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11111111 &YiYLI
C to Nre, I a 1 14 ^
strip me once, s
the more things change, the more they stay
again, it's been
the same ...
How To:
A few words about the enduring nature of brightwork
Bleach off a fi
Strip with a he
Remove finis
Dry-scrape . .
afflictions and cures ... Know when a

Dreamboat turns nightmare CHAPTER SIX

Choosing a path of brightwork stewardship
Levels of varnish deterioration, and their cures it's a thankless
How To:
CHAPTER THREE 30 Sand bare wo
now, about varnish—in a nutshell Bleach out su
Create a smo
What's the basic formula? Varnishes and solvents, briefly!

The companion volume to




Oil your brightwork, for various reasons
CHAPTER NINE 92 it's a materials w
i me twice, strip me once
the varnished truth Various products
ng, long time .. .
and some genera
How To:
Varnish, with as much unvarnished guidance as CHAPTER THIR
(Jun I can muster .. .
thrll Inquire chemical strippers extra! extra! read
you must CHAPTER TEN 1 00 Books, printed m
how to sand a finish off brightwork junkie
now, let's try to keep it that way, soldier
62 How To:
Set up and keep the maintenance program .. . I NDEX
end your name is Somebody...


cabin soles, decks, and spars. oh my!
Lei preparatory detailing Three special brightwork challenges

The companion volume to




through other people's junk. One lazy Saturday morning on such to me. The word Mo
an excursion, I found myself spelunking through the tightly hinted at the possibil
crammed basement of a recently deceased member of the
painting trades. The dear departed, who according to his not very The Modern Paint
emotive wife had "spent forty-five years up a ladder," had been putting together th
something of a pack rat. Among his now devalued treasures— have been put to use
Q more things buried in old, musty tarps between stacks of antediluvian is- has been complete
sues of Popular Mechanics—languished a paint-spattered copy such a way as to de
kh e more they
of what must have been the bible of the coatings trade back at work.
the turn of the 20th century. Gold-leafed lettering regally pro-
the same - claimed the title: "How much?" I
and, likely wising up
Modern Painter's Cyclopedia manded no less than

the mor
Old paint on canvas, as it ages, sometimes becomes transparent. When th
see the original lines: a tree will show through a woman's dress, a child mak
an open sea. That is called pentimento because the painter "repented,"cha
that the old conception, replaced by a later choice, is a way of seeing and the

In- /riy'htwoi k, to the- /aym7 mf our rn6m

^ 71 ng 6
/ike skiff of wp o Tow, to G^tray o-w deyree-.' c

14 the brightwork enigma

lits. But she knew she had me and stood her price. I bummed He will probably know as much about it if told to dip his brush in the
.1 buck from my son and fled with the book and butterflies in my varnish pot and rub it on the surface where it is wanted as he would
,t() mach, tingling at the possibility of having unearthed a bona fide in a long essay which he will get mixed up in, and which will puzzle
by sure. him much more than it will enlighten him.

One of the greatest drawbacks to the beginner in his attempts at My sentiments exactly! In fact, echoing through many of the
applying varnish is his fear that he is putting on too much and that pages were countless paraphrasings of my own sentiments, so
it will sag. Therefore, he works and works it out to the last limit; he many that elation and carsickness eventually gave way to a cloud
does what is known as "skinning it on" in varnish slang. Now, of d^j^ vu. The author of this book, the mysterious F. Maire, had
skinned on varnish never looks well and makes the job look like a seemingly appropriated techniques, advice, and philosophies that
man in a dress suit with plow shoes on. Varnish, to look well, must I myself had published in so many words in 1990, in Brightwork.
lie put on full. But how was this possible? My book had come into print ninety-
some years after his. (Or hers?) I realize the implications here
I, the wimp who never reads in cars, finally pulled my nose would logically indict me, but this volume did not come into my
H the book's ivoried pages when we were halfway home, hands until my book was enjoying its fourth printing. I had writ-
.111.1 !hen only because a cloud of carsickness had begun to set- ten mine, at least the chapters that chanted methodology, from
il me. When we arrived, the ladder remained tied atop personal experience. With my own two hands I had varnished and
,ir and life swirled about and without me as I remained prepped and developed the body of knowledge limned in those
1,7 seat, entranced, unstringing pearls of ancient finishing pages. Was this author prescient of my ten years at the mast?
on. Had I somehow, unwittingly, been a time-traveling thief?

the inoi e 15
Neither, of course, is the answer. We had both developed our for spar varnish, the old, reliable finish that people keep coming
finishing gospel by dipping into a community well of varnishing back to after all the "modern" cans on the shelf disappoint.
wisdom, a wisdom that has been flowing cosmically through the
ages, stopping at F. Maire's brush on its way to mine, as it now If the varnisher will bear in mind that the varnish manufacturer who
flows through mine on its way to yours. knows all the particulars and the peculiarities of every one of his
tanks should certainly be the proper one to make the mixing, and
Varnish, once taken out of the can and exposed to the air should never that if he has failed to make it good, certainly the man who knows
be poured back into the can. How many have learned this lesson only nothing whatever about that varnish or what he mixes with it, will
after bitter experiences! They will argue that it is foolish and that no certainly make a mess, and probably a botch of it.
possible harm can follow—and they learn after it is too late that it
ruins a good varnish to pour it back into the can, and that it queers In preparing this new variation on the theme of Brightwork,
all the rest of it in the can. my heart now leaps at the fact that essentially ancient tech-
niques still make up the modus operandi that has been handed
The fact is that, like the original formulation of varnish—which down, unchanged, from each "modern" varnisher plying the
through two thousand years has not truly changed—the technique trade at the turn of every century since varnish was first in-
and rhythm of varnish application, too, remains a constant. In re- vented. It is a legacy that anchors a fading but tenacious art, a
searching my original book, my heart quickened at each new bend transfer made complete through that mysterious process of
in the evolutionary path of this noble coating. I was knocked out by transgenerational osmosis. It is the same magic that infuses in
the fact that the same ingredients used by the ancient Egyptians— me the sewing prowess of my grandmother, without my ever
oils and resins—still underpin in essence the standard formulations so much as having had a needle-threading lesson from her.

16 the brii
jhtvvork ettignia
It is almost needless to have to warn against varnishing a job where the only choice. Happily, now there is, and the replacement al-
it will be subjected to dust, changes of temperature and the thousand most single-handedly warrants revision of the book. Tools, too,
and one other causes which will make varnishes go wrong. Only those rightfully enjoy an evolution toward user-friendliness and more ef-
who are familiar with the host of "make-varnish-go-wrong-agencies" ficient expenditure of one's precious time. I've added a couple
have any idea of their multitude and extent. It also seems as need- sanders to my tool bag since the first book came out, ones that
less to say that it requires skill and experience. don't replace my Speed-Bloc but augment it for surface refine-
ments that heretofore required precious elbow grease and willing
The Brightwork Companion, while a faithful distillation of hands. At the same time, there are passages to report: the loss of
Brightwork: The Art of Finishing Wood, is also a slight updating, a certain beloved tools, victims of the corporate bottom line that
making "modern" of my own earlier text. In certain areas of this forces us to take care of and treasure what we have and, as those
,a ge-old art, there are bound to be developments within our life- old standbys break down, open our minds to lesser surrogates.
Ir mes that improve our lives—indeed that can extend them—as fin- And so, within this new, handier configuration of Brightwork,
'; hers. I have yet to be convinced that these developments need there is worthy impetus for revision. But it is still the timelessness
Involve the varnish formula itself. But certain products—methylene of varnishing itself that warrants commitment of ink to paper.
nloride stripping compounds, for example—are such despicable The reminder that we are carrying on an ancient art is never re-
gents that they, by their very existence, mandate replacement. I dundant. I write this new book to make it easier for my fellow ar-
Hcl my nose (literally and figuratively) when instructing fellow tisans, at a time in human history when nobody seems to have
illuishers and readers of the original volume on the use of those ti me to slow down and do things that require patience, to do this
roducts, wishing there were a less personally hazardous but divine thing, patiently and lovingly and joyfully, and as efficiently
Nally effective formula to employ when chemical stripping was as possible without sacrificing what makes it divine.

the M P they
It may remain one of the many other mysteries connected with var- Some men are born good varnishers and fall into the right way o
nish which no amount of reasoning can explain satisfactorily to one like a gosling to a pond of water, and no one knows till they try w
seeking to understand it. Varnish is a touchy affair—worse than an they may be capable of With care, the proper use of the brush c
old maid to handle. It will only be handled in its own good way and be acquired, when it is not natural to a person. It is, of course, mu
no other. more pleasant to have been born a varnisher, but some of the b
varnishers commenced by aggravated cases of sagging in their f
My $1 garage sale treasure, a little volume of modernity now attempts at it. "Try, try again," is a good motto, if it is old fashion
almost a hundred years old, reinforces in me the greatest var- The man who is observant will note where he has erred and the n
nishing truth, something I've always believed but adore finding job will be more perfect because the experience had on the form
validated in print: that the things that are vital and honorable about one will guard him against committing the same mistake again; su
varnishing are the parts we do with our hearts, our hands, and men will grow into good varnishers.
that portion of our brain that houses common sense. These are —F. Ma
what never change, the things that will prevail. In spite of the in-
fluence of slothful practitioners and "Profit-Ober-Alles" coatings
and equipment manufacturers, and despite the prognostications
of the plastics-everywhere set, there will still be a generation of
varnishers a hundred years from now, artisans who cherish not
just what flows from the brush, but dear souls who cannot help
but spend "forty-five years up the ladder." May that cosmic flow
never ebb.

18 the brightwork enigma

and cures . .
better so you start asking questions. You make a date for a day ing a little dark and sa
of sailing together. When you get out alone with her, your initial with her, but you're b
feelings are confirmed; you find her company invigorating, you're know it, she's asking y
intoxicated by her countenance. You dream about her day and of time you'd hoped t
night, until finally you can't stand it another minute. You tender with the guys. You fee
the proposal. Legal documents are signed. yourself, "She knows
You get her home, you spend passionate hours together, and Then one day you
then you decide it's time to see what she can really do for you, your eye becomes a
ri nd cures . . .
so you start putting her through her paces. You ask her to impress recollection what you
your friends and the boss and the boss's wife. You ask her to be " What happened?
The seductive finish people first encounter on a boat is not 2. Do you like to do your own finishing?
some glistening manifestation of the siren's song. That gorgeous In other words, do you head off to the boat—sandpaper in h
varnish, the thing that renders a floating vessel rapturous and whistling or cursing?
makes your heart skip a beat, is a precious asset and tangible proof
of its steward's devoted attention. On your boat, it is sweet testa- 3. Is your marriage on solid ground?
ment to the maintenance program you set up from the day you first Does your spouse see your passion for varnishing as a threat or,
declared, "I want her to be mine." To paraphrase Fanny Brice, your a welcome respite from your presence?
brightwork is the "beautiful reflection" of her love's affection ...
In charting a maintenance course, there are two simple pas- If you gave three "No" answers to the quiz, and you
sageways to brightwork bliss: sports a vast acreage of brightwork, I might recommend
the work out while you go on a second honeymoon.
OPTION A: you do the finishing yourself
For those choosing Option A (and these are the majority of boat- OPTION B: you wave your magic checkbook over the finish
owners), the instructions found in the pages of this book should, For those inclined toward Option B--for whatever reason
I hope, mitigate any challenges. But first, I submit a little quiz to information you find in this book should help you comprehe
ensure your stewardship appropriately falls under that column: tremendous labors entailed in finishing work and, accord
why it costs what it costs.
1. Do you have time to do your own finishing?
For the uninitiated, apply Murphy's Law of Estimating: Take your best
guess, double it, and then add 10 percent ...

n A "sealer" is not a finish. It is a thin, solvent-inte
liper in hand
optionA : y thm1
shyy e rself meant onlyto deliver a "seal" to the deepest re
wood's grain, in preparation for a subsequent appl
oil or varnish. That seal will last fully intact about
There are countless variations on the varnish and oil themes, and
exposed to the weather.
an ideal "finish program" can be formulated only when one un-
I sat or, worse,
derstands not just what is in the can, but how the contents of that
n Bare wood is the "no-finish" finish option. It loo
can relate to the wood being finished.
it demands initial prep similar to that given wood
^ I your boat finish: properly bleached and sanded, and faithful
Varnish brings out the beauty in wood and is the strongest
I ^ i nond hiring cleaning to forestall mildew. The decision to leav
protector of all the bright finishes. Beauty arrives by the third
first requires that it be a wood that can survive wit
coat, but protection does not come into play until after the
Teak, with its natural storehouse of oils, is an
eighth. Eight to ten coats of varnish provide the best finish
ish wood." So is ironwood. Mahogany fares best—a
foundation for follow-up varnish management.
', on—the its most beautiful self—with varnish protection. V
^ n ( hend the kind should never be left bare.
A true oil finish also brings out the beauty in wood but af-
(:c)rd ingly,
lords exterior wood little if not completely transient protec-
ti on. Oil finishes require the same amount of prep labor as Bottom line ... for interiors, varnish and

varnish, then disappear in a matter of months without constant both options.

(r ead: monthly!) refresher coats. I have another name for "oil But for EXTERIOR woods, the only SMAR
li nish" on exteriors. It is "full-time job." . . VARNISH!

Once in a while, despite your best intentions, the finish gets the relationship. It just means it's time to turn your attentions fully
away from you. When that happens, it doesn't signal the end of in the direction of your erstwhile seductress .. .


Slightly dulled gloss but generally unbroken varnish skin. Refresh all brightwork with two coats varnish.

Moderately dull surface but still no breaks. Refresh all brightwork with two coats varnish.

Dull surface, splitting of finish at joints but solid otherwise. Mend joints, refresh all brightwork with two coats varnish.

Dull surface, split varnish at joints, some lifting along edges. Scratch and patch all joints and lifted areas, then refresh all
brightwork with two or three coats varnish.

Checking or eroding of varnish surfaces, split and lifting finish Scratch and patch all lifted varnish areas (pages 102-31, bleaching
at joints with discoloration of wood beneath. discolored wood and giving the wood plenty of time to air out before
sealing, Determine and fix causes of major problems. Refresh all
brightwork with at least three coats.

"Varnish starvation"—wholesale erosion of finish, split and lifted If more than half the brightwork is in this condition,
finish at all joints and edges; weathered or blackened bare strip everything and refinish from clean, bare wood.
wood in places where finish has worn away.

Finish has been patched and recoated faithfully for more than Take it all off and bring in the new guard. And pat yourself on
six years but still looks ratty and lifeless after each refresher. the back for being such a dedicated steward.

24 the brightwork enigma

to determine the greater underlying cause of decline, and make
htwur with Iwo coats varnish. the repair before you address the refinishing.

pnd IUtad areas, then refresh all

A comb varnish. an ounce of prevention .. .
Seventy-five percent of the challenge to keeping brightwork intact
yp f njih nreae (pages 102-3), bleaching
the Wuud plenty of time to air out before is eliminated if the boat lives in covered moorage, or the var-
O ourge of major problems. Refresh all
I caste, nished trims reside under canvas cover when the boat is not in
use. I call a full boat cover the Brightwork Insurance and
work In In this condition, Retirement Plan and have calculated over and over for my clients
Ii fron nlean, bare wood.

the value of this program in dollars, time, and physical energy

oA now ward. And pat yourself on

l.dlaIt t steward.
n t

Your choice of finishing proxy is determined by three qualifiers:
1. The quality of job desired
2. The size of the refinishing budget
3. The availability of professional talent

As your taste in quality rises, so does the budget ... just as

with champagne. If you think the person who charges $5 an hour
is a bargain, think again. That "pro" will typically deliver a varnish
headache that has you kissing the ring of one who charges at
least seven times the minimum wage, when the real brightwork
artist is called in to clean up the bargain refinisher's mess .. .
provided the mess can be cleaned up and permanent damage has

26 the brightwork enigma

n Expect—no, demand—a contract, complete with bid, or at ing the project, and e
least an estimate with a cost-overruns cap. labors.
UNDERSTANDING the finishing subject (the wood) as well as its relationship to the finishing medium

REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS with regard to the purpose, as well as limitations, of any brightwork finish

28 9's pw Veracglrtworl< a cicp[u

now, about

varnish—in a nutshell
sure of reverence. the slower to dry, and
For the purposes of this book, the following is a perfect quick are applying a finish
introduction to the varnish family: buffed dry to a thin,
tle sister, the oil finis
OIL + RESIN + SOLVENT = varnish The more solven
OIL + RESIN + SOLVENT = oil finish resin, the likelier you
OIL + RESIN + SOLVENT = sealer coat for varnish, or a
to dry almost immed
ell See the resemblances? Notice the differences? the baby of the famil
These members of the same family attain their individual Understand this
identities according to the PROPORTION of the three ingredi- ingredients, and you
ents found within each finish. any of the finishes y
oititica li
mineral spirits naphtha a Japan drier... these are SOLVENTS agents to hasten the setting time
One important note on metal
Better-quality oils—tung oil, for example—and resins— in the can, the metallic driers beg
phenolics and polyurethanes both—heighten the abrasion re- and the varnish will no longer dry
sistance and overall tenacity of a finish and give varnish the as much varnish as you anticipat
ability to expand and contract over a piece of wood that is con- invest in fresh cans the next, even
stantly moving, expanding, and contracting. The more solids, over varnish. Better to pass along
or resin, used in a varnish, the thicker the varnish. The thinnest using the same product.
varnishes right out of the can are typically cheaper, because
solvent is the least expensive ingredient in the mix. Epifanes is
a high-solids varnish that pours like cold honey. It is not cheap.

32 tlsrâ hrighturnrlk 0sug tea

-mil ul the finish. !;lide through the sticky situations they find themselves in. son: its full body is th
driers: as varnish sits aging If the weatherman is predicting a scorcher, these folks inebri- solids varnish, learn
1,1111, lose their catalytic power, ale the contents of the varnishing pot with a ton of "brushing liq- experienced enough
II Ili, honour illy in Hie designed time. Buy only uid" instead of confining their varnishing efforts to the wee cool tency of cold honey,
milli ip oh, ii . driu within one season, and hours of the morning (the double dry martini for the CEO facing nish, and apply it as c
lir— I yven !nouns wasting some left- indictment). They commit to a project too late in the year and find your efforts you end u
lemainders to dock mates themselves desperate to apply that last coat of varnish right before oughly diluted your v
.11 1 , t
the snow flies, so they toss in a big splash of Interlux 216 to give My advice across
the work more than the proverbial snowball's chance of drying (a dom of the inscrutab
nice triple espresso for lunch after too late a night out on the is not satisfactory co
town). Some people take extreme measures, dumping in Japan professional finisher
drier when they feel like forcing the drying issue (a hit of speed, a reputable varnish, us
34 the brightwork enigma
3. the materials inventory

( ... and then there's that little bu

n the port!

I ' I
1. Sanding and painting the bottom
2. Repainting or varnishing spars
3. Sanding painted topsides and/or above decks to prep for
4. Bleaching deck and brightwork to remove oil finishes
5. Stripping brightwork with heat, dry scrapers, or sandpaper
6. Chemical stripping of varnish or paint above decks
7. Bleaching to clean up bare decks and weathered trims
8. Sanding, oiling, and/or varnishing brightwork
9. Painting topsides and above decks

38 the refinishing program

to take projects to the
SPRING—when it's frequently raining ... is the best time for ing, or the perfect tim
exterior bleaching, because the air is cool and moist. Sometimes about Brightwork: The
you get lucky and can get started on other exterior projects like
painting and varnishing (depending on your latitude). It's a lovely
ti me to varnish interiors, especially cabin soles.

SUMMER—when it's often sunny . . . is when it's easiest to

bank on completion of exterior work of all kinds, which is why so
many people set aside entire blocks of vacation time in July to
work on their boats. This accounts for the high vacancy rate in
the cruising marinas during that month.
for the morning of the work. Forecasting
Always plan a contingency project on the boat, in the very tool bag.
slight event that predictions prove false.
Know how to read the clouds as the day progresses. ,4Md whatl
Pray for a pair of Dutchman's pants in every cloudy sky. As long as e
clouds, regar
Learning to outsmart the weather is critical to completing to be impen
brightwork projects within the finishing seasons. Always save tells a clearin
portable parts of the project for last, and if a surprise downpour be more reli
stops work at the boat, take a piece of the boat home and con-

his bock-,always—in your to another phase if something torpedoes your original plan for the waiting in line behind
day. Gauge what material
Shopping once means having a firm grasp of: buy replacement sup
SP n the type of finish you plan to use Organize a cooperat
l etween
)lue peO Viib the n which mode of stripping the old finish dictates sign up for a week a
I C.4 rain is rumored
den rainif what actual materials you need to complete each phase
" Dutchrliar'spants" fore- how much of everything it takes to complete the lion's share of
tlk tale , t
ilt just happens to the project

And ~/dst iirt th

rthroshine frveezt

I t o ()1,1 M
iliel a
Your best friends in this operation:
• A variable speed/reversible drill—which you employ in remov-
ing fasteners
n Ziploc bags and a Sharpie laundry marker—where you place
and label each individual piece of hardware and its fasteners L

n A map—which you make of the boat as you chart the source of

each piece of hardware upon removal

Do not dispense with the map and simply toss everything into a
bucket. You will be sorry if you do that. Trust me.
• stow or protect all lines and canvas covers that could suf-
fer from refinishing fallout

II I 42 the refinishing program

4W to work/
it's been

Acid bleaching system Oil, silicone sealers, Easy, but with big cavea
(TE-KA A&B) Deks Olje #1 & 2

ce, Heat gun Most hard finishes, including

Sikkens Cetol
Easy, with practice

Ice, Chemical remover Standard hard finishes and Requires patience to ge

some epoxy coatings results

in, Dry-scraping Any hard finish Requires a sure hand, s

body, flat plane

Sanding Any finish Not a smart way to strip

(gallon sets, plus a quart set for
each person working) Construction rain gear

Clean retired diapers Nitrile gloves

A source of fresh water Kneepads (for deck work)

Deck boots

TOOLS Eye shields

3M soft (white) nylon scrubbers

Soft-bristle toothbrushes

Large plastic funnel

Water hose with spray nozzle

Roll of duct tape and 4-mil plastic sheeting

6ar7,7 : Protect painted topsides, the boat's name, or any Dorade boxes (just re
other vulnerable area by using a bleaching skirt: attach an apron of nerable items that you
4-mil clear plastic sheeting (available by the roll at hardware aluminum whisker pol
stores)—using duct tape—at the base of the toerail, below the be taken off the boat or
scuppers (or just below the wood being bleached), encircling the off from exposure to t
entire boat. If there is a danger of the duct tape pulling up a tective measures can
painted topside finish, run a strip of 3M Safe Release tape (see odized aluminum to
Taping in chapter 13) along the top edge where the duct tape carnauba wax is impe
would otherwise initially adhere to the hull, then attach the skirt finish. Make sure all h
as described. Test the skirt for leaks with a thorough spraying of cellaneous openings ar
the bleaching areas before beginning the work. li nes from the deck (y
Take any portable pieces of the boat slated for bleaching to remove all deck-level c
the dock, especially cockpit grates, companionway boards, or
bottles) from gallons. Working with gallon bottles is unwieldy
and ultimately wastes a lot of product. Assign a toothbrush, a ny-
lon scrubbing pad, and a set of Te-Ka to each crew member.

A 7:
(iai AV Never use bristle scrub brushes, coarse scrubbing
pads, or brass wire brushes, or you will end up destroying the pith
of the grain. And on that note, don't scrub with a vengeance, even
with a soft pad; allow the chemistry to do the work for you. To get
the most for your Te-Ka money, don't be a miser in your applica-
tions of the A (bleach) or B (neutralizer) solutions. The system is
truly effective only when it reaches the wood full strength, and
will betray streaky application in a sketchily divested finish. A
poorly neutralized bleaching will leave the wood dark and looking
chemically burned.

48 the refinishing program

solve the leaks first; otherwise, you will face an unholy mess wood when it has
later with bleach everywhere below. spots that are still
should be given rep
3. Start at the highest point on the boat and plan your attack
"downstream" from there. Working in the opposite direction 6. Allow the neutralize
wastes a ton of the neutralizer (B) and adds unnecessary time the wood golden, an
to the work. surface and all surr
the recesses again,
4. Apply the bleach (A) solution first, spreading it evenly with the
nylon pad (not scrubbing), leaving no voids. Let this applica-
will be apparent as darkened areas, usually around seams and pending on the typ
joints, and can be fixed with a little shot of straight neutralizer sanding or comme
left to sit overnight. gram.

Ili illy Illoronghly (6 to 24 hours, de-
Heat gun Vacuum cleaner with brush nozzle
, irr curd rIvrrhill temperature) before attachment
Hook scrapers
ri rirg urn `. ti n .,i(rps in the refinishing pro- Extension cord and a source of
A fine mill file electrical power


Dust masks

Nitrile gloves

Knee pads
helpers, have everyone doing the work practice first on some-
thing that is not the boat: an old chair or dresser. Get a feel for the i Yeat5: Stri
heat/scrape rhythm that parts the finish from the wood. Rehearse If you cannot avo
burning finishes right down to the wood, and figure out when to around your wo
pull the heat gun up as the finish softens, before the wood is pressure dulls the
charred. across the grain,
Scrape around bu
th 'eq'GLt mi,i't: Sharpen all the scrapers (AWAY FROM grain.
AND DOWNWIND OF THE BOAT). See A Tool Tip on page 54 for
information about proper sharpening. Set up the extension cord,
belaying it at a stanchion if plugged in at the dock. Park the vac-

52 ?:f
pulling the hook scraper toward you, across the full length of
softened finish. Repeat in successive stretches. Expect occa-
sionally to make more than one heat pass at stubborn patches
h until the finish releases.
n. 3. When you develop some proficiency at using the heat gun,
you'll discover that, rather than flipping the gun up and away as
you scrape, you'll be able to coordinate heating a subsequent
stretch as you scrape off the earlier one. This will speed the
process considerably.
burr down on t
sufficient burr
burr should me
underside feels
some more unt
For furthe
ening art as it
the use and ca
Hampton and E
Company. You
company at 10

created a
rider the
Itristrip stripping gel Wide plastic or hardwood scrapers
If the
oft toothbrushes 1- to 4-inch chip brushes
Work it
%/1 soft Scotch-Brite pad Large plastic tub
)allon-size paper buckets Fresh water
o sharp-
book on =lean shop rags
C. W M Solvent Resistant Tape SAFETY GEAR
mil plastic sheeting and newspapers Nitrile gloves

tit Heavy-duty paper towels Eye shields or protection

your shop or garage. If the piece is not portable, set up several
layers of heavy-mil plastic, topped with newspapers, to catch
d._o. -P li a h e
the drips.
1. Apply a liberal c
fh& P
t ^' Issue eye shields and nitrile gloves to anyone erously into noo
working on this job. Citristrip might be highly user friendly, but straight from th
it's still caustic to skin. I also like to don an old men's dress shirt- brushes. Make
XL—to protect my clothes during this messy task. ken layer of strip

the-/ 4 LV''e1Wp/f7/f
e-rta4 upa work sta-
Set 2. Allow the stripp
tion: place the piece to be stripped, along with the Citristrip, least twenty min
scraping tools, brushes, and paper buckets, on a "tablecloth" of ing out. If and w

towels to wipe off dregs that elude the scraper.

4. Rinse the stripping residue from the piece with plain water,
work it gen- gently scrubbing with the Scotch-Brite pad. When the piece is
ic) by pouring thoroughly cleaned, wipe it dry with shop towels.
Willi the chip
think, unbro- 5. Inspect for unstripped areas, and repeat the above steps until
the entire piece is bare.

wtrod, for at
to begin dry-
mating of

Heavy-duty scraper Dust mask

Fine mill file Nitrile gloves


Vacuum with brush nozzle attachment

Extension cord and a source of

electrical power

help you see bungs
reert5: See introductory paragraph. Trims and rails can lose fully around these
their shape from wholesale dry-scraping, and necessitate greater
sanding later to resculpt the curves. 4. Vacuum the mess
ing in mind that ma
hibit the introductio
doing the work

1 Make sure your scraper is sharp. Use a fine mill file to create wrapping uP
the appropriate burr on a good, steel-bladed hook-style scraper
(preferably with a handle designed for additional pressure from When finished, vacu
your secondary hand). Resharpen the scraper repeatedly reshape, smooth, an
inches. few tips to s


2-inch 3M #2040 masking tape Nitrile gloves

50-grit 3M Production sandpaper Dust masks

60-grit 3M Fre-Cut sandpaper


TOOLS Vacuum with crevice tool and brush

nozzle attachment
Sandpaper cutter
Extension cord and a source of
Steel cabinet scraper electrical power

Steel putty knife (wide)

of lunacy. masks and gloves. results and the res
ing grits later.
t&Maier7:04' a/thieCpiliPMete: Cut sandpaper into
quarters, then make trifolds (see page 65), or wrap sandpaper
around a cabinet scraper and/or putty knife and tape tightly in wrapping up
Vacuum thoroughly,
eer/reerA : Your only concerns should revolve around unwanted spot in the first place.
6 who wish
scratching of adjacent surfaces, with maybe the added risk of reasonable fashion f
throwing your back out as you squeeze yourself into some ridicu- human eye. A finish i
lously tight space. Take my advice: if you can't see this area, let protector, which leav
it go ... varnishing.
SHAPING to restore the design of a piece that has been stripped

REPAIRING the surface defects of the piece

CLARIFYING the wood grain to maximize its countenance be-

neath a new finish.
sanding phases to reach a mirror finish. i
In areas inaccessible by machine (louvers, for example), we're often in-
clined to sand through the phases by hand. There, detail sanders can some-
ti mes be used. (See page 143 on Fein sanders.)



achieved with the 60-80-100 120-150 2

following grit ranges

which is best Orbital or ROS Orbital or ROS O

accomplished by

which delivers a Grain flattened, Free of sander C

surface that is shape restored swirls, scars s

64 the refinishing program

is book,


and a message fr
Wood dust is a scientif
macho or smart about
mask (not a "particle m
is but worthless proxy
respirator, commonly
13 for the best brand an
your adoring Children.
coat of varnish. shaping up
Never sand a veneer by machine, and never use anything As you co
coarser than 220 grit to prep veneers for a finish. the surfac
Always load an orbital sander with multiple sheets to reduce defects.
ti me spent changing worn-out sandpaper (see chapter 12). When sha
Machine-sand as much of the work as possible. But treat the and corne
broad surfaces to a pass by hand after each of the phases, to finish.
abate sander swirls. Avoid san
* Complete all the work for each grit before moving to the next however,
phase; do machine work first and then handwork, always in scratches.
that order.

nt well and wipe MATERIALS EQUIPMENT
0 rider swirls and Oxalic acid crystals Nonreactive bowl or bucket
(not stainless steel)
liorax (powder)
rill sharp edges Wooden slotted spoon
Boiling water
their hold on the

II lo. If you must, Chip brushes SAFETY GEAR

In remove deep 4-mil plastic sheeting Nitrile gloves

A source of fresh water Eye shields

Do not be tempted to reheat this solution, especially
crystallizes. 2. Allow bleach to
in the microwave, or you will produce toxic fumes. Throw it out hours. Cover wi
and mix a new solution from scratch. condensation or

3. If not satisfied w
IZE. Apply anoth
another 24 hour
the outcome, an
below. However
second pass, rea
difference in the

68 t, b,
After everything is thoroughly rinsed, allow the wood to dry be-
LAI for 24 fore moving on to the finish sanding phase of prep. Sometimes
t from bleaching is ineffective. Certain water stains are a fact of the
brightwork, especially at joints and surrounding bungs. These
stains reach into the meat of the wood from prolonged wicking
11FRAL- at the spongelike end grain. You can either learn to live with them,
o stand cut them out and scarf in new wood, or camouflage them with
not with paint or a heavy paste stain.
olthy the
On little
fill it slightly
Varnish—I don't care what the manufacturer claims on the label—
As soon as t
will not bridge that gap between scarf joints. And varnish has a gins to gel—
difficult time sticking to many commercial wood putty products. A
the epoxy-fi
good way to fill those crevices and get your varnish to actually
Save all the
marry the wood at these joints is to fill the joints and other surface
no more tha
gaps with an "epoxy/wood-flour putty" you make yourself.
possible to
end up with
Using 220-grit sandpaper, sand by hand in a cleanly stripped in place and
area of the wood being finished until you've produced about a
not rubbery
half teaspoon of clean "wood flour." Carefully collect the dust
the joint as
and place it in a clean container (I use the underside of empty
paper varnish buckets).

70 {

getting a good seal on new bungs: The classic method for seal- wipe solven
ing a new bung is to make it fit so tightly that it seals itself at the the two. If
first whiff of marine air. If that fails, some people resort to dip- surprise" ..
ping the bung in varnish before they tap it into place; others like to
glue bungs in with Resorcinal. That's OK. What isn't OK is set- but what i
ting bungs in epoxy—not unless you know you're never ever go- Don't swea
ing to need to get at that fastener again. The therapy
seconds, ad
going my way? When installing new bungs, be mindful of one 70-71. Topp
oft-neglected detail: the direction of the grain. Set the grain of plane in the
the bung parallel, not perpendicular or (my personal pet peeve)

Plus, it just makes the boat more palatable to varnish ...
2. If the surface is fib
your tools completely to the r
(see chapter 13) a
Fresh, new single-edged razor blades and a razor blade holder scrub it off with th
Ing? Mineral spirits and clean cotton rags nish-encrusted fibe
> m? Citristrip stripping gel (with nitrile gloves, a small chip brush, a cot- residue with a wet
t5 ton terry rag, and a toothbrush)
j es Te-Ka A&B (with a soft toothbrush and a fresh water supply)
3. If teak oil is spille
controlled applicat
product informatio
the neutralized Te-
1. Drop the varnish-encrusted fittings into a shallow vat of 5. If you don
Citristrip stripping gel. Cover the container. heave-ho—

2. Fuggeddaboudit ..
6. Remember
3. A few days later, or when you return from the Bahamas with a you're tryi
tan and a rested back, fish the hardware out of the vat (use
ton s...
g ). 7. Try to rem

4. Rinse off the shriveled varnish, get out the Liberty Polish
(see chapter 13) and replicate the sparkle of your pinkie-ring

'ern the

e Feds.

c bags.
book. I think paste wood fillers make the wood grain ugly, and I
won't be a party to the indolence that underpins their use in lieu
of a couple extra buildup varnish coats.
But stains and sealers—these are things I can endorse and, in
the case of the latter, submit as a compulsory exercise in one
form or another.
Poly-Brushes Clean, lint-free cotton rags

Mineral spirits Stir stick


Nitrile gloves

Eye shields

78 ,.
the' metteriais era eptpmerkt: stain,
give it another good
or if using old inventory, make sure no pigment remains stuck to
during the work.
the bottom of the can after shaking. Shake the stain we//—vigor-
ously, even!—to disperse all pigment, then transfer to a mason
4. Allow the stain to so
jar. Affix a sign to the jar that reads: STIR ME UP! Deposit a stir
the point of drying ou
stick in the jar and leave it there throughout the work.
any residual stain, an
sports a uniform shad
aweert5: Too many coats of stain will muddy the grain of the
wood to the point of looking as though you've painted. Be con-
5. Clean spills and drips
servative in the number of coats you apply, unless you're trying
mediately with a clea
to hide something, in which case perhaps you should consider
80 t he refinishing program
#1 the commercial sealer: Remember from chapter 3 (about the subsequent varni
varnish) that a commercially marketed "sealer" is primarily sol- volves the same mate
vent with a bit of oil and resin thrown in, meant to give the wood job itself. To seal the
a thin residual coating after all the solvent has evaporated? None chapter 9 on applyin
of the varnishes I would recommend calls for the use of such varnish to 1 part solv
sealing products, and I steer you away from this approach in favor use to do this is the
of the next three options. the finishing conditio
For cold days, the va
#2 a wet-sanded coat of tung oil finish: This method of sealing, ner that speeds the v
my favorite for sealing teak, nets a richer, far more flattering al- vent for sealing bare
ternative to paste wood filling, is only slightly more labor inten- maker lists accordin
sive, and has commensurate benefits: you achieve earlier leveling ing, which again con

\ 1 1 ,1 I \I
in three-dimensional sunlight when the wood is saturated with


Boiled linseed oil 4 -mil plastic sheeting

Daly's SeaFin teak oil Coarse cotton shop rags

Japan drier

Poly Brushes SAFETY GEAR

Nitrite gloves

and don't get distracted from the coating schedule. from 15 minutes to

4. When the first coa

ture. Do not sand b

5. REPEAT the above

soaked into the wo

6. If you have enoug

you two more wor
wise, save it for the

f place

Let the sealed

nish. Then, sa
seems to roll
Vacuum well
tened (not so
couple hours

gimmick ... "Anon Anon Anon ... ," Mr. Shakespeare might
have cried were he cornered with the question.
1g for var-
If you want information on this approach to sealing wood,
1g residue
type the words "penetrating epoxy sealer" into the Internet
Is normal.
browser search engine on your computer, and you will find no
try mois-
shortage of cyberwords on the subject. Some people swear by
to rest a
this sealer. I'm still not a believer, despite the seductive theory
i coat 1.
of it all. But you decide for yourself. If you asked me outright if
would use it, I'd probably answer something like this: Choosing
between the three sealing methods recommended above and the
while it was being rigged, and the plan was to varnish everything moda'Stwd tk
except the decks. So on the first day we commenced sanding the
toerail to prep the wood. After about an hour of arduous 80-grit This tenet underscores

work, we were shocked to discover that what we had initially finish:

thought was rough, filthy, and blackened ironbark was, in fact,

1. Wood slated for a p
li ght chestnut teak! When the owner finally arrived on the scene
intensive prep work
later that morning, we asked him what on earth he'd done to such
lard relatively new teak to turn it so black. "Wahll," he started in his 2. No oil finish lasts
shy little Kansas drawl, "the people who built the boat said to coats or a full cover
put oh'I on the wood, so by golly that's what we did. We put ever'
kind of oh'I we could find on it: Crisco oh'I, diesel oh'I, lemon In other words, an ex
oh'I. We even used lard ... " nor "easier to maintain

1-inch 3M #2040 masking tape Clean cotton shop rags

400- and 600-grit 3M Wet-or-Dry sandpaper 4-mil plastic sheeting

Mineral spirits Sandpaper cutter

Daly's SeaFin or comparable quality tung Flat rubber sanding blocks

oil formula

Fine bronze wool
Nitrile gloves

3M charcoal/dust mask (#9913)


11( 114 \\ .11 1 1)1 I),It II It) t II

PI( I .111t1 11t)11',t' III(' (Ili I 1

whelming. The disposable charcoal masks go a long way in re-
and dry to the touch.
ducing exposure, but proper ventilation cannot be stressed
4. When the wood seem
• Oil-soaked rags can and do spontaneously combust; do not
20 minutes), apply an
leave them in a heap during or after the project. Hang them to
dry completely before throwing them out.
5. Apply a third coat to
• When oiling veneers, use nothing coarser than 600-grit paper
sanding and rubbing
from the beginning.
paste to stay workab

1 q era 6. Allow this third coat

sand the oil into the
the grain, until you p
buff off in a circular fashion with a clean rag. 15. If you want
apply this a
10. When buffing, bear down only very lightly, and take care not between we
to extract the paste from beneath the surface and back out
of the wood grain itself. 16. Linger at th
11. Where paste builds up, in corners or around fittings, wrap bleed-back
the rag around a flat, thin surface (a putty knife, for example)
and clean away the excess. v
12. Give the buffed coat about an hour to dry. Then apply another Before you dep
coat of oil and allow to soak in and dry for about 30 minutes back from the
(no longer). specks,•you'll


Ili\\ .11 ►► 11 ► .R II II) ( ()(d

I .111(1( th(-1 .11111
you have dared to to wet-sand a tung oil finish into the bare wood, creating a "self i mmediately, thinning th
1mnetrating coat:, paste wood filler" to level the pores. This is the prettier alternative tent of the varnish (15
to commercially packaged paste wood fillers, because the pores Epifanes, for example
blend rather than contrast with the hard meat of the wood. unvarnished or suffer t
igposing a warm Applying this sealer gives a jump start to the leveling of the var- ture will cause the fille
il buffing for "oil nish, and can reduce the number of varnish coats needed to arrive sitates a repeat wet-sa
at a mirror finish. Remember: This is only a sealer, not a finish it- period before the varnis
self. It must be followed up with varnish. cleaning oily paste off
look hideous encrusted

h n0 oil bleeding
I hi lind shiny oil
1) G1nni buff again.
The licw approach to cooking c
Pick and choose the diet and
Clean cotton shop rags
Cone-style paint strainers
Ziploc bags
Gerson Super Activated tack cloths
Sandpaper cutter
Poly-Brushes, assorted sizes
Sanding blocks and sponges
1-inch 3M Extended Use masking tape
Wet-dry vacuum
Single-edged razor blades

220- and 320-grit Fre-Cut sandpaper

Latex exam gloves

Knee pads

Light-tint UV sunglasses

3M dust masks
Using 1-inch tape (extended-use for exteriors), mask all sur- weett: W
faces abutting areas to be varnished, pressing firmly along the life. It will be
"varnish edge" of the tape as you go. (Read all there is to know make you pri
about choosing and using masking tapes in chapter 13.) without obses
become what
t& Mee r 674 ettli eerG1/1,144ele: Prepare the var- tions in your
nish: pour no more than a cup at a time, along with the manufac- your angst an
turer's recommended solvent, through a strainer into a clean to caution aga
paper bucket, and mix together by gently swirling the varnish in
the bucket until the thinner is thoroughly dispersed. Do not stir
or shake the varnish to mix, and do not varnish straight from the
can. See the Standard Coating Schedule (below) for thinning per-
centages per coat. (See chapter 13 for information about specific
varnishes and thinners.)


I I h \\ .11 ) 1 ) 14).1t /1 ( 1111/ 111r (

l h 1 .11111 ► ► ..( 111 ( (
II ( .11111 1
nge your
rather wipe gently over the varnishing plane, just enough to 5. Monitor for holiday
ry. It will
pick up any particulate matter that has settled since the ini- blemishes as you go
)at again
tial wipe-down. wet rather than allo
rnish will
patch. (Direct angle
it frustra-
2. For the first three or four coats, apply the varnish in "plaid": lapses when varnish
)ry for all
Lay the varnish on across the grain, in generous, parallel
tot much
strokes for several brush widths, then "tip off"—just barely 6. If possible, remove
stroking the varnish—without reloading the brush, in the di- nish it lying flat. Thi
rection of the grain to even out the cross-grain strokes. discourages sags.

3. Work steadily and quickly to avoid losing your wet edge, and 7. In hot weather, beg
monitor the drag of the varnish to determine the need to add then follow the sh
brushing thinner. heat. Where there i
vent-intense half coat. Thin varn
of varnish; all
9. When sanding between coats, sand gingerly at corners and
along edges, which hold a much thinner buildup of finish than COAT 2: San
flat planes. going; vacuum
10. Sand carefully around masking tape, and retape stretches that Thin varn
have become raggedy sources of runs. Remask the entire thoroughly—
project after coat 4.
COAT 3: San
moderate scra
moistened rag


.111+1 1 11+)+) . .t .
111+ +11
1 content Allow at least 24 hours to dry; the curing time begins to slow BEYOND 15 COATS: Y
hours. with varnish buildup. mean me.

lore you're COAT 5: Sand in earnest (220 grit) to plane down ridges in pur-
moistened suit of a mirror plane but taking care not to break through the 1 lWk t/iii' r' tO
finish. coatings schedule are gov
nish to dry Vacuum and wipe down with a mineral spirits—moistened rag. the day you apply the var
ext coat. Add a capful of brushing thinner per cup, and more as needed. refers to that company's
Allow at least 24 hours to dry before sanding. use the thinner specified
d leaving a a proprietary can of steam
iral spirits COATS 6-10: The grain "dimples" should gradually be disap- warm weather.
pearing; sand before each coat (320 grit), vacuum, and wipe down
with a mineral spirits—moistened rag. Apply full strength, thin-
ings of the therm
the varnishing w
guide, too.)

What ho
in your varnishing
It is also wh

1 li tI
I( \ \ .11)I II)), It II it ►n) 1
+ I I I) 1
l' it I ,I nd (11()() , A .
1114 It I .1111)
constrain son before the finish is really cured. Be gentle with the finish
I a handy during this period.
When the boat is all back together and looking ready for the
prom, have a celebration! Uncork a beautiful bottle of champagne
a "skip" and toast your place in the noble varnishing legacy passed down
through the ages. Congratulations!
I work is
Hie iiew iirpn h to cooking clo
Pick mid chi he Wei ;I nd in
from planting fannies w
Give the brightwork a regular rinse-off: a freshwater hosing,
I repeat: invest in th
wiped dry with soft, clean cloths or a chamois.
Plan— canvas covers. T
If soap is called for, use something mild like Murphy Oil Soap;
swab gently and rinse thoroughly afterward.
Don't leave salt water to dry on your varnish. The dried crys- refresher var
tals act like millions of tiny heat guns, speeding the departure of
the varnish and, worse, feel like sandpaper grit when rubbed Plan "refresher coats" in
along and into the finish. ration or dulling of the f
are optimum. (Once the
ay, to apply a second coat.)
seem like a regimen that
1 Wash the whole boat, using a mild soap (see chapter 13) and
fresh water; rinse well. Then wipe down all the brightwork with
a mixture of 1 part water and 3 parts denatured alcohol. This Varnish dings
cuts cleanly through residue that might prevent adhesion of the preparation for—
new varnish. honorable finis
you perform thi
2. Remove "easy fittings"; sand brightwork moderately (320 grit); ritual during cru
vacuum and wipe down with a mineral spirits–moistened rag. return to port o
Mask with 1-inch tape (extended-use tape is best if you're leav-
ing it on more than two days). tg The minute y
healthy joint
3. Apply the varnish (the same product used originally); allow mask precis

ter 13) and a soft nylon scrubber or soft toothbrush, resisting varnish.
r, S
GretGk a, d Path'
the temptation to scrub out the pith of the grain. Rinse thor-
oughly and allow the wood to dry completely. /S this /nish yon' en
II$ "l indaged" between—or in
• If there is a chance the joint is holding water, extract all water Or do I need to strip an
I t tend the life of an otherwise
with a wet-dry vacuum, then allow the area to air out for at is a question back:
00 'ill Scratch and Patch work. If
least one warm day until absolutely dry. Do not revarnish until Will the refresher
01 II year, especially as a periodic
you are certain all moisture is eliminated from the joint. beneath it? If "No," ref
i', ire avoided later, when you
lII g
• Once the wood is dry, sand just enough to remove the raised
fuzz from the wood (120, then 220 grit).
• Stain and/or seal the area as you did for the original finish.
i v,mrnish seal at an otherwise
• Make a "jet speed" version of your varnish, diluting it 25 per-
inn suffers a sudden scrape,
cent with its companion fast-drying solvent (the one recom-
I iii abraded area and reseal
lent way to clean off the scurf. along for t
you can ad

1. Use extra-fine bronze wool (never steel wool!) instead of foam nish straig

brushes and wet-or-dry sandpaper to apply the oil. of the woo

repair work

2. Work the oil into the wood, in the direction of the grain, then al- In a ha
low it to sit a few minutes until tacky. here is wha

3. Buff the surface clear with a dry, clean cotton shop rag. 1 pint
6 each
4. Repeat until wood is clean and no longer finish starved. 1 Gers
OK to var-
i t ture out
ii n serious

Ily outlets),
I pproudi to
Pick I choose tilt Intl
You strip, you sand, you prep, you apply the finish.
You head off to sea.
More or less .. .
cabin sole
In the good old days
Then there are the exceptions.
planks, separated by h
sure footing during ad
cabin soles decks and smears . m .__. signed for function, an
and ish. Today, the teak and
ea k threw into or paThway a- A'isti t Sit eF
sole, is fashioned from
h my! e ! i`ty' hcr&5
membrane of hardwo
These projects can force us into physical and emotional contor- charming to look at, lo
tions that seem beyond the human pale. protected from day one
be sitting pretty, too. finish, and
Other cabin soles are not as kind. They must be finished in wish to matc
"scullery maid position" because they don't come out. Your back
will hurt, and the varnish fumes can make you woozy. It's a nasty tips for
job. But if the sole needs to be refinished, you can't ignore it; oth-
erwise, you end up looking down at plywood substrates in no
ti me. Just be smart about the finish you use, then carry the removing t
memory of the job into the way you treat the cabin sole once up, write a n
it's finished. map. Use a
points to the
what IS this finish? and place th

Many boats, especially ones from Asian boatbuilders, come with stripping/b
epoxy-type finishes on the cabin sole. While the tenacious prom- be bleached

108 t

114 1111)141,h II II) 1111
sandpaper (use only 150 grit or finer). If only a few of the boar
If the varnish is broken down in areas but the majority of the in place. The finish will b
finish is still intact, lightly bleach discolored spots as directed boards, and you won't be
above before doing any heat-gun stripping. Then, once those to keep from falling throu
at the shop bleached areas are lightly sanded, build up the finish in incre- portions of the sole.

"mch board is pulled ments before varnishing the full boards.

If the "in-place" cabin
i o to its place on the

a It at the edge that For sanding and varnishing directions, proceed to Tips for Te-Ka A&B, because the

11 Ii its board number, Finishing a Cabin Sole Regardless of Location later in this chap- dregs (without sinking th

1 viIh the screws.

ter, factoring in these additional details: Use instead Daly's A&
This is a two-part hy
tIcn,;h is an oil, it can 1. Mask carefully around the edges of each board at the begin- mixed together to create
Pl ly each part of the ning of varnish work, and remask halfway through the coat- needs.
coats; after
4. Starting over, and using a wide Poly-Brush, "paint" a fresh coat the edges. D
of the bleaching solution on the entire sole; allow to dry edges, or the
overnight. want to pull
O After each s
5. Once dried, wipe off the crystallized bleach with cotton rags vacuum the
and a solution of 2 parts water to 1 part denatured alcohol. down all sur
ring up dust
6. Allow the cabin sole to dry for 24 hours before sanding. hose made f
hose supply
For sanding and varnishing directions, proceed to Tips for exhaust outl
Finishing a Cabin Sole Regardless of Location (next section), fac- ing. Set up a
toring in these additional details: air out of the


I 14 II t, I II 11
in and varnish all varnish with a high-abras
li to either of the ttt s for finnishing_a
. v ca bin sole for example—see chapt
Ili the future, you
rea„dfe c 0/ fot oil final two or three coats.
vents the wood from lo
ii varnish coats, sanding the veneer sole to prepare for varnish: If the sole is rel- pigmented varnish.
I, and then wipe atively new veneer, you may use an orbital sander, but only with
Ii minimize stir- 320-grit or finer paper. Test sanding grits on the least conspicu- a tip for a newly built c
ol yin extra-long ously located board, starting with the finest grit and working ing out with a new boa
Ii insult a local backwards through the grits, to determine which fairs the sur- is half done. Protect tha
lonrilor, with its face most efficiently without mowing through the veneer. If at all full-floor cardboard co
while vacuum- doubtful about the depth of the veneer, err on the side of more boat, and leave the card
MIlr (haw dusty labor-intensive hand-sanding, using nothing coarser than 220 grit to begin finishing the s
Iho amount wrapped around a cork block. is finished, this is a sm
applying an oil finish), or a bare, foot-worn patina. Whatever befits high-wear areas as
the character of the boat will suit the needs of the sole. You have cruising seasons. F
only to choose. or three years, dep
with the same varn
2 parts water to 1 p
Apply full refr
project in other se
done in summer.
lenges for drying v

eery two noble, self-sufficient wood.
Refresh It is built to stand naked before the world, without shame, The most beautiful teak
^ wipe of without the false flattery of men, without the dubious protection California Swan named
nding. of manufactured "dressings." treated her decks:
void this It is Eve before the serpent's arrival. Regular swabbings w
y ti me if It can greet Mother Nature and Martha Stewart face to face, of mild soapy water
tic chal- sure of foot come hell or high water. Regular dousings wi
out sailing
Leave it alone already! Quit insulting it with all those charlatan That's it. No sealers, no
sealers. With that regimen, t
Quit feeding your brown wood predilections by slathering oil moon, and remained as
from stem to stern. built, year after year.
Quit assaulting it with Spic 'n Span and bristle brushes.
3 No applied oil, silicone, or other "sealer" coatings 3 A full boat cove
• No shrunken deck seams or voids and gaps in the caulking washdowns are
• No exposed fasteners or missing bungs
If your decks are c
If your deck is lucky enough to be in this wonderful condi- too late?) to be pla
tion, you can keep it that way indefinitely with the following Don't despair!
approach: the road . then y
care. . .


I I )1 t 1' I I „r I

11 ,
I I 1 1
1 1 1 ,1
haii:nnce) if regular
My deck is prettier when it's oiled and brown. (Plus, movie stars' boats If ya' gotta have brown de
al ways have brown decks.... ) deck. (Besides, movie star
il's too early (or
®iinnce. The teak won't come clean without stiff brushes. (It's the only way to The day you introduced br
dig all that black gish out of the grain)) (Bristle brushes are what
flu nus steps down grow.)

1111 loment proper

Doesn't excavated grain provide better footing? (Though I do hate that Healthy flat teak is a natur
it turns so black all the time.... ) (And with bristle scrubbing
where water sits, turning t

Power-washing services are the modern way! (The deck is brand Power-washing your teak
spanking clean in no ti me! Look, Ma, no kneeling)) (Just like your deck, the s
no wood left!)
the paint unless you install a bulletproof bleaching skirt. (You is so thorough
might be safer with the product that follows, for cleaning up the might not be a
mildewed surface, and then sanding heavily to remove any resid- (50 grit on a
ual oil finish.) Do this befor
When the decks are bleached and have had a day to dry, pro- bulk of the ri
ceed to How to Sand Decks later in this chapter. fice anyway i
approach will
using Teak W
lopped off.
To bleac
setup lists and
in chapter 5, a
toring in these

wood firmly. back or are con
ener and allow t
11. To hasten the departure of the dirty foam, run the tile scrubber
over the wood as you rinse. 17, When all bright
again, using the
12. If you employ a spray nozzle, use it on the shower, not the
power spray, setting, or you risk excavation of the softened 18. Rinse until you'
pith of the grain.
19. When finished f
13. Once all sections of the deck are bleached and rinsed, go back for any leaks; w
and give the entire boat another thorough rinse. side the boat.

1 4. After the decks have drained but before they begin to dry, 20. Allow the wood

ply bright- a more efficient runoff surface, thereby preventing excess mois- on your deck has sq
ture from lingering on the decks and inviting the growth of mildew. decks will take twice a
Even if you've elected to mow down big ridges before the seams before you beg
entire boat bleaching, the resultant fuzz raised by the big bath necessitates
gently. a "finishing-grit pass" to complete the project. Roll up your Your tool: Single-e
sleeves and get out your sanders. ming an entire deck
el the boat. Your "raw to the b
how soon should I sand? wrapped in advanc
nlowdecks Sand as soon as possible after bleaching once the decks have fingers
Its way in- dried at least a day. If brightwork trims are slated for varnish work, Your attack: Bend
you can save the deck sanding for last, to clean up any "acci- create a gentle arc
dents," but I think it's nice to get this grubby sanding project out at one end of a se
of the way before the varnishing. It makes for a more pleasant caulking—pulling
now may I finally sand? out the 50-grit s
Now you may finally sand. As you plan the project, refer to chap- smooth the surfa
ter 6 for details about sanding in general, as well as chapters 12 If starting with 6
and 13 for information about sanders and sanding aids, sandpa- with 120 grit. If y
per, and masking tapes to be used in this project. Add to all that grit beauty phase
these additional details specific to the task at hand: Buy at least a sle
Do not use disc or belt sanders on your deck. The Porter-Cable teak deck. Buy a
half-sheet finishing sander is best for this job. It's heavy, pow- for later work.
erful, and flat. Do not attempt th

Assorted hand-sanding aids at
grain and
Screwdrivers and/or VSR driver/drill D
and bits
liihing work SAFETY GEAR
50-foot extension cord (one per sander)
add a 180- and a source of electrical power Nitrile gloves

Single-edged razor blades (for seams) 3M particulate respirator

li ge 40-foot
xtra paper

lit give you.

VI :Ad .:FABLES AN1) 1)1 . SSI

and hand-sanding; organize the vacuum, sanders, cords, sand- on the bo
paper, and trash receptacles in a central spot where they won't
need to be disturbed during the work. 4. When all
sand area
'eat: If you're the religious sort, this job can destabilize
your faith. It is mind-numbingly exhausting, especially when 5. Once finis
decks are in horrible shape to begin with. Enlist some help; start over with
early; drink Gatorade—not beer—until the day is done. Most im-
portant: be extremelyvigilant about the risk of scratching adjacent 6. Proceed e
surfaces with the heavy-grit paper. hand-sand

7. If you are

122 t
thorough shower.

10. Flush grit and dust from every nook and cranny until you can't
stand another minute with the hose.

11. Wipe any brightwork dry with a chamois or soft, clean cotton

12. Allow the decks to drain well before setting resident para-
phernalia back in place.

13. If fittings require bedding compound, install those on another

day, after the teak has dried completely.
and quickly from the bosun's chair. horses,
Remove al
SGhedrti/e- v a m til m p do rid- in, the- crusty build
'5 ' chair: later reinsta
to determine levels of finish deterioration and overall condi- Plan to rot
tion of the stick ing. Keep
to determine the position from which you will need to do an- sawhorses
nual varnish work phases.
Do not wait until the day you plan to work to go up and
find out what shape the mast is in. Murphy's Law will be in- stripping
voked and precious time will disappear down the drain of poor On round s
planning. expensive i

II engineered saw-
own a heat gun, there's little point in pouring dollars down the Michelangelo sculp
stripper drain. • On round spars, wh
ii nd clean off all
The Key: teamwork! One person heats, the other comes di- finishing sander, an
lo make ready for
rectly along with the scraper. albeit across the gra

ching, and sand- After bleaching is f

bleaching grain—by machine
the mast at the
• Before bleaching, do the heavy-grit sanding (see Sanding, next grain scratches. Tak
li ghout the prep
column). of the mast by san
• If moisture stains are deeply set, follow guidelines for bleach- marks.
ing with oxalic acid (chapter 6). Use the paste method, allowing On square spars, s
the bleach to sit overnight. grits, using an orbit
I mtlssy and more
• If stains are superficial, bleach with Te-Ka A&B. sheet sander works
Just make sure

The new approach to cookin

Pick and choose the diet a
high-solids varnish. When you reach the final three coats, "Braille var

switch to a varnish that is rated for high abrasion, making sure nothing com

it has a high-grade UV package (see chapter 13 for specific ule, move th

candidates). least four fu
To speed application, varnish in teams: one person (using a horses.
foam roller) rolls on the varnish, "round the stick" in successive For buildup
laps, while the other tips off the laps. This helps answer the thinning on
question "where to leave off?" and prevents "brushing brushing in
seams" in the dried finish. cup of varnis
To seal, thin the first coat to 2 parts varnish to 1 part speed- After coat 7
drying solvent. (Use only solvents recommended by the var- nish to cure.
nish manufacturer.) After coat 1

hiii with dedication After the final varnish coat has cured for at least two days, Otherwise, up you go! TIP: Read
# mask along the top edge of the spreaders, using 3M Safe
piigh ihevarnish sched ning the project.
t,ick6 inches, to give a Release tape (see chapter 131 and paintthe spreader tops with
ilirecily above the saw- a high-quality white marine enamel. Carefully remove the tape. preparing the crew AND yourself
Allow to dry one full day, then mask again and apply a second • Get a very good night's sleep, a
li gth, one coat per day, coat of paint. to the job, to bank the highest p
thing solvent to ease • Line up the strongest, most trus
capful of thinner per varnishing from a bosun's chair find, for the job of pulling you
brings both brawn and brains to
veer) coats for the var- • Eliminate "worrying about bein
1. Don't waste your time or the time of your "support staff" gear- the job. Before you clip the hal
varnish to cure before ing up for this job, only to get to the top of the mast and discover "communication rules" with y

The new approach to cooking class

4 Pick and choose the diet and ingr
RJW (clutching mast, just to be safe): "OK." preferably o
APE: "Going down." from going
RJW (loosening grip on mast): "OK." are thinkin
Ape lowers me to desired level, at which point / say: mend calli
RJW (clutching the mast again): "Stop! " for one just
APE: "OK!" (and, once he's tied me off) "Secure!" details).
RJW: "Thank you!" If you own
each side, to
what to wear extension c
It can be a warm, sunny day at dock level, and at the same time Never use a
with the slightest breeze at the top of the mast, you can turn into only lockin

128 9r '
cool hi lilt in. This keeps your fanny drying) or mineral spirits, rolled up individually in a heavy be done as you labo
restricted circulation. If you plastic bag around between hoi
ur 1
1 . -itom made, I highly recom- A 1-inch Red Devil hook scraper, presharpened On your way up the
ii thers in Seattle and asking Sandpaper—range of grits, cut for sander and for hand- down the entire mas
v ru m le for us (see chapter 13 for sanding pulled up in continu
Two foam rubber sanding sponges When you reach the
pep' lesign, add a large D-ring on Five dry baby diapers or clean cotton shop rags, rolled up to fair old drips or br
lip( i ntainers for materials and tie Nitrile gloves Sanding grits: If the
il aci a ssories. A dust mask vides an adequate to
tta( I • the chair to the halyard; use Snacks (protein bars, Gatorade, apple quarters, cheese ... ) you can use the orbi
il .
ind 3ed for mountain climbing. Sunglasses and visor coarser, or you will c

The new approach to coo

Pick and choose the die
reach, wipe off the dusty residue with a clean, thinner-soaked boat—all but the ma
rag, then again with a clean, dry diaper. Then give your helper li ght layer of dust tha
the call to let you down, dropping just far enough to extend If there is enough time
your hand up to where you left off sanding above. ting dew), and the sp
As you work, stow thinner-soaked rags between uses back in your helper do the dec
their plastic bag, inside the fanny bag—even if they are not spreaders. Mix a smal
spent. Keeping them tucked away nearby exposes you unnec- (2:1), and transfer it to
essarily to fumes, and if solvent leaches through your clothes, Varnish, below. Go b
you can end up with a burn. and a tack cloth, and a
A note on that fanny bag: If you don't fold a deep enough no more than one coa
cuff, it is difficult to reach back into the depth of the bag to

130 ,,h
rl to remove flit. bag over the noose w
wing sanding. Two 1-inch chip brushes from slipping off
urs from the Two fresh, fully opened and crumpled tack cloths O Thin varnish for
ped bare, have One /4-inch extended-use masking tape (partial roll is best and adding no m
those denud er l for space) Bend the edge o
NI drying solvent Two pairs latex exam gloves transfer the varn
In Preparing tIH, Nitrile gloves the lids tightly to
ith a foam brush Snacks (caviar on toast points, foie gras, champagne . li ds will pop off.
urfaces. Apply Sunglasses and visor • When you get situ
irtxt day. Varnish in squeeze bottles (see below for preparation) one bottle onto th
A large Ziploc bag, attached at the secondary D-ring bottle in a side po

The new approach to cook

Pick and choose the diet
ity of flying drops. If you haven't sufficient drop cloths to pro- to get sloppe
tect the neighbors' boats, instruct your helper to be at the Tack, down t
ready with mineral spirits when trouble hits. Inspect neighbor- down, using
ing boats at the end of the project for any drops that went un- head. If poss
detected during the project. you complete
to the D-ring
going up If you know
Wear nitrile gloves as you go up, and quickly and lightly wipe perhaps to fin
the mast with solvent-moistened rags. Don't stop as you go; tape in place
just have your helper winch you up slowly as you wipe. an extended-
When you reach the spreaders, stop and lightly sand the sealed Keep a stock

132 is
son. Work your way down methodically, brushing each stroke Four quarter s
ihe top in an upward motion back into the wet edge that preceded it. A mineral spir
pie mast- White high-glo
ape as the third (and possibly fourth) trip bottle, prep
Cached n If you are planning two refresher coats, allow the first coat to A roll of 3/4-inc
dry for 5 days, then go at it again, repeating the drills for rides A clean tack cl
Ord day, 1 and 2, skipping the initial thinner wipe-down, and prepping Three 2-inch P
masking li ghtly with 320 grit. Two sticks Wr
ghat it is n Don't be tempted to begin varnishing past midday, or the dew A pair of latex
will "fog" the varnish that goes on by the time you've reached Sunglasses an
lihalyard the deck. A large Ziploc
Why white paint on spreaders? Varnish, at spreader level—with no Sometimes th
regular access for maintenance—will only immediately peel off. moderate win
The white paint reflects the sun's rays and provides long-term as long, and e
protection for the wood. Never skip the first varnish coats, be frozen to t
though, because the wood needs a decent seal to keep the paint ape will have
adhered to the surface. weekend fore
ful weekday
Why ketchup bottles? I hate the panic that overtakes me when I less of clima
take an open container of anything—varnish, paint, Dom Perignon back into por
—aloft. The incidence of "dropsy" increases in direct proportion top of a metr


I confess it: I'm a tool junkie.
Here's my Brightwork tool collection. Other brands work for other people; these are my

1S3.IC[ ScITE311
,!5' f& i1ar2%
1 the- / ^rq" UV;- Bosch cordless drill with assortment bags: Hardman D

of driver bits, box of 1-quart Ziploc bags, Sharpie laundry pen, as- paper buckets, c

sortment of 3M masking tapes (in Ziploc bags), razor blade (range of sizes),
lapsible ice pick
stirring wands, W
almost li ke Beem

6 the- 6I 2
nel, utility knife
suit, deck boots

138 tools, materials, and resources

. pini bang for a tool to ha
and in their own little universe .. . As you become
. col s also realize more rea
Craftsman wet-dry vacuum with brush nozzle, crevice tool, and
)tted Keep a checklis
standard floor-sweeping attachments
stes longs where, and wh
® Porter-Cable half-sheet heavy-duty finishing sander
n Plastic Multi-File box of sandpaper—range of grits
(see chapter 13)

1SaICI maproN atiL
1. Don't loan tools.
2. Don't borrow tools.
3. Organize your tool bag.
4. Use the right tool for the job.
5. Never leave your tools in the rain.
6. Always clean a tool when you mess
7. If you break a tool, fix/replace it with
8. Don't ever leave your tools where th
9. When you're finished with a tool, pu
10. Buy the best-quality tool, regardless
(especially if it's a gift ... ).

P.S. When directed toward your

140 ........ :ic :s

2. Attach a medium-toothed hacksaw blade to the board—teeth blade. TIP: Save a ton
facing right-1 inch from the right-hand long edge of the board. ple sheets at once.
n Use stainless steel #6
/8-inch pan-head sheet-
metal screws.
• Drive the screws through
a #10 flat washer, placed
under the blade at the hole
at each end.


S>1008NOOD (10
1SaTa vapraw
are half the price of the Speed-Bloc and less than half the tool. If tool.
you own only one sander, make it a Porter-Cable Speed-Bloc. TIP:

Load stacks of precisely cut sandpaper quarters, and then peel off random or
the sheets as the sandpaper wears out. Plus, tie the key to the
cord! The Porter-Cable half- The random orbit
sheet finishing sander is exactly pen. Combining th
what its name suggests and is sanders gives us
another sander to own if you an- wood and oily finis
ticipate doing much deck sand- ring. The only dow
ing or expansive work, or if you sign, the disc sha
plan to go into the brightwork tri ms and perpend
business. If you're doing just and stick-on abra

142 tools, materials, and resources

materials against the cost of labor, a random orbit sander is a good candidates for fi
" must-own" in the tools inventory. For the do-it-yourself bright- a Fein MultiMaster. T
work artist, this sander is a luxury to own, one that should not head and sandpaper,
supplant the Speed-Bloc if the tool budget is limited. I have two blade. If you have dec
neering random orbits: one palm size, with a built-in dust collector, and ing blade attachment
of disc one larger, early-generation model, with a dust-collection attach- cleanly and in record t
through ment. They are both made by Porter-Cable. Many tool manufac- more information on t
ital scar- turers make random orbit sanders. The good ones are the ones it locally, go to coastal
11 ) by de- that are not cheap. TIP: Contrary to standard orbital sander rules,
rners of
of sand-

you c
try to wet-sand with any other orbital, the pad will disintegrate be- yet capable of r
fore you go through the first sheet of sandpaper.) The Ryobi's must guard ou
smaller size also made it the perfect auxiliary tool for flat-sanding don't really hav
in tiny places.
I own two of these; maybe I'll put the older one on eBay.
Starting bid: $47,000.
The Easy Gun heat gun is also no longer available. This was
one of those rare tools shepherded into the retail world by the

144 tools, materials, and resources

your hands on them again.

you can

is :


enon that resides in the brightwork materials aisle that goes back chandlery nor a marine
to the days of the Pharaohs: someone will always be claiming to is a godsend. It's a rar
have come up with the product that Ends All Need To Varnish ... on the World Wide We
The materials named throughout this book are, with few ex- addresses along with
ceptions, ones that I have long used. If I have not mentioned the finding materials easie
it's a
name of something that a particular reader passionately embraces,
that omission means nothing more than that it is not a product I hap- arP In/terwt pm/
Aerials world . .
pen to use. Period. (I can't use them all, can I?) As always, I beg One spectacular webs
my students, readers, and fellow brightwork artisans to remem- most extensive invento
ber that the best products are nothing more than the ones with most logical way, of a
which each person has had success. In the way that it is foolhardy the Internet. For nearl
to argue with loved ones over politics, it is an exercise in silliness www.fisheriessupply
to argue over someone's choice in varnish or deck treatment or of course, you've chec

The companion volume 1




protected skin. Pull up the full material safety data sheets (MSDS) aged with a brightener
on the company's website, and use this product with great respect action of the residual d
for safety warnings. It's a chemical bully, but when the job calls suggestion in the instru
for powerful measures, it's the quickest route to clean wood.
Teak Wonder
Travaco Products division of ITW Philadelphia Resins T-Jett Marine
130 Commerce Drive 14260 S.W. 1
Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania Miami, Florid
18936 305 252 1210
2158558450 Fax 305 252 1
Fax 215 855 4688

148 tools, materials, and resources

' dw;igned to stop 'Oh 3525 Stone Way North A bleaching salt; adding thi
III I h I loll 311)11 ... Ng ttlis part, despH Seattle, Washington 98103 bucket is a good way to kee
'hot it 800 735 7019; 206 633 4200 decks.
Fax 206 632 2565
E-mail Both of these generic bleac hardware, home improveme
I1, ut /1 111

The new approach to cooking c

Pick and choose the diet and i
need for exposure to methyene chloride chemical strippers. It's Grits used in brigh
also wide/y available, at home improvement centers across the wise to have a full
land, and far less expensive than most marine strippers. refinishing schedul
Above all, ev
Citristrip book, and inferenc
Wm Barr Consumer Products Group or-dry paper in oili
2105 Channel Avenue li ne of papers. This
Memphis, Tennessee 38113 which helps preve
800 235 3546 --- . ishes. You will kno
E-mail the back of every (a great 'I will either be a silv
little site, with a "product ^t variation the chand
knowledge" instruction Fre-Cut, so named
video and a user's forum) than glue, on spec

150 tools, materials, and resources

sleeve is the normal package. 3M
r in this the neatest, most efficient way 800 771 7049
of wet- to keep a full inventory of grits is
Fre-Cut to place them—still in their orig-
;oating, inal sleeve—filed in grit order in
end fin- a hard plastic Multi-File. You al-
king on
rty side
-n rather
;:ally for

The new a roach to cooking classic

Pick and choose the diet and ingred
flour for little topping-up projects at joints prior to varnishing. If tect themselves, ide
your local chandlery doesn't carry it, tell them you want it. They'll setting up foolproof
thank you for the introduction. ing outdoors. The li
says it all: "This pro
Elementis Specialties
Ordering: 888 442 7362, ext. 3773; 973 751 3000
That said, ther
Customer Service: 800 418 5197
ucts and who believ
balance, I encourage
I don't personally employ clear penetrating epoxy sealers (CPES) place in their own b
(for example, Smith & Company) or any other product with an salt the disingenuo
epoxy undercoat in my finishing regimen. Aside from simply be- " makes varnishing o

152 In; because it is made from the
For information about the original CPES, you will find a derfully compatible with alm
lengthy infomercial at Smith and Company's website. applying over it, if you are
SeaFin as a sealer before va
Smith and Company quality penetrating tung oil fo
5100 Channel Avenue finishing. I do not recomme
Richmond, California 94804 SeaFin—or any other oil f
800 234 0330 mula—for exterior finishing.
E-mail See the Daly's listing page 149 for company inform
in a Ziploc bag.
soak. Boiled linseed oil is carried in many woodworking stores
and chandleries, under myriad labels. They're all pretty much the
same, so I encourage buying whichever is handiest.


When doing any kind of oiling work, the best rags are ones that
are lint-free. My absolute favorites have been the used blue cot-
ton surgical towels my dad gave us after someone at the local
hospital passed them (laundered, of course) along to him. No
longer sterile for medical use, they're perfect for buffing off wet-
sanded oil and wiping down oil-soaked wood. My other favorite

154 tc3 k.
,,11 1011)1, lor short periods of time,
#2040 PAINTER'S MASKING TAPE: This is their general-use pull up the paint it's adhe
crepe paper tape, applicable in everything from sanding work to #2070, making sure you cr
short-term varnish masking. Never leave this tape on overnight.
Work with 1-inch widths, and lay a double thickness when taping top. tips
off for machine-sanding. Keep every roll of tape y
after use. This maintains
#2070 SAFE RELEASE TAPE: This is a low-tack flat-back tape, When taping, hold a raz
best to use when masking over a vulnerable surface like paint; and pull the tape up again
4 1
not meant to be left on overnight or used through multiple coats. Lay tape no closer than
ate a proper varnish seal
#2090 BLUE LONG MASK: This is the industry standard for After using a cheap tape, o
long-term taping—a crepe paper tape that should come off every move the gummy residu
third coat to ensure clean removal and a neat varnish edge. Remover.

The companion volume to




• When tacking, don't scrub with the cloth, but rather wipe gen- Jen Brush Mfg. bru
tly over the varnishing plane, just enough to pick up any partic- ones to use. The Je
ulate matter that has settled since the initial vacuuming and plastic square glued
wipe-down. There are many cop
• Keep a tack cloth in a Ziploc bag between uses to extend the foam in this brush,
usable life of the cloth. Jen Mfg. is the M
foam brush makers:
Gerson Tack Cloth/High Tack Tan—This is the very best tack cloth Available just abo
supertacky with maximum pickup and holding power. you can buy finish
To save money, buy
box; keep them in
place until you need

156 tools, materials, and resources

been sold—and a few that have never made it past their com-
pany's R&D departments—but I'm inclined to stick with the ones
that I love. I encourage you to do the same: stick with the ones
that you love. If you are new to the world of brightwork, take time
to get to know a varnish well; be patient with its idiosyncrasies
and your own learning curve. Ask people what they know from
their own experience with that product. And don't expect things of
a varnish that are not possible. Your relationship with your varnish,
just like your relationship with your spouse, will be beautiful and
satisfying only as long as you are prepared to do the hard work.
Before any discussion of "what's the best varnish," it is
i mperative to promote an understanding of "how to treat any
Never varnish directly from the can; transfer what you are able
to use within an hour to a clean paper bucket. Epifanes

Use an awl or ice pick to poke three holes in the "rim trough" Woolsey/Z-Spa

of a newly opened varnish can, to reduce buildup in the rim be- Rivale Classic

tween pourings. McCloskey's B

Keep a rubber mallet in your varnishing tool bag at all times, Man 0' War

and never close a varnish or paint can with any other in-
But my favorites a
Don't play junior chemist with your varnish; follow the manu- INTERLUX VARNIS
facturer's instructions faithfully when adding solvents. #96 Schooner i
Store varnish in a place that does not undergo dramatic fluctu- and my all-time
ations of temperature; store it tightly lidded and upside down #60, formerly k
between uses. is now sold as G

158 to -. : d rLso area=s

#333 Brushing Liquid (for slowing down skinning during appli- words, lots of pretty new cans of suc
cation) a lot of people writing to me asking
Interlux/International Paint Inc. off.. .. Bottom line: I've tested and t
2270 Morris Avenue based varnish to want a seat on that b
Union, New Jersey 07083 fashioned oleoresinous varnish is out
800 468 7589 technical support line with the real McCoy. (The answer: (a good website, with access hasn't flaked off responds nicely to a
to MSDS and detailed descriptions of each prod-

WI line, uct's particular character)

1 Ifect,

160 tools, materials, and resources
work. 3M General Purpose Ad
high-flash-point solvent pack
acetone: This is a colorless, volatile member of the ketone fam-
xylene, and benzene, and is an
il y of solvents, with a very low flash point. As a utility solvent, it
occasional lapses in the timely
evaporates quickly and is handy for washing surfaces of grease,
good for removing wax, crayo
pencil markings, and other contaminants that might later wreak
gelcoat and wood surfaces. U
havoc under a finish.
shellac thinner: This is the industry name for denatured alco-
hol. It can hasten the drying of bare woods that need to be rinsed
with water, by mixing it in equal parts with the rinse water.
800 435 7338
Murphy Oil Soap and Shaklee's Industrial I: These are
both great soaps for washing a boat and cleaning teak decks and
retired baby diapers: Pay what
brightwork. The Shaklee's is biodegradable yet removes stains
retired diapers—sold by the bag, typic
on gelcoat and is easy on the brightwork and bare decks.
diaper service. These prefold diap
Murphy's is a gentle cleaner for varnish.
deemed fit in the eyes of the baby diap
Lemon Joy: This common dish soap is ideal for washing decks high standards, are worth more than
with salt water while cruising; it is the only soap I know of that multitude of applications on a boat. T
will lather in salt water. work as well as general cleaning, b
bunch of lint in their wake.
Liberty Polish: This metal cleaner and polish was developed in
1 920 and is the absolute best formula on the market for restoring Ziploc bags: I call these "poor ma
the shine to brass, bronze, and stainless steel surfaces on a boat. the brightwork artist's primary system

162 '=: oc
business started by their father. Dealing with them is a bonus to
strapped. It is the perfec
having the perfect chair made just for you.
th e going rate is lel don whenever sanding
—from your local bah\ of any kind for longer t
Schattauer Sails Inc./Frank and Axel Schattauer
,hich are no longer to as a dust-mist mask.
6010 Seaview Avenue N.W.
,rvice for their client!, #8247: This is similar to
Seattle, Washington 98107
weight in gold for ,1 that it has a charcoal fil
il 206 783 2400
are ideal for finishini working inside with va
ey Fax 206 783 0173
,;e th don't leave n prevent singing by day
latex exam gloves: Th
1 , J pperware"; they are are available by the box in
,torage, and they keep I never varnish or paint w
companies, and available in myriad weights and sizes.
Orange Go-Jo—G
eye shields: If you don't wear glasses, get into the habit of pro-
products most comm
tecting your eyes whenever working with bleach or any other
ing with petroleum p
caustic solution. Many companies make attractive and tinted eye
shields; use them when you have a deck to bleach—or risk a trip
to the emergency room with a burned cornea (as I once did!). good first-aid kit
this kit on every bo
knee pads: Our backs suffer enough; we have to give our
where you expect to
knees a break in advance. Thanks to the skateboard crowd,
the traditional collec
good strap-on knee pads are easily accessible, and using them
cially if you plan to b
religiously makes it possible to spend hours in "brightwork
prayer" as we toil away at our sacred work.

164 _
thing you plan to eat or wear. advance any possible disasters. L
it Buster: These are the a "
Burp " every can of product that has a solvent base by slowly possible to fall overboard as you w
d 11011(1 deanup after work-
turning the lid at arm's length to release vapors when opening. you have to work underneath it;
1,1 vvliort you forget to wear 8
If you value your senses, cover your eyes, nose, and hands dur- promise to trip you; test all connec
ing all work that exposes those parts to toxic materials. ing aloft in a bosun's chair. In shor
lu kites the presence of • Do not use solvents to clean paint and varnish from hands; sol- Save that beer for the end of the w
ill), 0nd any other place vents head straight for your liver. If you haven't taken preven- referring to when we specify "brus
.0ort of life. Augment
int icy eye wash, espe-
,1 1
read all
lence can be achieved by anyone simil
by Isabel O'Neil nating journey
William Morrow & Co. (1971)

Here is a book for the brightwork artist who is crazy about mess- THE WOODBOOK

ing around with brushes and varnish and who, once finished by Klaus Ulrich Leistikow
Taschen America (2002)
transforming a boat, will need other new and exciting canvasses.
O'Neil's writing makes me want to go out and transform every This incredible volume reproduces, in
tra! wall, piece of furniture, and floor in sight. And with her very specimen pages from the originally
thoughtful guidance, I feel sure that whatever I undertake in that Woods. That work, 1 4 volumes wi
t it! mission, I will succeed at joyfully and with inspired patience. In assembled, and mounted on card sto
fact, one of my favorite quotes on the patience theme is from this between 1888 and 1913, remains
book: achievement, and created a benchm

The new approach to cooking classic

Pick and choose the diet and ingredi
for anyone who appreciates the inherent magic in wood—espe- THE HISTORY OF T
cially anyone who likes working with wood. by Julian Barnes
Knopf (hard cover, 1


by Alan Watts it possibly have to do w
Dodd, Mead & Company (hard cover) and Sheridan House (paper- 1. It's one of my all-ti
back), 2nd edition (2001) tagonist (a woodwor
This isn't the definitive volume on meteorology; it is a succinct of the sailing of Noa
guide to reading what we Seattle varnishers have come to 2. Its title inspired the o
regard as the standing menace to productivity—the clouds! This it as flattery and don
"clouds bible" delivers more truths about the weather than could Trust me; you'll love th
be gleaned from two thousand local forecasts. I have played a genius!

168 toe';. ,.::.,;

work you currently hold in your hand. It is sometimes accused
WILD IN 10 /2 CHAPTERS of being the varnishing bible, but I think people who say that are One of the greatest information e
li ving dangerously. Brightwork has a more narrative style of world of boat building and finish
tionks (paperback, 1990) "how-to" than what you find here, and within that narrative are Forum. Log onto this site and you

vv1)11 , of fiction, and what could woven many threads of my own experiences in all aspects of dreds of archived stream-of-cons

oil ightwork? life: family, work, love, loss, failure, success, and travels in the indexed by subject. Typing in the k
hooks, with an audacious pro- larger arena of humanity. Those threads come together to form a down a labyrinthine path of opinion
mil .1 wickedly revisionist account rich contextual tapestry meant to serve as a backdrop for the
doing of what can sometimes seem mundane work. The things
11,1 , hook. (Please, Mr. Barnes—see that you will find in that book that you won't find in this one are (full disclosure: this just happens
t... I. not needed in the course of an actual project, and therefore could If you've still got a hankering for
wol k of literary—and cynical — be set aside in the writing of this one. But in the larger picture verse with Rebecca as your guid
they help to provide a deeper understanding of the art, philoso- what's new—along with what nev
cially anyone who likes working with wood. by Julian Barnes
Knopf (hard cover, 1989) and Vintage Books

I NSTANT WEATHER FORECASTING What's so special about this little work of fic
by Alan Watts it possibly have to do with a book on brightw
Dodd, Mead & Company (hard cover) and Sheridan House (paper- 1. It's one of my all-time favorite books, w
back), 2nd edition (2001) tagonist (a woodworm!) giving a wicked
This isn't the definitive volume on meteorology; it is a succinct of the sailing of Noah's ark.
guide to reading what we Seattle varnishers have come to 2. Its title inspired the one for this book. (Ple
regard as the standing menace to productivity—the clouds! This it as flattery and don't call the lawyers.)
"clouds bible" delivers more truths about the weather than could Trust me; you'll love this. It is a work of lite
be gleaned from two thousand local forecasts. I have played a genius!

168 tools. materials. 5:) ; :., ..

10 1 /y CHAPTERS of being the varnishing bible, but I think people who say that are One of the greatest information exchang
li ving dangerously. Brightwork has a more narrative style of world of boat building and finishing is t
lirripirilock, 1990) Forum. Log onto this site and you'll have
"how-to" than what you find here, and within that narrative are
fir fir ri ;Ind what could woven many threads of my own experiences in all aspects of dreds of archived stream-of-consciousn
II I. life: family, work, love, loss, failure, success, and travels in the indexed by subject. Typing in the keywor
audacious pro- larger arena of humanity. Those threads come together to form a down a labyrinthine path of opinions that c
Il y account rich contextual tapestry meant to serve as a backdrop for the
doing of what can sometimes seem mundane work. The things
Mr. Barnes—see that you will find in that book that you won't find in this one are (full disclosure: this just happens to be m
not needed in the course of an actual project, and therefore could If you've still got a hankering for scenes f
111()hily —and cynical — be set aside in the writing of this one. But in the larger picture verse with Rebecca as your guide, visi
they help to provide a deeper understanding of the art, philoso- what's new—along with what never cha


Tsam sppuow
and fi //y, P v sh", j%'
Paula: Hey Debora, I heard your best friend drowned in a tub of
varnish. How awful!

Debora: Yeah. But what a finish!

170 tools, materials, and resources

using scrapers around, 52 for interior oil finish, 88
bare wood finish, 23, 113 in linseed oil sealer, 82, 83
belt sanders, 66, 120 C as prevarnish sealer, 81, 91
bleaching, 38 cabin soles, 107-8 decks, teak
cabin soles, 108-10 finishing tips, 109-12 bleaching, 116-18
decks, 116-18 maintenance, 112 leveling seams, 119-20
to remove stains, 67-69 canvas bags, for organizing tools and maintenance, 113-14
spars, 125 materials, 139 myths about, 115
to strip oil finishes, 46-50, 116 canvas covers, 25, 42, 101 sanding, 119-23
tool bag, 138 carnauba wax, 47, 117 Deks Olje finishes, stripping, 45, 46
what to do when unsuccessful, 69 cedar, bleaching stains from, 67 detailing
bleaching products, 148-49 chamois skins, 162 after varnishing, 99
bleaching skirt, 47 charcoal dust masks, 58, 60, 88, 89, preparatory, 73
bleed-back, 50, 90 93, 111, 129, 163. See also res- detail sanders, 64, 138, 143
blistered varnish, repair of, 103 pirators deterioration of varnish, assessment
boat prep tool bag, 138 chemical stripping, 38, 45, 55-57, of, 24, 103
boiled linseed oil, 32, 154 124-25, 108 diapers, as rags, 46, 105, 129, 130,
as mahogany sealer, 82-84 Citristrip stripping gel, 150 138, 154, 162
books, recommended, 54, 40, 138, chemical stripping and, 55-57 driers, metallic, id varnish, 32. See
167-69 cleaning fittings, 74 also Japan drier
borax, 67, 69 preparatory detailing, 73 dry-scraping, 45, 58-59
Fisheries Supply, 147 The History of the World in 1032 1 62
fittings, removal and cleaning, 42, 74 Chapters (Barnes), 168 Liberty Polish, 74, 162
foam brushes, 67, 78, 82, 83, 88, 94, holidays, in varnish application, 95, 98 li nseed oil, boiled, 32, 154
95, 104, 110, 131, 133, 138, as mahogany sealer, 82-84
156-57 I louvered doors, stripping, 56, 64
foam rollers, 95, 126, 156 Instant Weather Forecasting ( Watts),
40, 138, 168 M
G interior oil finish, 87-91, 153 mahogany
gelcoat, cleaning spills on, 73, 99, maintenance, 87, 104 bleaching stains, 67
161 Interlux varnishes, 104, 158-59 finish options, 23, 88
Gerson tack cloths, 93, 104, 156. for cabin soles, 111 sealing with boiled linseed oil,
See also tack cloths Internet resources, 143, 147, 148, 82-84
gloves, 163-64. See also safety gear; 1 49, 150, 151, 152, 153, 156, staining, 78
safety gear, lists for specific 1 59, 169-70 maintenance
projects ironwood, finish options, 23 oil finish, 87, 104
varnish finish, 24-25, 101-5, 112
H J maintenance supplies, 104-5, 162-63
hand cleaners, 164 Japan drier, 32, 33, 82, 83, 161 masking tapes, 138. See also taping
hand-sanding, 64-65, 96. See also Jen Brush Mfg. foam brushes and 3M Extended Use, 93, 94, 96,
sanding rollers, 156 1 31.132

172 lrrd s
78-80 resources
1 39, 151 Planecraft (Hampton and Clifford), 54 books, 54, 40, 138, 167-69
Murphy Oil Soap, 101, 162 poly-foam brushes, 67, 78, 82, 83, Internet, 143, 147, 148, 149, 150
88, 93, 94, 104, 110, 131, 133, 151, 152, 153, 156, 159,
N 138, 156-57 169-70
nitrile gloves, 164 poly-foam rollers, 95, 126, 156 materials suppliers, 147-64
polyurethane resins, 32, 159 respirators, 65, 121, 163. See also
O Porter-Cable sanders, 17, 120, 121, charcoal dust masks
oak, bleaching stains from, 67 125-26, 138, 139, 142-43 Rogers, Bill, and varnish quiz, 170
oil finish prep bag, boat, 138 roll-and-tip method, 95, 109, 126
components of, 31 prep work, final Ryobi palm sander, 129, 138, 144
lack of protection by, 23, 87 sealers, 81-85
maintenance, 87, 104 stains, 78-80 S
oiling prep work, intermediate safety, environmental
interior oil finish, 88-91, 153 bleaching, 67-69 chemical stripping, 57
li nseed oil soak, 82-84 functions of, 63 disposal of rags, 80, 89, 91, 130
tips for, 153 products, 152-53 disposal of toxic wastes, 53, 57,
wet-sanded oil sealer, 81, 91 sanding, 64-66 59, 165
oils. See also tung oil prep work, preliminary, 42. See also dry-scraping, 59
boiled linseed oil, 32, 82-84, 154 stripping heat stripping, 53

The companion volume to

Schattauer Sails Inc. bosun's chair, varnishing unstepped, 124-27 for filling voids, 70
128, 132, 163 Speed-Bloc sander, 17, 120, 121, for sanding, 61, 122
scrapers, 105, 129, 138 138, 142, 143 tips for, 155
sharpening, 52, 54, 59 spreaders, varnishing, 127, 130, 132, for varnishing, 94, 96
use of, 53, 59 133-34 teak
sealers spruce, bleaching stains from, 67 finish options, 23, 112, 113
commercial, 81 squeeze bottles, for varnish, 131-32, wet-sanded oil sealer, 81
as emergency finish, 23, 31 134 teak decks. See decks, teak
epoxy, 85, 152-53 stain removal, 67-69, 149 teak oil. See tung oil
oil types, 81, 82-84, 91, 153-54 stains, pigmented, application of, Teak Wonder Cleaner and Brightener
uses of, 23, 31 78-80 1 48
as varnish prep, 81-85, 91, 126 storage bleaching decks with, 116-18
seams, leveling on decks, 119-20. fanny bags, 129, 130, 131, 133 in varnish repair, 103
See also joints sandpaper box, 139, 151 Te-Ka A&B Teak Wood Cleaner, 45,
Shaklee's Basic I, for cleaning decks, tool bags, 138-39 1 48
114, 162 Ziploc bags, 42, 74, 93, 121, 122, bleaching decks with, 116
shellac thinner, 161 131, 133, 138, 162-63 bleaching finishes with, 46-50
Sikkens Cetol, stripping of, 45 stripping, 38 bleaching oil from cabin soles,
silicone sealers, removal of, 45 acid bleaching, 45, 46-50, 116 1 08-9
Smith and Co. epoxy sealers, 152-53 of cabin soles, 108-9 bleaching spars, 125

U taping, 94, 96 wet-or-dry sandpaper, 84, 88, 150
G r een masking UV package, in varnish, 32, 126 tips for, 95-96 wet-sanded oil sealer, 81, 91
tool bag, 138 The Woodbook (Leistikow), 167-68
p asking tape, 60, V weather factors, 95-96, 97, 98 Woodcraft Supply Co., 54
5 121, 122, 155
vacuum cleaner, 51, 53, 58, 59, 60, varnishing window, 98 wood fillers, paste, 77, 81, 91
iy 61, 93, 110-11, 120, 121,
l se masking tape, varnish quiz, 170
122-23, 139 varnish thinners. See also solvents z
Mask tape, 155 varnish for sealer coats, 81-82 Ziploc bags, 42, 74, 93, 121, 122,
1 , 3 per, 88, 150
components of, 31-32 wise use of, 33-34, 97, 159 131, 133, 138, 162-63
1 history, 16 veneer. See also cabin soles
tools protective qualities, 23 finish required on, 23
i i dels,17, 144-45 recommended brands, 111, sanding precautions, 66, 89
138-39 158-59
removing from fiberglass, 73, 99 w
1tsprojects shelf life, 32 water-based varnishes, 159
stirring, 94, 158 water stains, removing, 67-69, 149
thinning, 33-34, 94, 97, 159 weather
tips for handling, 158 for acid bleaching, 46
water-based, 159 for applying sealer, 82
,1109,73 as wood sealer, 81-82 for applying stains, 78
the greatest satisfaction from
"A first-class and highly reada
anyone who owns or is conte
Rebecca Wittman vessel."
cofounded a custom
"It's elegant—elegant as the w
yacht refinishing com-
elegant in its writing, elegant
pany, The Teak Twins, in
physically as a volume."
1978. Since that time she
has refinished countless "As well as being a comprehen
boats in Seattle, Wash- work celebrates the beauty o
ington, and Marina del Rey, California, and has " Wittman ... make[s] you wan
taught seminars on brightwork at Seattle's Cen- brush (or heat gun) in hand."
ter for Wooden Boats. Her 1990 book Bright-
"Everyone who does varnishin
work: The Art of Finishing Wood is considered a
classic in the field. ISBN -13:978-007142
9 780071 422772