1948 Century Seamaid Bleaching

1948 century seamaid bleaching

Winnie has been stripped and sanded fair, following Joe’s execution of a few Dutchman repairs and replacing a few loose bungs.

The hull is in excellent condition with nary any loose or broken screws.

Winnie is now enduring some aggressive bleaching using Daley’s A&B Bleach mixed at a ratio of 3B:1A. Joe began applying bleach early this morning and will continue reapplying it throughout the day, with a goal of keeping the wood soaking wet. After sitting overnight, her blonde inner self hull will begin emerging. She will be near snow white by the time her moisture content reaches about twelve percent.

Since now rinsing is required after applying Daly’s, we will next lightly scuff sand the hull using medium Scotch Brite pads. (Do not reach for sandpaper as sanding risks going through what is a very thin layer of bleached wood.)

Once she is scuffed and vacuumed, we will begin what will be a challenging staining process using Lake Oswego Boat Co. J’eld stain.

We will stain and seal (CPES) the blonde sections of the “torpedo” first to protect them from the dark stain we will use on the balance of the decks. The topsides and transom will be stained to match the decks.

1956 Chris Craft Capri Bleach & Stain Milestone

1956 chris craft capri bleach stain

Our 1956 Chris-Craft Capri Runabout blew past a major milestone today. Her decks and gunwales been sanded fair, Joe has replaced rotted perimeter wood along the margins of her cockpit, bleached with Daly’s A & B Wood Bleach, and stained using Lake Oswego Boat Co. J’eld stain – Post-War Chris-Craft

Next she will be sealed with multiple coats of Smith’s CPES, followed by scuff sanding using medium Scotch Brite pads, clean the entire surface with Acetone-dampened shop towels and begin applying Pettit Flagship High-Build varnish.

The blonde king plank will not be stained as we continue following the original Chris-Craft practice of simple varnishing it with an amber varnish, which will impart a honey-blonde hue.

After applying about 15 coats, and because they will be painted white, we will fill the deck seams using mahogany Sikaflex, paint them white using Interlux Boottop and Striping Enamel and then apply the final five or so coats using Pettit Z-Spar Captain’s Ultra Clear varnish, thereby adding UV protection to the paint.

Rather than type out all the materials’ names and source links correctly each time, you can find a comprehensive roster by clicking here.

1956 Chris Craft Capri Bleach Stain Milestone

1956 chris craft capri bleaching staining

What a great milestone to have disappearing in our wake.

Once the wood dried down to 5%-10% moisture content, which required applying Dalys A & B Wood Bleach, mixed 3B:2A, twice, the uniformity we sought was achieved.

Now that we have scuff-sanded the entire surface with medium grit Scotch Brite pads, it is time for bleaching her with Mike Mayer’s Lake Oswego Boat Co. Post-War Chris-Craft J’eld stain.

We are now standardized on J’eld stain, whether it is sourced directly from Wood Kote, or most often from Mike. The advantage of using Mike’s products is that he offers a wide array of stains formulated to match original company stains exactly.

Why J’eld stain? Here is the link to the video shot at the Snake Mountain Boatworks’ J’eld stain workshop.

We just might have applied some varnish by week’s end!

1956 Chris Craft Capri Bleaching

1956 chris craft capri bleaching

It’s bleaching, well, bleaching-over-two-days, for our 1956 19’ Chris Craft Capri Runabout. Joe has been applying Dalys A & B Bleach, mixed 3:1, B:A for about 2+ hours when the first half of the clip was shot on May 28, 2020. That clip promises a follow-up view of snow white topsides and transom today, May 29, 2020.

While much of the wood, which is still 35% moisture content on the gauge this morning, is quite white, and will get even whiter as it dries, the fact that there are so many replaced planks, each of which is a different species of mahogany, we failed to achieve our desired uniformity. Anthony has attacked the topsides again, and he will keep apply the 3B:1A bleach mix for the next several hours. Then we will allow it to dry down to 10% or so before we scuff it with medium Scotch Brite pads, vacuum it thoroughly and begin staining it.

Our stain of choice, and it will be yours as well once you try it, is J’eld stain from the Lake Oswego Boat Co. Mike Mayer offers this incredibly easy-to-apply, easy-to-get-to-uniformity stain in quarts. We will use Chris-Craft Post War.

More on its way to you shortly…..

1947 Chris Craft U22 Bottom Skeletonized

1947 chris craft U22 bottom skeletonized

Stripping her bottom completely was absolutely the right choice. Were you to navigate back to an earlier video, you would here me expressing virtual glee around how clean and oil-free our 1947 Chris-Craft U22’s bilge is/was.


She’s over seventy. Her bottom had never been released until today. Let this be a lesson to all of us.

Even if her engine never leaked, and even if no one spilled oil when sucking it our of the filler pipe, just regular use translates into goo, grease, grime, oil and God knows what else finding its way into the bilge. Everything gets coated and more so over the decades.

As this clip testifies, her framework is a greasy mess. Never could it hold paint. Once we finish stripping everything, we will reach for our Simple Green Industrial Degreaser and use literally gallons of it virtually full-strength cleaning and scrubbing. Then all surfaces will be coated in Sandusky Chris-Craft Mahogany Bilge Paint.

Thanks to a butt joint at about amidships, we will only release the aft section of chine plank, which will expose the chine frame and ends of the two aft bottom frames.

Releasing/replacing the center transom frame means first releasing all three, not just the bottom, transom plank.

Anthony has now released the port-side bottom planking, thereby exposing similarly greasy, grimy frame members.


1951 Penn Yan President Bleaching Milestone

1951 penn yan president bleaching

My 1951 Penn Yan President blasted through several major milestones this week.

• With the application of the final two coats of Penn Yan Chinese Red gloss enamel, the is fully preserved below the waterline. (We sourced the Chinese Red from T.J. Amato, Penn Yan Parts and Accessories. The paint supplied by T.J. is formulated precisely as Penn Yan did, and it is an excellent paint in terms of application and drying.)

• Her transom and topsides have been stained, sealed with three coats of Smith’s Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer, and received their first 15 coats of pettit hi build varnish. (We sanded after coats 5, 8 and 12, and will sand them again with 400 grit before applying the final 5 – 10 coats.)

• Every square inch of her interior was stripped, sanded and sealed with CPES, before we applied 4 coats of Sikkens Cetol Marine (satin) to her hullsides and interior transom surfaces, and three coats of SANPACO gray bilge paint to her bilge. • After flipping her upright yesterday, we sanded her decks and covering boards fair.

• Today is bleaching day. As we shot the video, Joe and RJ had been applying bleach repeatedly and keeping her wet for almost three hours. As is our practice, we will continue applying Dalys’ stronger mixture – 3 parts B to 1 part A for the next three hours, and then we will leave her overnight.

Joe and I erred by referencing white Sikaflex seams. In fact, the seams will be filled with mahogany Sikaflex 291 LOT.

The seams will be only half filled, which enhances the seams’ contribution to the decks’ overall visual impact.

Her decks will be stained to match her topsides and transom, while her covering boards will remain blonde, as she was when she left the factory.

If all goes according to plan, We will stain her decks using Mike Mayer’s Lake Oswego Boat Company Custom Jel’d stain, which is now our standard.

We will stain the covering boards using Mike’s Chris-Craft Blonde Jel’d stain. Varnishing will commence once the stain is dry and three coats of Smith’s CPES have been applies.

Assembly cannot be that far away, but probably is… and winter will be here before then, so she will not splash until next spring. Darn!

1954 Penn Yan Captivator Aristocrat Bleaching Milestone

1954 penn yan captivator bleaching

With her bottom repaired and having received two coats of Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer, we sealed her below-waterline seams using TotalBoat Thixo Flex, sanded the entire surface fair and applied four additional coats of Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer.

Why so many coats of CPES? Once stripped bare, her bottom planking was, to invoke the cliché, dry as a cork. The CPES simply all but disappeared as it was applied, which does not contribute to adhesion.

Once the splash rails were installed imbedded in 3M 5200 and their bottom sides sealed with CPES, we applied three coats of Pettit Tie Coat Primer, followed by four more of JD Select shark white antifouling paint.

While some folks varnish splash rail undersides, we always prime and bottom paint them, thereby better-protecting wood that so often comes into the shop rotted into the rail and sometimes well into the hullside planking.

We then stripped and sanded her hullsides fair with 80 grit, and now have flipped her upright so we can focus on bleaching, staining, sealing and varnishing the hullsides, decks and gunwales.

Almost immediately we encountered a major issue. The coaming strips that encircle both cockpits had been released and then installed bedded in gobs and ribbons of 3M 5200. Since finishing the decks would be all but impossible with their grain running into the coamings. (The latter stand almost 3.8” proud of the decks.)

Not a problem. We will simply release the screws and off they will come. NOT! We had to literally slice them off using our FEIN MultiMaster, and eventually off they came. We will clean the residue 5200 using Circa 1850 Heavy Body Paint and Varnish Remover, scrapers and, yes, likely the FEIN tool.

Joe and RJ stripped the decks and most everything attached to them and then reached for reefing hooks, which are available from Jamestown Distributors.

We have half a dozen or more of them, each one of which has been ground to a different thickness, which we use to remove the “white stuff” from deck seams. (This video we shot in 2016 shows RJ cleaning seams with a reefing hook). Be sure to read the write-up that accompanies the clip for more guidance and information.

Bleaching begins now, and we should be leaving this milestone on our wake by tomorrow morning. Then her elegance begins reemerging once we’ve scuffed the bleached surfaces to remove the hairs that the bleach stands up, and stain her.

Yes, we will keep on keeping you in the loop!

1954 Penn Yan Captivator Aristocrat Transom Bottom Preservation

1954 penn yan captivator transom bottom preservation

Penn Yan Striptite hulls’ below-waterline plank seams are notoriously difficult to render watertight. We have used Interlux Seam Compound For Underwater Applications in the past. No longer. Once in place, the Seam Compound is pretty good at 3M 5200 is not. In fact, because it becomes increasingly hard and inelastic post-curing, 5200 tends to tear the wood fibers along the seams, or at least lose adhesion. This earlier video on the Captivator Aristocrat illustrates why 5200 is NOT the answer. Henceforth we will reach for TotalBoat Thixo Flex, which pays easily, adheres tenaciously and remains flexible when cured.

Here is the video I shot while paying the Thixo Flex.

We use a piston-driven pneumatic caulking gun for this purpose, and not one that is air-driven.

Why? The Thixo Flex is packaged in two compartments in its tube to which a mixing tip supplied with the product has been attached. Since one component is much more viscous than the other, an air-driven gun tends to dispense the lighter component first, and therefore in proportions that keep it from curing.

A piston-driven gun, much like an hand-activated gun, dispenses the two components in precisely the correct proportions, such that the payed material is semi-cured in 24 hours or less, depending upon the ambient temperature.

Bottom line. If you will use a pneumatic caulking gun for dispensing Thixo Flex, be sure it is piston-driven.

One additional caution. Because it remains flexible post-curing, Thixo Flex is hellish difficult to sand and tends to load sandpaper quite quickly. RJ and Joe spent the afternoon sanding the bottom with six-inch random-orbit sanders and 80 grit paper, and went through one-and-a-half boxes to reach a clean, fair surface.

Not surprisingly, we discovered multiple holidays – air bubbles, mostly – that we will fill in a final pass across the bottom.

Transplanting a new transom into the hull has also passed a major milestone. The new transom and its interior framing have been fabricated. Its interior surfaces have been sealed, stained and varnished, and it is ready for mounting on the hull.

First, however, we had to deal with the thin strip of mahogany that is attached to and runs along the interior surface of the planking tails. Much of it was rotted and came out with the failed transom. We had to excise the rest of it using a MultiMaster, followed by fabricating, steam bending and inserting a new strip in place.

Once the 3M 5200 has cured, probably several days from now, we will release the forest of clamps and mount the new transom.

With her topsides already stripped and ready for sanding, staining, sealing with Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer and varnishing, the pace should pick up over the coming weeks.SHOW LESS

1937 Lyman Cruisette – How-to Strip Varnish & Stain

1967 lyman cruisette how-to stain varnish

Stripping paint and varnish from antique and classic wood hulls must be the least rewarding element of their preservation. It’s all about getting it off.

That it is a cliché’ is immaterial. Preparation is 95%+ of great wood boat preservation. Cleaning the wood completely, until all traces of penetrating stain or surface coatings have vanished, is the cornerstone of thorough and complete preparation.

And, what with grain typically running in multiple directions, great care must be taken that the scrubbing involved here does not raise a forest of cross-grain scratches in the process. While we do sometimes reach for the heat gun when stripping paint, chemical stripping is our go-to method, especially when stripping bottom paint. The chemical stripper encapsulates any lead that might be released by the stripper, where there is danger in using a heat gun that exceeds 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature at which lead vaporizes.

Stripping varnish with a heat gun has advantages, not the least of which is that the waste flakes off in a dry state, which obviates the need for taping areas off lest dribs and drops of chemical stripper fall on them. But, as is evident in the clop, and RJ’s implicit expressed disdain for heat, it is both slower and potentially more damaging to wood, especially those portions of the hull that will be finished bright.

Burning the wood or dissolving the glue in plywood strakes of a lapstrake hull is the major risk when going the heat gun rout. Indeed, the blackened mahogany tells us that someone must have stripped our 1937 20’ Lyman Runabout’s hull sides with heat. What we found beneath the many, many layers of black paint and primer is a veritable sea of blackened leopard spots.

Fortunately, Eagle’s strakes will be painted. Even more fortunately, the same person did not strip the decks, covering boards, windshield and coamings, for sanding through the singed areas would require major thinning of the planks.

We are standardized on three BAHCO-Sandvik ergonomic scrapers and the wide variety of BAHCO carbide blades. Both are available from JamestownDistributors.com and Amazon.com.

  • BAHCO-Sandvik 650 Premium Ergonomic Carbide Scraper, 1”, 2” and 2.5” – a one-handed scraper
  • BAHCO-Sandvik 650 Premium Ergonomic Carbide Scraper, 1”, 2”, 2.5” – a “big dog” two-handed scraper with a knob just behind the blade.
  • BAHCO-Sandvik Premium Ergonomic Carbide Scraper, 1” – a small detail scraper
  • BAHCO Heavy Duty 2-Inch Replacement Scraper Blade #442
  • BAHCO 449 L-inch Triple-Edge Triangle Scraper Blade

While we do occasionally give competing brands a chance to outperform it, nothing we’ve tried holds a candle to Jamestown Distributors’ Circa 1850 Heavy Body Paint and Varnish Remover. Period., at least during our nine months of winter when cold temperatures, snow and ice make stripping hulls outdoors with one of the spray-on strippers at best impractical.

Finally, after trying a dozen or so brands, we have settled on New Star Foodservice 54460 Extra Large Stainless Steel Sponges Scrubbers sold by Amazon.com. (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00…)

RJ takes you through the steps needed to arrive at you clean wood goal.

  • Strip the surface material – varnish or paint – using the chemical stripper of your choice.
  • The Chemical Rout
    • Apply the stripper three times, allowing about 20 minutes working time between each of the coats.
    • Scrape with the wood grain using the two-hand scraper and long strokes.
    • Apply another coat of scraper. Let it work for five minutes or so and repeat the long-stroke, two-handed scraping.
  • Apply the stripper again, wait a minute or so, reach for the stainless-steel sponge scrubber and scrub the surface briskly with the grain until the wood is dry.

Avoiding produce long, deep scratches that result if excessive down pressure is applied. While we continue using the same sponge for job after job after job, reaching for a new one, which will be less aggressive on the wood, might be a good “first-time-through” strategy.

Congratulations! You have reached the clean-wood goal and are ready to bleach!

1967 Lyman Cruisette – Rot Unveiled When Varnish Stripped

1967 lyman cruisette rot under varnish

We truly believed we’d found any and all rot existing on Eagle’s hull, but forgot a major reality. Some sort of stained paste filler and varnish, which is what was used on parts of the foredeck and elsewhere on her hull, can hide all manner of deterioration.

In the Eagle’s case it hid rotted foredeck planks on both port and starboard along the seam between the covering boards and deck planks.

We now face releasing the coamings and dashboard if we wish to address these issues, and the required plank replacement properly.

This rot strengthens our resolve that the deck, coaming, windshield and covering boards be stripped to bare wood.

Additionally, as I strip the foredeck using a DeWalt LCD heat gun (https://www.amazon.com/DEWALT-D26960-…), Sandvik Ergonomic scraper and BAHCO blade (https://www.jamestowndistributors.com…) . I have been exposing more of that paste filler under what appears to be precious few coats of varnish.

As I will amplify in our next update, just releasing varnish, whether chemically or using a heat gun, is only the first step in cleaning the wood. As is clear in the clip, scraping away the varnish leaves a residual-stain-mottled surface behind.

All of that stain must be scrubbed and bled out of the wood using Circa 1850 Heavy Bodied Paint & Varnish Remover (https://www.jamestowndistributors.com…), stainless steel pot scrubbers and lots of elbow grease. How clean is clean? You will know when you get there.

I will go into these last topics in greater depth later today.