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Thread: Boat builders need advice please

  1. #1

    Boat builders need advice please

    So I volunteered to do some repair & restoration on my wife's team's Dragon Boat. See pic. The seats and gunnels (gunwhales) are in need of some TLC. This is a 16 year old boat and I don't know if any TLC has been done to the seats & gunnels in the past. At best maybe some wax has been applied. Anyways they are weathered and grey-ish. Presumably made out of either teak or mahogany, and not certain what type of finish has been applied to them in the past.
    .....so I need some advice please on how to proceed. The seats cannot end up with a glass smooth finish as once they get wet the paddler will slide off the seat. And both the gunnels and seats need to have both a waterproof and UV blocking finish.
    Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Cary Wheeler
    Windsor Ontario Canada
    "Honest honey! That isn't a new tool you're looking at. That was my grandfathers. Yes, they had yellow Dewalt tools back in the 30's"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Highland MI
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    Welcome to the Creek Cary. I see you are from Windsor, not too far from me. What type of boat is it? Any pics of areas you need to restore? Paddler is a hint but not enough for me. Doesn't look like a canoe or a kayak or a rowing shell, and a sailboat (there is a Dragon class there) doesn't need paddlers.

    Wood on a boat needs lots of maintenance to stay in good condition. Obviously that hasn't happened if the wood is weathered and grey. Typically spar varnish is designed for exterior boat bright work as it has UV inhibitors. Even then it needs to be redone every few years if left out and exposed. Some choose to leave teak weathered to avoid the yearly maintenance. Hopefully others with more boat restoration experience will chime in.
    Last edited by Ole Anderson; 04-08-2018 at 2:16 PM.
    NOW you tell me...

  3. #3
    Waterproof and uv blocking doesn't come in a single finish with any good reliability. My go to recipe is to waterproof with epoxy (or epoxy and 4 oz glass fabric, which goes transparent) and overcoat with 2 part polyurethane or Epiphanes varnish. Either top coat can be made non-skid with additives and still look decent.

    Waterproof coating with epoxy is a bit demanding, as unthinned epoxy doesn't level all that well. It can be done but it takes practice and even then I often have to finish up with a RO sander to level the surface.

    If well done, the epoxy-polyurethane or epoxy-Epiphanes finish can be outstanding.
    Fair winds and following seas,
    Jim Waldron

  4. #4
    I will post pics tomorrow as I unwrap the boat. It is a Dragon Boat. Effectively a large 40foot canoe. 20 paddlers (not rowers) + a steersperson and a drummer.

  5. #5
    Cary Wheeler
    Windsor Ontario Canada
    "Honest honey! That isn't a new tool you're looking at. That was my grandfathers. Yes, they had yellow Dewalt tools back in the 30's"

  6. #6
    So those pics above show the damage I am dealing with
    Cary Wheeler
    Windsor Ontario Canada
    "Honest honey! That isn't a new tool you're looking at. That was my grandfathers. Yes, they had yellow Dewalt tools back in the 30's"

  7. #7
    It looks like old fashioned spar varnish which has worn off to me.. Epifanes or Captians are classic products....

    But..

    This is going to sound like dumb advice - but any chance you could call up the manufacturer, talk them up, and ask for their recommendation?

    Often as not - these type boats are made by small shops... And they often love love and did I say LOVE to talk about what they do... And they are generally pretty free and friendly with their advice... Many of them will sell you the right stuff to use at a pretty good price...

  8. #8
    Great idea. Hopefully someone on the team can remember back 16 years when the boat was purchased. Thanks
    Cary Wheeler
    Windsor Ontario Canada
    "Honest honey! That isn't a new tool you're looking at. That was my grandfathers. Yes, they had yellow Dewalt tools back in the 30's"

  9. #9
    There's probably a nameplate on it somewhere... Typically every hull requires a nameplate identifying the manufacturer, capacity, and so forth. Look for it to be permanently attached to the inside of the hull somehow..

    also - there are only a very limited number of manufacturers.. Maybe 4 in Canada... The design is very highly regulated and must be certified to be allowed to race.... As such - it's probably on the hull somewhere...
    Last edited by John C Cox; 04-09-2018 at 3:59 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Florida
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    173
    Teak or not, it looks like it's had some kind of finish or sealer that's long gone. But, especially if it's teak, you might be better off leaving the seats alone. Weathered teak is more non-slip than finished teak unless you put particles of something in the finish (which would not be kind to skin and fabric) and it's fairly stable. It takes a long time for it to get much worse-looking.

  11. #11
    That ain't teak. No chance. It looks like mahogany to me. It also looks like a failed varnish coating; if the wood is cleaned up, lightly sanded and re-coated, Epiphanes (rather than Captains; Epiphanes is much harder and scratch resistant) will do nicely. After about four coats, add a non-skid additive to a fifth coat and then top coat with a sixth. Should do you well and last a year in Ontario, 3 months in St. Thomas. After the appropriate latitude-adjusted period, lightly sand and add another top coat. After five years, strip to bare wood and start over.

    It's one of those "If you have to ask, you can't afford it" things that come with boats. In this case, it's more the cost in time and elbow grease than in money, but the idea is the same.
    Fair winds and following seas,
    Jim Waldron

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    142
    20 paddlers should be able to provide plenty of elbow grease, and since it's their party they should bring the pizza and beer. You just have to provide the technology.

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