Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Episode Two - Brightwork

Rock This Boat

Episode One - Brightwork

Watch Episode Two

Materials needed for Episode Two - Brightwork

In this episode, we take on a huge job. Refinishing all the exterior wood on this old Chris-Craft. And there's a lot of wood. We take you through the steps to properly remove the varnish, how to prepare the surface for the new varnish, and how to properly apply the new varnish.

As always, before starting this project make sure you watch all of Episode Two. 

There will be many folks who argue that the best way to remove the old varnish is by using a product like Strypeeze. We found products like these to be more of a strip tease. They're messy and, in our opinion, don't work very well. Sometimes the best way is the hardest way and that's with a heat gun. We show you how in Episode Two.

After you've removed as much of the old varnish as possible with the heat gun, go over the wood with 120-grit sandpaper. Your goal is to just get the remaining varnish off. You want to take the least amount of wood with it as possible. Then go over it with 220-grit to smooth your surface for the first coat of varnish.

Next you'll want to vacuum the surface to get as much dust as possible. Follow that with acetone (wear gloves for that), then a tack cloth. Now you're ready for your first coat of varnish.

There are many varnishes out there. Quite frankly, we haven't tried many, but we do know the Captain's Varnish is great to work with. It goes on smoothly and looks fantastic. The trick is to get enough coats to where it gives you the look you're going for. We stopped at nine coats but some will tell you to do more. That's your call.

We also experimented with several types of brushes and found the foam brushes were the easiest to work with. Plus, there's no hassle of cleanup after. You just throw them away. Some folks are purists and love a fine bristle brush. We started off using a bristle brush but no matter how fine it is, you're always going to leave brush strokes in the varnish. When you buy a foam brush, get the best one they have. They're usually around $3 as opposed to a buck for the cheap ones. The cheap ones will fall apart on you pretty fast.

After each coat of varnish, except for the last one, you'll want to go over it lightly with 320-grit sandpaper. Some prefer steel wool. Either works fine. The idea is to cut down the imperfections from the last coat. You can cut those imperfections ever further by straining your varnish each time to get any foreign objects out of it. You'll notice the 320-grit will haze the finish up somewhat. That's normal.

After you've gone over the varnish with 320, you want to vacuum, then wipe it down with acetone. Right before you apply another coat of varnish, wipe the wood down with a tack cloth to get any remaining dust or foreign objects.

This sounds like a lot of stages and it is. That's what it takes to get a great result, but you will be thrilled with yourself once you've finished. There are few transformations as dramatic as revarnishing old brightwork.  Just be sure to come back over spots that start to break down because of exposure to sunlight. Stay on top of it and you'll be proud for many boating seasons to come.

Feel free to leave any questions here and we'll try to answer them for you. Good luck!

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