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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 07-27-2008
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finishing wood cabin sides...

Hello all. I am looking at a boat that has clear wood finished cabin sides (exterior) and I am thinking about long-term maintenance. I would want to retain the look of the wood but wouldn't necessarily want to have to strip and varnish it at every turn. What would be the drawback to coating it with resin and a layer of glass so you could still see the wood, but then apply a clear gel coat? Seems to me it would work "on paper" anyway... Any thoughts?
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Old 07-27-2008
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Fiberglass over wood, looks like fiberglass over wood, not a good look.
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Only thing that looks like varnished brightwork is varnished brightwork, "better" "easier" products are a billion dollar industry. Also, fiberglass can get real heavy when you start putting it on.
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Old 07-27-2008
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If you don't love brightwork enough to invest the time and labor keeping it up--then walk away. There are no shortcuts, no miracle solutions, it requires time and money. That's one reason why most folks buy plastic boats.
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Second what HS said... Don't bother trying to fake it... it will be an expensive mistake.
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Coating wooden boats in a layer of "glass" was popular for a while. It turns out the glass ends up holding water inside up against the wood. The wood can no longer "breathe" and the boat ends up rotting out rather quickly.
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HS and SD said it well. They are beautiful but if you can't or are unwilling to do the work yourself and can't or don't want to pay to have the finishes maintained then do yourself and the boat a favor and buy a plastic boat.

Be prepared to devote some of your time or money to maintenance whether you buy a wooden boat or a plastic boat.

If you let your varnish go you will find it necessary to wood and refinish. If you keep up with the varnish, applying periodic maintenance coats and touching up the occasional ding, varnish is not too bad. Break the work down into manageable segments and have the discipline to keep up with it.

If you can't do that then pass and go plastic.

I do my own work and enjoy it but it's not for everybody. Some things are worth working for though!



John
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Old 07-28-2008
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Thank you all for your input. I would guess that if there was an alternative to keeping up wood with varnish it would be the standard instead. Mostly I was just looking at the "why not?" I have no problem with putting in the time and effort to keep up the brightwork in the right way and I generally detest "faster" "easier" methods for doing things because more often than not they compromise quality and are superficial solutions. Sometimes it's nice to bounce ideas off of other people though.

And John, that is an absolutely beautiful boat! Very inspirational.

Unfortunately the boat I was looking at has a layer of glass over the 1" mahogany hull. I was talking to someone about it earlier today and they mentioned that the wood can rot out, if the glass is compromised in any way, without you even knowing it. Bummer, because the boat is in need of some cleaning and other work but otherwise could be just what I am looking for. Think I am going to pass though. You can check it with the link below if you like. I think it's probably priced about $5K too high too.

seattle. craigslist. org /see/boa/770247628. html
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Mr.Honey Do,
Many of us admire all the work and skill that went into boat making over the years. Having wood on my boat is a source of pride and I do work on it fairly regularly. If I had wood on my hull it would be much worse as I would have to do more than just re-paint my boat's plastic bottom every year. Fiberglassing a wood hull can last a fair amount of time but is not nearly as durable as a complete composite hull, IMHO.
I hope you have bags of money stashed away for your 'woodie'! Wooden boats are just out of my budget right now. The cheapest boat is an OPB, other person's boat.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrhoneydew View Post
Thank you all for your input. I would guess that if there was an alternative to keeping up wood with varnish it would be the standard instead. Mostly I was just looking at the "why not?" I have no problem with putting in the time and effort to keep up the brightwork in the right way and I generally detest "faster" "easier" methods for doing things because more often than not they compromise quality and are superficial solutions. Sometimes it's nice to bounce ideas off of other people though.
If there were any decent looking alternative...do you think anyone would still be using varnish???

Quote:
And John, that is an absolutely beautiful boat! Very inspirational.
It is, but I prefer sailing to varnishing.

Quote:
Unfortunately the boat I was looking at has a layer of glass over the 1" mahogany hull. I was talking to someone about it earlier today and they mentioned that the wood can rot out, if the glass is compromised in any way, without you even knowing it. Bummer, because the boat is in need of some cleaning and other work but otherwise could be just what I am looking for. Think I am going to pass though. You can check it with the link below if you like. I think it's probably priced about $5K too high too.

seattle. craigslist. org /see/boa/770247628. html
[/quote]

Was this a wooden boat that was glassed over or was it built this way from the get-go?

If it was a wooden boat that was glassed over, it is generally a bad, bad idea... wooden boats generally need to be able to breathe unless they were built as cold-molded epoxy-wood laminates to start with. Glassing over a wooden boat often yields results like buying a boat with a leaky cored-hull—the wood rots out and to fix it, you have to basically disassemble the boat and re-build it.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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