Refinishing Mahogany on 1966 SPORT 13

Repair or modification of Boston Whaler boats, their engines, trailers, and gear
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Refinishing Mahogany on 1966 SPORT 13

Postby mehelling » Thu Apr 23, 2020 12:42 pm

I'm in the process of refinishing the interior wood on my father's 1966 SPORT 13.

Q1: Was original mahogany interior stained?
Q2: or was it just varnished?

I don't recall the red mahogany tone. I always thought the wood was teak.

ASIDE: I am trying to keep the 13-footer original, keeping the cockpit gel coat blue and the [wire rope and pulleys] steering.

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Re: Refinishing Mahogany on 1966 SPORT 13

Postby dtmackey » Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:43 pm

Whaler used Philippine Mahogany that was lighter in color (less red), but this species of wood is difficult to find due to all the regulation of deforestation and some debate if it's actually a true mahogany (see provided link below). Whaler did not apply any stain and it was varnish only.

The more common mahogany for interior replacement seems to be Sipo and Sapele mahogany and it has a deeper reddish-brown color to it.

To refinish the wood, sand with a grit low enough to remove the old finish and get down to clean wood of a uniform color. Then work up in sandpaper grit to remove all the swirls from the previous sanding. I prefer to end at 180 grit and then apply two coats of thinned varnish that soaks into the wood grain. Then sand with 320 between coats and apply another seven to eight coats.


Tom Hemphill
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Re: Refinishing Mahogany on 1966 SPORT 13

Postby Tom Hemphill » Thu Apr 23, 2020 8:41 pm

DT--thanks for sharing [the link about wood species] and your good, concise advice on refinishing, as well.

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Re: Refinishing Mahogany on 1966 SPORT 13

Postby Schoony » Fri Apr 24, 2020 9:41 am

A 1963 brochure says Boston Whaler used three coats of urethane varnish finish.

I have just finished [a similar wood refinishing] project on my 1963 13-footer. After sanding I noticed the tone of the boards didn't match. I used Minwax-brand gunstock oil base to stain the wood. This corrected the [mismatch among the boards]. To get a glass-smooth finish I had to put on more [than three] coats [of an unspecified varnish]. [I am] happy with the look [of the wood that my refinishing method produced].

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Re: Refinishing Mahogany on 1966 SPORT 13

Postby jimh » Fri Apr 24, 2020 9:58 am

In general, I don't think Boston Whaler delivered their c.1966 SPORT 13 boats with a high-gloss traditional oil-based varnish finish. Three coats of a sprayed-on and thinned urethane sounds about right.

The present condition of the wood finish on a 54-year-old boat is quite variable, depending on how the boat has been mainteained.

Building up a high-gloss varnish finish may not always be the desired appearance for an open 13-foot skiff. If not carefully maintained, a thick, high-gloss finish could be very difficult to sand off for future refinishing.