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Author Topic:   Refinishing wood
Ron Brassord posted 03-13-2002 07:58 AM ET (US)   Profile for Ron Brassord   Send Email to Ron Brassord  
I am in the process of revarnishing the wood on our 85 15' whaler. The original finish is 90% intact, but there are some bare spots. My question is how to get the bare spots to match the original light color? Sanding the bare spots brings up the redish mahogany natural color. Would a bleach work, or is a stain needed?
Thanks for any help
Ron Brassord Lighthouse Pt. Fl
JBCornwell posted 03-13-2002 09:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for JBCornwell  Send Email to JBCornwell     
Hi, Ron.

Have you stripped the old finish? If there is any of the original polyurethane finish left, it must be sanded off completely.

BW did not stain or bleach the original, so restoring the finish should not require anything more than sand-sand-sand-sand-varnish-sand-varnish-sand-etc. If there is injury, it can be filled with pre-colored filler.

Maybe a little more sanding would be required where the old finish had departed.

Red sky at night. . .
JB :)

whalerron posted 03-13-2002 11:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for whalerron  Send Email to whalerron     
If you sanded down to bare wood in some spots, you may need to fill the grain with some paste wood filler before refinishing. Whether or not you need to do this depends on whether or not you sanded enough to remove the original filler.
OutrageMan posted 03-13-2002 12:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for OutrageMan  Send Email to OutrageMan     
The whole purpose here is to sand to bare wood. Sanding some areas and using filler is just creating much more work.

Just sand everything to bare wood. If the wood looks new, then you have sanded enough. Then start applying your finish.


browning20ga posted 03-13-2002 12:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for browning20ga  Send Email to browning20ga     
I've done a lot of woodwork over my 58 years and once your at the point your at, you need to take it ALL down to bare wood and start from scratch, or you won't be happy with the finished results. The bare spots will never match exactly. I used a Porter Cable random orbital sander with a 5" disk, 100 grit. Its a hog that will remove all the old finish, very fast and not leave marks on the wood, a little final sanding with the grain and your ready to refinish with a good spar varnish.
JFM posted 03-13-2002 01:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for JFM  Send Email to JFM     
It's easier to plane the finished wood where you can. If all the wood came from the same lot, just varnish. If you have to add new wood stain all to match before you varnish Regards, Jay
SteveC posted 03-13-2002 02:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for SteveC    
I vote for the belt sander on the solid wood parts (be really careful, one seat takes maybe 10 minutes) and the Porter cable randon orbit sander (this is a pretty big right angle sander, not the palm type) on the plywood part, the trick is not to remove more than the top ply of the plywood, which is the right color. If the wood is flat a the planer may be best for the seats, but if cupped, this may remove alot of material. The "original light color" may be UV fading which would be really hard to match. I think the key is to keep the boat covered when not in use to extend the life of the finish.
JFM posted 03-13-2002 03:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for JFM  Send Email to JFM     
Steve when did Whaler go from solid wood (mahogany) to plywood? Jay
SteveC posted 03-14-2002 11:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for SteveC    

I'm not sure about other boats, but on my early 70's 13' (with bow smirk), the cover of the rope locker at the bow is 3/4(?) ply. The rest is solid wood, allowing much more room for more aggressive sanding.

Tom W Clark posted 03-14-2002 01:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

In case to point hasn't yet been driven home, you need to take it down to bare wood. There are several ways to do this.

You can sand it down. You can use a belt sander or a random orbital sander as suggested. But you best buy stock in 3M Corp. because you will go through a lot of sand paper.

You can stuff your parts through a thickness planer but DO NOT ask to come over to my shop and use mine. This is tool abuse and I do not recommend it. (I will confess to having done things like this in the past and thus I've learned my lesson) The other problem with planing is that unless you are very experienced you can very quickly take off more than you want or need to. You could also, theoretically, use a hand held power plane but I can just about guarantee that will make a mess of things in a big hurry.

Chemical strippers will be the most gentle in terms of preserving the wood but it can be expensive, slow and messy. I suggest you use "Jasco Premium Paint and Epoxy Remover" if you go this route.

You can take the parts to a commercial stripper and have them "dipped" but this will be harder on the wood and again, will be more money out of pocket.

What I would do if it were me is use a heat gun to strip the majority of the finish off and then use a random orbital sander like SteveC describes (mine is a model #7335) to clean it up.

I have not stripped a polyurethane finish with a heat gun but I have stripped lots of varnish and it comes off very easily, much easier than paint. Use a painter's "5-in-one" tool. It has a sharp edge between 2.5" and 3.5" depending on what brand you buy. Hold the blade just behind where the heat gun is pointed and move the two tools together down the length of the woood piece taking the finish off in one long strip. DO NOT stab at it, it should just peel off.

No mater what technique you choose you should completely disassemble the wood parts so you are working on one single piece of wood at a time.

OutrageMan posted 03-14-2002 01:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for OutrageMan  Send Email to OutrageMan     

Can I come to your shop and use your planer? I would use mine, but this wood I got has come from pallets, and I am not sure I have all of the nails out, and its pretty gritty. Better your tools than mine.

One note about sanders. I have jumped on the Tom Clark bandwagon, and invested in a Fein sander. I got the 6" ROS. I can say without hesitation that this is by far the best sander I have ever used! It is a bit agressive with a 5/16" stroke and 7500 RPM, but it is also very precise, no vibration, and very well balanced.

I am not sure my PC 333 will be seeing very much action in the future.


JFM posted 03-14-2002 08:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for JFM  Send Email to JFM     
Brian, for the price of a Fein sander ( by far the best), you can buy a new complete set of mahogany for your boat! Regards, Jay
phatwhaler posted 03-14-2002 08:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for phatwhaler  Send Email to phatwhaler     
Those little 50 dollar Porter Cable sanders from Home Depot work great. The disks are a little pricey but you won't need many.

Fein tools are great, but they are way expensive, and unless you do this work for a living they aren't even close to worth the money.

I also like Interlux Schooner varnish #96. Follow the directions on the can and you'll be in business. Use a foam brush, and only stroke in one direction. This will help cut down on some of the bubbles. You way want to do this inside were no trash will blow in your work. Also, don't use the foam brushes from Home Depot because they have too large a grain that makes putting a nice smooth coat on more difficult.

I used to have a 20 ft Shamrock with all kinds or teak. I took everything down to parade rest and applied ten coats of #96. Damn boat looked like a little Yacht.

You may also want to check out the buffed out Cetol that's on a 18 outrage somewhere on this site. It looks reel nice and Cetol will last much longer than varnish.

Phatwhaler out.

OutrageMan posted 03-14-2002 09:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for OutrageMan  Send Email to OutrageMan     
Yes, the sander was expensive, but once you try one you wont go back.

I have use foam brushes for a while. I encourage their use. However, I am thinking about trying a different method on some scrap mahogany I have sitting around.

I am going to try a variation of the french polish method. Only instead of charging the rubber with shellac, I would use spar varnish.

I am patiently waiting Tom Clark's response to this one :)


JFM posted 03-14-2002 09:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for JFM  Send Email to JFM     
Brian, I must confess, I too have Fein sanders and also their shop vac. Far and above the best.
Also, I use cut spar varnish on mahogany stained or unstained and then sand and go to full spar with excellent results. Regards, Jay
anthonylisske posted 12-29-2005 04:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for anthonylisske  Send Email to anthonylisske     
Need advice,

I have just finished remaking some mahogony partts for my 21'. RPS etc.... I hand coated the inside of the RPS prior to putting it together, but I was considering spraying out the whole peice. I have a nice brinks spray gun, and I have sprayed out oars etc.... but is there a deficit to doing this? Maybe I should do the 50/50 coats by hand and then spray?

please advise

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