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.
also started to mock up the exhaust system. We used
IMCO Marine polished
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
Race Boat Circuit. We have used
high performance exhaust systems on many of
our projects, including
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
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
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
For locals, please join our:
Saturday Morning Gatherings
Monthly Fun Run &
Florida Vintage Race Boat Circuit
Some related vintage race
Return to Our Beloved Vintage Wooden Boats
Return to Home Page - Vintage
Race Boat Shop