Restoration Tips

How do I apply beading to the seams on a wooden deck?
The key to properly beading all of the white seems on a wooden deck is in the prep work. Utilize and cover each wood plank with blue painters tape, all the way up to the edges. Every inch of the planks should be covered, allowing for each seem to be filled with slow drying 5200 white caulk. A 19-foot deck beading application can be completed in one day. The blue tape must be removed about two hours after application. And the boat should be left untouched for up to 3 days to make sure the caulk is completely dry. Be careful not to test for dryness by touching your application - test your left over supply in a plastic cup instead. 

What is Best Way to Remove Old Varnish - How To Use a Heat Gun on wood boat?
It took only two days to remove all of the old coatings and varnish on the wooden hull of the 1958, 19-foot Chris-Craft Capri. Utilizing the heat gun and a tungsten bladed scrapper technique saves time and money. You must start by scraping with the grain of the wood, being careful not to gauge or scorch the wood by always keeping the heat gun in motion. This technique is fast and effective but patience really is the key. Follow it up with a good sanding of 120 grit and your good to go.

How Do I Remove Silicone Bronze Fasteners from Wood Boat Bottom Planks?
Fastener removal can be tricky. First you have to expose and than extract the heavily corroded silicon-bronze fasteners from each mahogany plank. The easiest way is to use an air gun. Apply the pressure from the gun about 2 inches from the old epoxyed top of the screw. As the epoxy starts to flick away, insert a pick into the top of the phillips head screw and pick away at the embedded epoxy while still applying air pressure from the gun. Once the screw top X is cleared you can start to extract the screw from the wood. This is a very time consuming project and can take a few days to remove about 2,000 fasteners which are in a typical 19' Chris-Craft runabout bottom. 

What's the Best Epoxy To Use on a Wood Boat?

Epoxy fills and seals gaps in the planking, due to the wood expanding and contracting. Most epoxies come in a package with resin and a hardener which require mixing and can actually cure in just a few minutes. You must be precise with your measurements and be prepared to act quickly. Be sure to read the manufacturer's instructions quickly because product is also temperature sensitive. If the ambient temperature is not within range the product will not cure properly. I have a specific list of hi-end products that I only care to use. Believe me, it is well worth the investment to purchase top of the line products. 

What Does Rotten Wood Sound Like?
Rotten wood is spongy and will make a dull thud when hit. Best to use an ice pick and a rubber hammer to locate any rotted planks. Hit the ice pick with the rubber hammer on both the inside and the outside of the hull. The ice pick wont' penetrate the healthy wood, only the spongy rotted wood. 

What is a cold molded bottom on a boat?
Same structure - just new technology. The cold molded methods used now, consist of layers of thin marine plywood which have been cut into strips. Widths of strips must be narrower toward the bow, but can be progressively wide toward the stern. Usually, each layer is 1/8" nominal thickness, with the number of layers and desired total thickness specified on the plans. The initial layer is installed diagonally at approximately a 45-degree angle. The second layer is then applied approximately 90-degrees to the first, with subsequent layers 90-degrees to the second, and so forth until the specified hull thickness is reached. The end result of this new technology offers builders a strong, stable water tight composite hull, impervious to the effects of moisture - prior to finishing the topside natural wood layering with mahogany planks.

How Do I Fair a Wood Boat Surface?
The general idea when fairing a boat is to plane or sand diagonally across the planks to take all the high spots off and keep the lines clean. The use of a long fairing board, which matches the curvature of the hull can bridge the hollow spots and hit the high spots. With patience you can transform the edgy hull shape into something that looks well rounded and curvaceous. Fairing can also refer to the filling and shaping of low areas on your wood surface so they blend with the surrounding surfaces and appear smooth to the eye and touch. Final fairing can be easily accomplished with epoxy and low-density fillers.

How Do I Identify the Year a Classic Boat was Built?
I recently picked up a barn find. The boat had been sitting upside down for an unknown number of years. Luckily the original upholstery was in tack. Before I had a chance to strip away years of coatings underneath the engine blocks to find a serial number, I was able to identify the year the 19' Chris-Craft Capri was built solely on her original hardware and upholstery color. The 1956 models interiors were flame red; the 1957 models interiors were green, and the 1958 models had tango red leather with white piping. This information can be found in Chris-Craft's Essential Guide.