, once the hull is ready, we go from 4’ x 8’ sheets of Aquatek Marine Plywood to the inner skin of our True 5200 bottoms. John shares his “tricks of the trade” in this clip.

Once John has fabricated all of the pattern pieces for one face of the bottom, tension builds. If we have done our work well and the hull is true stem to stern and port to starboard, once flipped to the other face, the panels will fit perfectly.

Today they fit within 1/16 – 1/8 inch, which is excellent, given that we began with a corkscrewed, hogged hull. Phew!

Once we have fabricated all of the component pieces, which we dry screw in place so we can ensure an absolutely perfect fit, we release them and begin prepping them for installation.

Each sheet will receive 3 heavy coats of Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer (CPES). [Yes, as Danenberg prescribes, the second coat is applied immediately following the first coat. We then wait 24-48 hours to apply the third coat and give it 48 hours to cure.

Once they are sealed, the inner surfaces will receive a heavy coat of Sandusky Paint Company Chris-Craft Red Bilge Paint, and we will begin installing the skin, piece by piece, heavily bedded in 3M5200.

Before the plywood begins going down, however, we will ensure that all mating frame surfaces have received one light coat of the same bilge pain – again following Danenberg, By this time next week, plywood should have replaced construction paper.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Ding & Dent Repair Using TotalBoat Thixo Wood

dent repair totalboat thixo wood

TotalBoat Thixo Wood 2.0 is the current and much, much improved generation of Jamestown Distributor’s wood-colored thickened epoxy adhesive that has a rich, dark brown finish, blends well with many different woods.

We have achieved even closer color matches in our conservation projects by mixing small amounts of the same Interlux Interstain being used in each project as we prepare each batch. For example removing countersink bungs is absolutely not an exact science. Not matter how careful we are, all too often a bit of the countersink edges comes out with the bung leaving a ragged edge behind. If Gorilla or other waterproof wood adhesive is used when inserting new bungs, those ragged edges, even if just slightly ragged, leave a light circular glue line behind. Glue simply will not take stain. (We did some testing trying to mix a bit of stain with the glue, but the results were worse than awful. Ever tried to mix oil and water? Now you know what happens when you try to get Gorilla or other wood glues to mix with stain.)

Making Dutchman patches invisible present similar challenges. Left behind all too often are the hated light glue lines.

With Thixo Wood 2.0 and a bit of stain, our bungs and Dutchman repairs are almost invisible. We’ve had similarly positive results wherever gluing wood or filling gaps is required. Uncertain and hugely difficult dispensing bedeviled the original formulation until we began sitting tubes in front of the pellet stoves that heat the shop.

Even then we could not be confident that the required 2:1 ratio would be dispensed, and only knew for sure that it was not 24 hours later when the material was still soft to the touch.

Happily Jamestown has improved the formula. Thixo 2.0 dispenses in the correct proportions reliably, and, while heating it a bit helps, it is markedly easier to dispense from a standard caulk gun—even in cooler conditions.

Yes, some reviewers have commented that it is a bit pricey, but in my world, rarely do price and cost vary together. What will it cost you to remove those bungs and Dutchmen, and the halos they sport if you attempt executing such repairs with wood glue? Viewed within this context, Thixo Wood is a bargain.

1940 16′ Lyman Yacht Tender Bottom Priming!

1940 lyman tender bottom priming

Susan, our 1940 16’, Cypress Lyman Yacht Tender’s bottom has reached a critical milestone. Reconstruction followed deconstruction that included releasing the keel, garboards and keelson was followed by fabricating and installing a new keelson.

As of this morning everything is back in place. The keelson and keel were installed bedded in 3M5200. The garboards were secured to the keelson using #6 x 1” Frearson head silicon bronze wood screws. 3M5200 was applied to the seams formed where the garboards and first strakes meet. Then RJ and I, happily with RJ running the clenching iron inside the hull, clenched the seams from transom to bow.

The bottom was faired using four applications of 3M Marine Premium Filler and sanded between coats. John hand sanded all of the strakes, garboards, keel, gripe and stem by hand until the bottom was absolutely fair.

We then applied the fourth coat of Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer from the waterline down. Why so much? Three coats were applied ahead of the Marine Premium Filler, but with everything sanded between coats, applying the fourth coat post-fairing buys additional insurance against water absorption and accumulation attacking paint adhesion and thereby facilitating rot.

From the Smith’s Web site: (CPES) creates a tough, flexible resin system that moves with the wood. It allows the wood to “breathe” so excess moisture does not accumulate behind it, promoting paint-failure and ultimately rot.

We then caulked all of the seams, those where two strakes meet, along the garboard-keel seam and that between the strake tails and the transom.

Milestone reached, Susan is poised for priming, and in our case the primer of choice is Interlux Interprotect 2000E Two-Part Epoxy, five coats of which will be applied over the next two days. Once we reach the target film thickness of 10 mils, Susan’s bottom will be protected against water absorption and it will be time to apply her bottom paint. (Since she will most likely be trailer or lift sailed, we may opt for Pettit Hard Racing Copper Bronze bottom paint in place of the traditional Sandusky Lyman Copper Bronze Antifouling paint, since the latter is designed for vessels that live in the water.)

1957 Lyman 23′ Runabout Decking Time

1957 lyman runabout decking

We’ve just begun, but even laying the ribbon-cut mahogany foredeck panels in place foreshadows just how elegant this old style, narrow strake 23’ 1957 Lyman Runabout will be at the end of her conservation.

RJ jokingly predicts that we will have the fore and aft deck panels anchored down by tomorrow afternoon. What he means is temporarily anchored while we complete the final fitting and sanding in around the perimeters of both decks.

We have stabilized the foredeck’s crown with temporary bracing placed vertically in the V-berth. Once both panels are fastened down along all three sides, the curvature of each panel is secure. Bowing them over the framing also shrinks their width. Once there are secured on both sides, there is no way to force either one flat since the edges cannot spread out. Yes, there will be a very slight bit of settling, maybe an eighth of an inch, which is why the crown is currently exaggerated to that same degree.

The perimeters of the foredeck panels will be bedded in 3M 5200 that we spread on the framing and then secured with #6 Frearson head silicon bronze wood screws along both edges and ring shank nails across the dash. We will not sink any fasteners through the body of either panel, which frees us from filing the surface with puttied fastener countersinks.

Doing so is superfluous as bowing the panels over the framing creates ample down pressure, which forces the panels and frames together. (RJ wins the prize: climbing into the V-berth and cleaning all of the 5200 squeeze-out around the frame members.)

I am getting ahead of my skis, however. Once all four panels have been fitted and secured temporally, they will be released. The edges and undersides will be sealed with three coats of Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer (CPES), and their undersides will receive multiple coats of Sandusky Paint Company Lyman Sand Tan bilge paint.

The toe rails will follow. After being sanding in to perfect inside and outside contours and their bottom sides are sealed with CPES, they will be installed with ring shank nails.

The aft deck panels and aft end of the king plank will be treated similarly.

Sealing and installing the covering boards, also bedded in 3M5200 will follow.

Once she is fully decked, all of her horizontal surfaces will be bleached, stained and sealed.

Varnishing is next … can’t wait!

1940 Lyman 16′ Yacht Tender Keelson, Keel, Gripe & Knee Update

1940 lyman yacht tender bottom work keelson replacement

Our 1940 16’ Lyman Yacht Tender’s spine transplant is complete, and the patient is doing quite well. The new keelson and the keel’s underside received three applications of Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer (CPES). Following Danenberg, who insists that doing so delivers deeper penetration and more thorough sealing, the second coat was applied immediately following the first coat. The third coat was applied twenty-four hours later.

After fitting the keelson and keel to the boat and each other, and sinking a series of temporary position-holding screws through the keelson and into the keel, John bored the rudder and prop shaft bores. He also drilled the holes for the machine-threaded bolts that will secure the lifting ring, yes it is fixed to the keel/keelson and shaft log.

Confident that we could reassemble the pair and still have them matching, we separated them and frosted the mating surfaces with white 3M5200. (White is much less expensive than mahogany 5200 and delivers the same bonding strength. Since the bottom will be primed and painted, spending the extra that mahogany 5200 costs is just wasting money. However, be patient with the white as it takes as much as fifty percent longer to set up than the mahogany.)

After reassembling the now monolith-to-be and driving screws through the keelson into the keel, we installed it on ribs bedded with mahogany 5200. (Any squeeze out here will be visible in the bilge. Even though it will be thoroughly protected with Sandusky Paint Company Lyman sand tan bilge paint, we do not want to risk that a scuff or scrape exposes white 5200 beneath the paint.

John has also completed his knee semi-transplant, a truly complicated Dutchman, as well as fashioning Dutchman repairs to the forward end of the gripe. Once everything is sanded in and sealed with CPES, the bow will be ready for primer.

We will focus on installing both garboards, which will also be bedded in white 5200, over the next several hours, followed by securing the aft tails of the bottom strakes to the transom.

Then Michael “gets” to spend the rest of today and this weekend applying and sanding 3M Premium Marine Filler fairing compound to the countersinks. After a final application of CPES to the entire bottom, and caulking the strake-to-strake seams with 5200, Susan’s bottom will be ready for priming and painting.

Maybe next week?

1940 16′ Lyman Yacht Tender Bottom Work & Keelson Replacement

1940 lyman tender keel keelson gripe knee

John has fabricated and is now focused on installing the 1940 Lyman Yacht Tender’s new keelson. One hint if/when it is your turn to do so. Since the keel, and the keelson are bowed, they must be joined on the hull. While the difference in radii may appear small, there is a difference that will keep the rudder shaft, prop port and other components from lining up if the bores and fastener pilot holes are drilled and fasteners are driven in while the assembly sits on flat surfaces like work tables or saw horses.

John and I first positioned the keelson correctly along the ribs’ lower extremities and drove a half dozen or so temporary screws through the ribs and into the keelson. We then laid the keel in place, clamped everything together and drove position-holding screws through the keelson and into the keel.

Only then were we able to bore rudder shaft and other ports through the new keelson. We then removed the temporary screws passing through the ribs and into the keelson, which released the entire assembly.

It will be separated, receive a final application of CPES and then the keel and the keelson will be joined, yes, again on the hull, with a generous layer of 5200 “frosting” troweled on between the two planks.

Installing the garboards completes the replacement process, but cannot happen until all remnants of the old clench nails are removed.

We will finish fairing her below the waterline and John will complete the work needed on her stem and knee, and it will be time for Interlux PreKote primer.

Three coats of Sandusky Paint Company (SANPACO) Lyman Copper Bronze Antifouling paint

1940 Lyman Yacht Tender Gets a New Keelson

1940 lyman yacht tender new keelson

That we learn every day and with every boat we lays hands on makes wood boat conservation incredibly enriching.

Our 1940 16’ Lyman Yacht Tender, “Susan” has been our latest teacher since RJ and I began setting the below-waterline clench and rivet nails last Friday. (That RJ offered to “drive” the clenching iron while I popped each nail head with a bunch and dead blow hammer was a huge plus for me.)

We began at the waterline and worked strake-by-strake towards the keel. It was then that Mr. Murphy’s reared his ugly head. “Hey! We have a problem! I can see lots and lots of light coming through between the garboard and keel. It looks like the keelson is broken and split.”

Next came backing out what must be one hundred or so screws and then cutting through all of the starboard garboard’s clench and rivet nails. Yes the very ones we had just so carefully tightened!

Out came the garboard, exposing the garboard’s, formerly chamfered starboard edge, or in about forty percent of it, what was left of same.

Sure. We could rip that chamfered edge off wherever it had failed and fit pieces in place. Then, using many tubes of 3M5200 and lots of bilge paint on the other side, we could have hidden our “repair.” It might have even held for a while, but unlikely longer than a season or two at most. Releasing and installing a newly fabricated, white oak keelson is the correct solution, and for us the only one we will put our names on.

So, with the port garboard having joined its starboard counterpart on a wall rack several hours later, it was time to release the keel and keelson.

I believe you will agree that, having viewed what we released in the clip, consigning the original, now 78 year old, keelson to the scrap pile is the best path forward.

1946 Chris Craft Brightside U22 Installing Her Splash Rails

1946 chris craft brightside u22 splash rails

Thank you for the several requests that we record how we install the splash rails on the 1946 Chris-Craft Brightside U22.

Since we must avoid screws punching through into the hull’s interior at all costs, we carefully recorded the length of each fastener as we removed them over a year ago now. That record guides RJ and John as they select and lay out the fasteners to be used in the order they will be sunk through the rails and into the hull planks, battens and frames.

Note in the clip that the rails are varnished. Indeed, we varnish all freed components as we varnish the hull. Therefore, all of them have had seven coats applied at this point. The rails will be sanded flat sometime next week before coat number eight is applied.

We bed the rails in generous beds of 3M5200. Why? Rotted splash rails, the planks behind them, and sadly, in several instances, the hull framing within have also been rotted. Sealing the rails with CPES and bedding them in 5200 guarantees that our U22 will not ever suffer this fate again. (We had to fabricate the rails anew because they had begun rotting. Happily the planks behind them were OK.)

Yes, yes. I know that those rails are all but permanently installed. However, Practical Sailor magazine has recently run tests of adhesion breaker materials that worked well freeing up joints that had been joined with 5200

1946 Chris Craft: How to Sand Varnish to Snow

1946 chris craft u22 sanding varnish

Flat = Gloss

This update on our conservation process at it applies to the 1946 Chris-Craft Brightside U22 is a close sequel to our last update. In that clip John was sanding the decks, covering boards, dash and seat frames by hand using 220 grit and a rubber sanding block – https://youtu.be/83wFzS6fEFM.

He continued and completed that stage and is now focused on the topsides and transom. He sanded the transom as he did the decks, by hand using a rubber block and 220 grit, but then followed with sanding it by hand using 400 grit on his block.

Given the compound curves on the topsides however, he is using one of our Festool random orbit sanders and a very soft sanding pad behind the first 220 grit and subsequently the 400 grit.

As you can see in the clip, the topsides started out far from flat. However, after brushing and tipping seven generous coats of Interlux Perfection Plus Two-Part Varnish onto them, John has lots of varnish to work with, so is being a bit more aggressive than was the case when he sanded – then by hand – between coats three and four.

We will wipe all surfaces down with acetone and install the splash rails ahead of applying coats eight to ten, at which time she will be sanded again.

Happy New Year!

1940 Lyman Yacht Tender: How to Dry Scrape Bottom Paint

1940 lyman yacht tender dry scraping bottom paint

After being urged to give it a try by a local friend and fellow woody conservator, I am using two Bahco/Sandvik scrapers, a two-handed “ergo” model with a 2.5” scraping blade and a Triangle Scraper 625 with a triangle blade.

The two-handed scraper is excellent for cleaning strake surfaces, mostly down to bare wood, and also for making the initial passes along strake edges and the seams between strakes.

I use the triangle scraper for detail work on the strake faces, but especially for cleaning strake edges.

This boat is cypress throughout, and the wood seemed to really soak up the Circa 1850 wood stripper as I removed paint and mostly varnish from the topside strakes and the transom. It also appeared to discolor the wood, which forced me to make a second series of passes using a stainless steel scrubber “sponge” and my Sandvik scrapers.

I tested using chemical stripping on a small area below the waterline, only to have running streams of liquefied copper bronze and red antifouling paint threatening to stain the above-waterline strakes, which will be finished bright.

Reaching for the scrapers is clearly the answer here. The paint being removed remains dray, becomes powdery as it releases and is easily vacuumed.

I am sold on this method for removing bottom paint, at least until it disappoints on some future project.

1959 Chris Craft Sportsman Buffed Assembly Begins

1959 chris craft buffed assembly

I just spent some minutes viewing our intake photographs of this 1959 17’ Chris-Craft Sportsman. A then vs. now comparison is at least startling.

She was so completely dried out; her deck and covering board planking was black, curled and split.

Yet, through our conservation efforts, all but two outermost, tiny, triangular foredeck planks have been saved.

It can be done. Destroying an antique or classic wood boat by simply replacing topside, transom and deck planking, is absolutely not necessary. Nor is it defensible. The perpetrators of such heresy exclaim that their “old” boat is now perfect. Really? Well, since it is now longer an old boat in any historically correct sense of the word, it had better be perfect, because it is now a new boat.

Yes, conservation can be more expensive than wholesale replacement of frames and planking, but additional out-of-pocket-cost is dwarfed by the value added by keeping her as original as possible.

The one exception, and one that the ACBS now recognizes, is installing a True 5200 bottom, since doing so contributes materially to safety.

Snake Mountain Boatworks simply will not countenance such willful destruction. Conservation, as with a fine oil painting or the vintage cars that Restoration and Performance Motorcars of Vermont (http://www.rpmvt.com/) is all about saving all that is original to the absolute maximum extent humanly possible. Would you proudly show a Degas painting that you had completely repainted?

Then how can you proudly display a floating artifact of history clad in completely new wood? New paint or new wood? The horrific result is identical.

Enough said. Assembly has begun as we await Robert Henkel’s completion of completely rebuilding her engine, transmission and all that hangs off of it. Although the wait is very likely to span two months or so, we will have the hull ready for the engine install, and this wonderfully original Chris-Craft will be back with her owners for the 2018 boating season.

1959 Chris Craft Sportsman: How to Buff Varnish (the SMB Way)

1959 chris craft sportsman varnish

Gloss is about flat, which may seem incongruous, but the flatter the surface, the more uniform will be the gloss. Think of a cheap mirror compared to a high-end one. Your reflection in the cheap mirror tends to be wavy, while it is absolutely unwavering in the high-end one.

Why? The surface is uneven in the cheap one and absolutely flat in the high-end one, hence the truer, more consistent reflection of the light hitting it.

Gloss is about flat, and Snake Mountain Boatworks strives for as flat a surface as we can create. The process begins with wet sanding by hand using a rubber sanding block and 1,000 grit wet/dry paper, followed by doing it again with 1,200 grit, and finally with 1,500 grit.

We used to sand with 2,000 grit as well, but discovered that switching to Mequiars buffing crème 101 and 205 instead both saves time and delivers a much deeper, more uniform gloss, which means it helps us get to flatter sooner.

Yes, I have heard the folklore that buffing varnish destroys, or at best dramatically lessens UV protection on the dubious claim that it resides solely in the topmost portion of the varnish film.

To have any validity such a claim would require that each additional coat of varnish somehow bleeds UV protection out of the prior, already partially cured, coats of varnish. Are we to believe that coat 10 somehow liquefies the previous 9 coats, each of which delivers the UV protection “cooked” into the varnish we are using?

Alternatively, if the buffing process employed dramatically “washed” film thickness away, yes, the final UV protection achieved by having applied 12 coats would decrease proportionally were buffing to reduce film thickness to, say, that offered by 9 coats.

Sorry, I cannot get there. UV protection builds with each additional coat increases the film thickness. When we begin with the film thickness delivered by the 20 coats we have applied and allowed to cure for at least several weeks, the buffing with 1,000 and progressively higher grits that follows polishes and flattens the surface. It does not remove significant amounts of film thickness in the process.

Snake Mountain Boatworks will continue buffing and delivering results to our owners that translate into winning most of the shows they enter SMB-preserved boats in, which is the case.

1946 Chris Craft U22 – Bleached “Albino”

1946 chris craft u22 bleached albino

John and RJ trekked between home and the shop periodically into the evening last night, keeping the U22 wet with the two-part Daly’s Wood Bleach we are using, particularly in areas that resisted the bleach.

The result this morning is an albino mahogany U22.

The bleach raises the grain, which is a singular plus for applying the Interlux Interstain in a couple of days.

Once the hull has reached 12-15 percent as measured by our moisture meter, we will lightly hand sand the feathers raised by the bleach, clean the surface with tack clothes and stain using the Danenberg two brown to one red mahogany stain.

CPES will follow. Sikaflex will fill the deck seams, and then, finally, we can begin varnishing the hull.


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