Part 2 - Bottom detailing, finish sanding, stain & varnish work

On March 16th, we trekked over to the Fish Brothers to pickup the completed hull. It was a good day, we had good weather with sunny skies, and we tucked Impulse safe and sound inside our shop.




Here are some "before" finishing photos, using the green aft seat from my beloved Obsession. The engine box, flooring and ceiling panels with be stained and finished bright and the upholstery will be burgundy.






We spent several days detailing and sanding the bottom of the hull, first with 120 grit on our random orbital sander, followed by Scotchbrite Pads. We took our time and got the bottom real smooth.

Remember - if you wanna be fast - you gotta be smooth ???!!!



Then we applied two coats of Pettit Easypoxy Burgundy Marine Enamel Paint, using our rolling & tipping technique. The result looks like it was sprayed. This 17 foot flat bottom ski boat is gonna fly with that 327 Chevy engine, and the sound of those 3 deuces kicking-in will be pure magic. Stop by the shop and check it out.



Interlux - Interstain - Wood Filler StainAfter the bottom was detailed and painted, a stain test-board and final stain selection were next on our schedule. The owner Bob Mueller was present for this special ceremony and of course, had the final decision on the stain color to use on hull. This is a very important decision, for once the stain is applied and under several coats of varnish, the color of the hull is set. We had a fun afternoon, sanding, staining, and varnishing our stain test-board and Bob did a great job of selecting the stain that we wanted - Interlux Red Mahogany Filler Stain.






After the stain selection was properly documented and witnessed, we spent several long days hand sanding the hull with 80 grit sandpaper. This was tedious work, but also great therapy as the hull was prepared for the application of the traditional Interlux Red Mahogany Filler Stain. The actual filler stain application is a two person job, Donnie applied the thick stain with a foam brush and after the surface began to dry, Bill followed with rags, rubbing cross grain to force the filler stain into the grain of the mahogany. Then the stained surface was buffed with clean rags to produce an even, red mahogany color. We did the deck and transom first, and were very pleased with our stain color.







After a day of rest, we then applied the filler stain on the hull sides. Donnie was the Stain-Meister and Bill followed as the Stain-Scrubber. This was pretty messy and tedious work, around six hours to stain the entire hull, but the results were well worth the effort. The dark, rich mahogany stain must then be sealed with two coats of Pettit Clear Sealer.







And special thanks to Ruth & Leo Croisetiere at R&L Engines for the donation of two 100% cotton R&L t-shirts. These soft cotton t-shirts worked great rubbing the filler stain into the rich grain of the  mahogany wooden hull. We got real messy, had a great time and had some fun taking the photo opt.


Pettit Old Salem 2018 Clear SealerAfter the Interlux filler stain was allowed to dry overnight, we lightly tacked the hull and then applied the first coat of Pettit Clear Sealer using our rolling & tipping technique. We were very careful not to disturb the tender filler stain and applied a nice, even coat of sealer. After the first coat of sealer was allowed to thoroughly dry, we lightly sanded the hull with Scotchbrite Pads and then applied the second coat. The sealer helps to bond the stain with the mahogany and prepares the surface for the many coats of varnish. We are planning for 12 coats of thick, amber tinted  Epifanes varnish.







After the bare mahogany hull was stained, sealed and protected, it was time to pull the motor and return to Gary and his crew at Larry's Auto Machine for completion. The oil pan had to be replaced with a more shallow design and the C72 Borg Warner transmission had to be replaced with a more shallow Model C71. They also wanted the motor back for more time on the dyno to properly setup the progressive linkage on the three Rochester carburetors and dial-in the motor to ensure that we got our desired 375 horsepower.






Gary and his crew at Larry's Auto Machine are true motor heads who spend hours in the dyno room to work and verify results. They made a few more adjustments and changed a few more parts on our vintage 327 Chevy, then put the motor back on the dyno for final adjustments to reach and verify our goal of 375 hp. We got it on the second pull, 386 horsepower on the dyno, we were very excited.

Click here for video  - our 327 Chevy on the dyno !!!

boat varnish, spar varnish, marine varnish, varnish ingredientsAfter two coats of sealer, we scuffed the hull with Scotchbrite pads on our orbital sander and then we hand sanded. Lots of hours, but the mahogany hull has now been faired, hand sanded, stained, sealed and is now ready for varnish. We are planning for six coats of varnish now, and then bring the boat back in the shop in the fall for additional detailing and probably six more coats of thick, amber tinted Epifanes varnish. We sand between coats with 320 grit paper or just Scotchbrite Pads on our orbital sander. We are actually fairing the hull with varnish, and with each coat the surface gets smoother and smoother. Again, lots of hours but the results are always well worth the extra time and effort.





All the deck hardware was made for this boat, cast and supplied by Bud Bracket of Maine Classics. Bud was very patient with us as we agonized over the placement of each piece. Then we filed and fitted each piece to properly fit the contour of the hull, before being sent to the chrome shop. Mickey at D&S Custom does all our chrome work, and his crew will take the time to file and shape each raw casting into a masterpiece. The level of their polishing and chrome work is beyond compare.   






The stainless steel rub rails, cutwater and transom bands were supplied by the Fish Brothers. We took some time to custom fit them to the hull. It was also time to sand and paint the interior pieces and seat bases. Lots of sanding and lots of thick marine burgundy paint. The wood was well sealed.




Jerome Holden of JC Signs  applied the gold leaf lettering on the transom. This is quite a process and takes several days to complete. The dashboard was also stained and the many build coats of varnish have began.





Then the boot stripe was taped and painted with two coats of Pettit White Boot Top paint.




And while the motor was out, we moved inside the hull for some paint touchup and began to fit the seats and flooring.


Then we finally got the call we were waiting for from Gary and his crew at Larry's Auto Machine. The motor was done and ready for pickup. So we trekked down to Groton, Connecticut to pickup the motor and hauled back to the shop. The freshly painted motor mounts were then bolted on and the motor was very carefully reinstalled in the hull. What a beautiful 327 Chevy motor!!!




Steve Rollins then installed the cockpit half round trim with burgundy marine upholstery. Steve does all the upholstery and custom boat covers for our shop. He is the best, is easy and fun to work with and his shop is just up the street.




All the deck hardware was custom made for this boat, cast and supplied by Bud Bracket of Maine Classics. Mickey at D&S Custom did all our chrome work, and his crew took take the time to file and shape each raw casting into a masterpiece. The level of their polishing and chrome work is beyond compare.



The ceiling boards for the aft cockpit were then sanded and stained with a darker, contrasting Jacobean color. Many hours were spent sanding, prepping and staining each individual board.



Then the covering boards were prepped and a nice thick coat of tinted Epihanes varnish was applied to darken the stain color, but still let the grain of the beautiful mahogany show through.



The dashboard was also stained, varnished and dry fit into place.


The floorboards were sanded and stained with Interlux filler stain, the same color as the hull sides. Many hours were spent sanding, prepping, staining and then varnishing each individual floorboard.



And the varnish coats continued to build, twelve coats are planed !!!



Click here for Part 3 - Rigging and Prep for Launching Ceremonies


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