Page 2 - Fresh varnish & prep for our Wolfeboro Regatta !!!

1939 Ventnor 725 Class Hydroplane

Owner/Driver - Jeff Magnuson

First - an introduction by Bill John


Fred Farley is the APBA Unlimited Historian, and is a prolific writer of articles about the colorful characters and events of unlimited hydroplane racing.  Fred recently published a story about George Davis, who owned and drove a hydro called "It's a Wonder" which is now owned and driven by Jeff Magnuson. This historic vintage hydroplane has been well maintained and will be running strong this summer at our Wolfeboro Vintage Race Boat Regatta. I first met Fred several years ago at the San Diego Unlimited Hydroplane races and he has graciously given me permission to reprint any of his excellent articles. So sit back, get comfortable, and spend some time reading about George Davis, he was quite a character !!!




The story of It's a Wonder


On August 16, 2011 Jeff Magnuson hauled It's A Wonder to the Vintage Race Boat Shop for some TLC and fresh varnish, to get ready to run at our Wolfeboro Vintage Race Boat Regatta!

Wolfeboro Vintage Race Boat Regatta



The first step was to lift the boat up off the trailer, then lower onto dollies and setup for work.





Then we reviewed our project with Jeff and the stories began. We have know Jeff for over 30 years, he is a good friend, knows his stuff, and is such a hoot !!!





The next step was to remove the deck hardware, and then wipe down the deck with a solvent to prepare the surface for the initial sanding. Great care must be taken to NOT burn the original, aged stain. We started with 320 grit sandpaper on our trusty DeWalt sander and then followed with Scotchbrite Pads.




The surface was then ready for the first coat of thick, amber tinted Epifanes varnish. The first step was to thoroughly vacuum and tack the the deck, and then prepare the varnish. We add just a titch of Epifanes retarder to the varnish, to slow the curing process just enough to allow the varnish to flow out, before the varnish begins to kick/dry. Using our rolling/tipping method of application, the results loots like it was sprayed. After four coats of thick Epifanes, the boat will look like it was dipped in a vat of varnish, and the fumes are wonderful - we love to varnish wooden boats.




We sanded between coats with Scotchbrite Pads using our DeWalt 5 inch random orbital sander. The sander is connected to a Fein vacuum system that provides for near dustless sanding. After the first coat of varnish was allowed to thoroughly dry and cure, we continued with three more build coats, and will follow with as many "final coats" as needed to get a pretty much dust-free final coat that just flows out beautifully. We are actually fairing the hull with varnish, and with each coat the surface gets smoother, darker and deeper.


And that is how we varnish a vintage wooden boat. We love to varnish, it is our therapy, and by using thick, amber tinted Epifanes varnish, we are actually fairing the hull with varnish, and with each coat the surface gets smoother, darker and deeper. Again, lots of hours but the results are always well worth the extra time and effort. Here is the link for more information.

 Stain & Varnish - how we do it !!!   

Click here for Page 1 - The story of It's a Wonder


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