G-18  Compulsion

Part 2 - Stain & Varnish Work


Compulsion - a reproduction based on a 1930's Gar Wood Speedster Design

After the harrowing winter trek from The Fish Brothers, on Saturday, February 16th we moved Compulsion into our shop, unwrapped all the tarps, hoisted the boat off the trailer onto dollies, and performed a thorough inspection of the hull and motor installation. We were very pleased and with the the level of craftsmanship performed by the Fish Brothers.








Work began immediately, focused on the most important part of the project, bottom detailing. We spent a week sanding and filling the bottom, to get it perfectly straight and flat, with no hook but just a titch of rocker at the transom area. At speed, this rocker will keep the bow up and let the boat fly, with the bow angle controlled by cavation plates at the transom. To run efficiently at higher speeds, the bottom must be very true and very smooth. After shaping the extended chine and a little epoxy filling, we sanded the entire bottom to ensure a very smooth finish. We started with 80 grit sandpaper, then finished with Scotchbrite Pads, using our dustless sanding system - recently upgraded with a new Fein vacuum, a much better setup. The bottom will then be painted, using our "rolling & tipping" method, with 3 coats of Interlux Brightside Marine Enamel. This high quality marine paint is very thick, flows out very nicely, is tenacious, and contains Teflon to reduce friction and increase speed.

Remember, if you wanna be fast, you gotta be smooth !!!




After spending way to much time looking at color charts and catalogs, we finally found our desired burgundy color, no longer available in Interlux Brightside, our preferred paint, but still available in Pettit EasyPoxy, both polyurethane based. We then spent some time marking and taping the waterline, and then it was Showtime, the first coat of bottom paint. We were very excited and pleased with our bottom paint selection, the first coat covered well, and two more coats were planned.





We also started to mock up the exhaust system. We used IMCO Marine polished aluminum exhaust manifolds and stainless steel risers, along with their special "S" pipes to connect with the actual 4 inch side exhaust pipes. We run two slip-in marine mufflers in each side pipe to keep the boat legal on Lake Winnipesaukee, but the mufflers are easily removed to run on the APBA Vintage Race Boat Circuit.  We have used IMCO Marine  high performance exhaust systems on many of our projects, including Obsession, Miss Major and MisStress.




While waiting for the bottom coats of paint to cure, we started to shape and fair the bow/noise piece, the spray rails, and the transom shims for the cavitation plates. The many hours/days of sanding and prep work for the first stain coat also began.



On Saturday morning, March 15th Bob Mueller stopped by to check our progress and finalize the decisions on stain color, upholstery color and deck hardware. Steve Rollins will be installing the burgundy marine upholstery, Bud Bracket supplied all the Gar Wood deck hardware, and Glenwood Marine supplied the marine fittings and all the running gear. The final selection/decision process was quite lively and as the photos show, we all had a lot of fun offering our opinions. But the final decisions were unanimous and we got it all on film - with lots of witnesses !!!





After spending several weeks on the bottom and chines, it was time to paint the boot stripe. Two coats of Pettit BootTop white paint were applied, and then we moved about the waterline with days of sanding and fairing the hull sides and deck.



Work also continued on the shims for the cavitation plate assembly. These mahogany shims provide a flat mounting surface for the upper control rod assembly and the lower cavitation plates.



We started sanding and fairing the hulls sides and deck with 100 grit paper, then 120 on a random orbital sander, followed by a full day of hand sanding with the grain using 180 grit paper on sanding blocks. After a thorough vacuuming and much prep work, it was time to stain the hull using Bartley's Gel Stain - brown mahogany on the deck and transom and jet mahogany on the covering boards and hull sides.








We allowed the stain to dry overnight and then we applied two coats of Pettit Clear Sealer.




After lightly sanding with ScotchBrite Pads, we then applied the first coat of Epifanes varnish.






Then we started to dry fit the rough cast hardware, provided by Bud Bracket of Maine Classics. These are beautiful pieces that must be filed and custom fit to the deck surfaces. After fitting, the hardware was sent out for chroming. The transom cavitation plate assembly was supplied by Glenwood Marine and is very effective controlling the bow attitude at speed.



It was finally time to bite the bullet and bore the 4 inch holes in the hull sides for the exhaust side pipes. This was pretty scary stuff, as we measured the position and angle of the each hole many, many times. Then, with a 4 inch hole saw on our trusty Dewald drill, we took a deep breath and bored the two holes. The use of side pipes make for a very simple and clean installation, eliminating the need to run the 4 inch pipes all the way through the transom, and causing interference with the aft cockpit flooring. To keep the exhaust noise within legal limits, we run 2 slip-in marine muffles inside each exhaust pipe. They are held in place by set screws, which allow the mufflers to be easily removed when the boat is run on the APBA Vintage Race Boat Circuit. Work also continued on the transom cavitation plate assembly.



Next, we attacked the deck seams, a very tedious and messy job. The first step required many hours taping each seam, then we applied black Phenoseal caulking with a caulking gun. The excess caulking was then forced into the seams and finished level with the deck with a plastic stick. Then all the tape was removed and the seams were finished off with a damp sponge. The entire process took two days and we were very pleased with our results. Notice the color of the seams - black. Gar Wood boats all had black deck seams, very elegant. Now the varnish build coats will continue, protecting the seams.





We then pulled the motor out of the boat and focused on the interior flooring, dashboard and firewall. After many hours of sanding, we applied dark mahogany stain followed by six coats of Epifanes varnish. The many mahogany pieces were then dry fit, trimmed and screwed in place.





Then Jerome from JC Signs applied the gold leaf lettering. First the outline stencils were positioned and taped in place, and the sizing adhesive was applied, followed by the actual gold leaf. The gold leaf was then "engine turned" by hand and the final step was the black paint outlining, also done free hand. This very labor intensive process will be protected by many coats of varnish. We have six more coats to go, and we just love the smell and fumes of fresh Epifanes varnish !!!





While Jerome was busy with the lettering, our stain and varnish work continued on the inside of the hatches. We spent many hours on the prep work, with lots of sanding by machine and by hand, followed by thorough vacuuming and cleanup. Then we applied the Bartley's Gel Stain, followed by six coats of Epifanes varnish, and the results - stunning !!!




Click here for Part 3 - Rigging & Launching Ceremonies

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