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Restore Family's Leaky Wooden Sailfish

Mlandries

New Member
My wife’s family has a couple of sailfish boats they made back I the 1960s. One leaks and I am working20220313_181326.jpg20220313_181312.jpg20220313_181529.jpg20220313_181330.jpg20220313_181409.jpg g to seal and refinish it.

1. Will basecoats of epoxy work as a sealer? Can I finish with Spar Varish over the epoxy base coat? Is i better to paint?

2. do I need to sand down to bare wood before applying the epoxy? See picture for current sanded state.

3. I need to install drain hole plugs for a 5/8" hole in back and 1.5" hole up front



Thanks in advance

Mike
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Cool. Did they design it themselves or use plans from similar boats? One version was called the Buckboard and another Sailin Surfboard I believe.

First thing to do is an air leak test. Blow some air into the hull from a shop vac/bike tire pump/hair dryer and take a spray bottle with some dawn dishwashing liquid and water, and go around the hull and soap all of the seams, including the mast step and daggerboard trunk. Take note of any areas where bubbles come out. Any leaks are best repaired before proceeding to epoxy/varnish or paint, using thickened epoxy or waterproof adhesive of your choice.

We recommend two coats of epoxy, it helps seal the wood. It also helps reduce checking of fir plywood, which is what your boat looks like it is made of. If you decide to paint, I'd sand enough to see the finish lighten up a bit to the fresh plywood color, although some areas may remain darker from age or stain. If you go with a varnish finish, you'll need to carefully sand to knock down any high spots in the plywood where the surface veneer has checked (split). If you are sanding off old varnish and stain, there may be a lot of sanding in your future to get to a uniform layer of plywood. Don't sand too aggressively though, because you can go through the top veneer layer, if you do then I'd shift back to a paint finish.

Our Sunfish came to us painted...

Audrey Zip day 11 trailer sailor.jpg

...and then we sanded for 3 days...

IMG_1076.jpg

We left the bottom red because it looked cool.

IMG_1105.jpg

If you want to have a bright varnish finish, use Special Clear Hardener with your epoxy resin. It does not turn amber like other hardeners. And if the boat is stored out of the UV, you can stop there, the Special Clear finish (or any epoxy finish for that matter) only needs to be varnished if it is exposed to long term UV . That said, varnish over UV never hurts, it's just added steps. Here's our Sunfish ZIP with 2 coats of West System 105 Resin/207 Special Clear Hardener. No varnish.

ZIP 207 Special Clear.jpeg

Is it better to paint? Only from the perspective that you'll be putting on more coatings, 2 coats of primer and at least 2 coats of paint. Our Super Sailfish is painted.

IMG_1033.jpg

And our Sailfish is painted.

Audrey Winnie 23 May copy.jpg

You might grab a cup of coffee and visit our blog, we have several wooden Alcorts. Look on the right side for WINNIE, TRACKER and ZIP.
Small Boat Restoration
 

Mlandries

New Member
Thanks for the advice. I know it was built from plans and is about 1/4 or 3/8 in thick skin. So pretty heavy. They built a 2nd and used a skin of very thin mahogany. Much lighter and very fast. I revarnished the lighter one several years back. Seems they did none work seal g joints and nails as well.


Tha ks again
Your pictures are great

Mike
 

Mlandries

New Member
Thanks for the advice. I know it was built from plans and is about 1/4 or 3/8 in thick skin. So pretty heavy. They built a 2nd and used a skin of very thin mahogany. Much lighter and very fast. I revarnished the lighter one several years back. Seems they did none work seal g joints and nails as well. Below is a picture of the lighter one in actionCIMG3854.JPG


Thanks again
Your pictures are great

Mike
CIMG3852.JPG
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
You're welcome. Great photos! FWIW the hull without the rig makes a very stable SUP or a Sit On Top Kayak.
 

Mlandries

New Member
Thanks. I did the leak test using my battery powered ryobi sander's sawdust vent pipe. Fit just right in the hole up front. I found a number of seam and nail leaks but also found the hole where the mast goes in as well as the slot where the centerboard goes also had leaks. Both the centerboaed and the mast are tight fits so am concerned with how to seal them. Could "pour" epoxy down the sides of each but concerned it will reduce the size of each hole/slot so mast and center board won't fit. Though of sanding but not sure how to go about that. Any suggestions?

20220317_125829.jpg20220317_125823.jpg20220317_123637.jpg20220317_122749.jpg20220317_123735.jpg
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Common areas. What we do is buy a tube of thickened epoxy, TotalBoat THIXO or Pettit Flexpoxy, dispense it into a syringe. We use a oscillating multitool or awl to clean out the seam a bit, then inject the thickened epoxy into the seam.

For the mast step and daggerboard trunk we take a wooden paint stick with a cheapo 1 inch paint brush taped to the end and apply a thin layer of thickened epoxy around the inside of the tube and trunk, taking care to keep the coating as thin as possible. Once it dries we do fit check on the mast and daggerboard, file some epoxy down if needed and do another air leak test to see if we fixed it.

 

Mlandries

New Member
Cool. Did they design it themselves or use plans from similar boats? One version was called the Buckboard and another Sailin Surfboard I believe.

First thing to do is an air leak test. Blow some air into the hull from a shop vac/bike tire pump/hair dryer and take a spray bottle with some dawn dishwashing liquid and water, and go around the hull and soap all of the seams, including the mast step and daggerboard trunk. Take note of any areas where bubbles come out. Any leaks are best repaired before proceeding to epoxy/varnish or paint, using thickened epoxy or waterproof adhesive of your choice.

We recommend two coats of epoxy, it helps seal the wood. It also helps reduce checking of fir plywood, which is what your boat looks like it is made of. If you decide to paint, I'd sand enough to see the finish lighten up a bit to the fresh plywood color, although some areas may remain darker from age or stain. If you go with a varnish finish, you'll need to carefully sand to knock down any high spots in the plywood where the surface veneer has checked (split). If you are sanding off old varnish and stain, there may be a lot of sanding in your future to get to a uniform layer of plywood. Don't sand too aggressively though, because you can go through the top veneer layer, if you do then I'd shift back to a paint finish.

Our Sunfish came to us painted...

View attachment 49980

...and then we sanded for 3 days...

View attachment 49981

We left the bottom red because it looked cool.

View attachment 49982

If you want to have a bright varnish finish, use Special Clear Hardener with your epoxy resin. It does not turn amber like other hardeners. And if the boat is stored out of the UV, you can stop there, the Special Clear finish (or any epoxy finish for that matter) only needs to be varnished if it is exposed to long term UV . That said, varnish over UV never hurts, it's just added steps. Here's our Sunfish ZIP with 2 coats of West System 105 Resin/207 Special Clear Hardener. No varnish.

View attachment 49979

Is it better to paint? Only from the perspective that you'll be putting on more coatings, 2 coats of primer and at least 2 coats of paint. Our Super Sailfish is painted.

View attachment 49984

And our Sailfish is painted.

View attachment 49985

You might grab a cup of coffee and visit our blog, we have several wooden Alcorts. Look on the right side for WINNIE, TRACKER and ZIP.
Small Boat Restoration
 

Mlandries

New Member
Did visit the blog. Nice. And thanks fir the details on how to work my boat. Have applied thxio to seams and nails. Now need to do another leak test. Plant to coat whole thing with totalboat clear epoxy then will decide whether varnish or likely paint will do better
 

Mlandries

New Member
Update: finished sanding, applied thickened epoxy to leaks the two coats of cleat epoxy to form a.watertight skin, retested for leak and now applying paint. Will put 3rd coat totalboat topside paint on bottom the flip and paint the top. Plan to leave handles, centerboard and rudder natural clear epoxy and spar varnish.
Thanks again, Mike
 

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Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
Update: finished sanding, applied thickened epoxy to leaks the two coats of cleat epoxy to form a.watertight skin, retested for leak and now applying paint. Will put 3rd coat totalboat topside paint on bottom the flip and paint the top. Plan to leave handles, centerboard and rudder natural clear epoxy and spar varnish.
Thanks again, Mike
You’ve prepped it beautifully and sealed all the leaks. I’m sure the TotalBoat will go on nicely. Are you rolling and tipping? There’s a great YouTube video, search “Rolling and Tipping: First Coat by EyeInHand. Wait for perfect weather, put on some great tunes and get in the zone! Here’s one of the many Sunfish I’ve painted. Some don’t like a painted boat, say it doesn’t hold up. With prep like you’ve done and quality paint and application I’ve found it to hold up very well.
ABF7AE85-C8AC-4643-9E9E-BBD4C3BD6BCE.jpeg
 
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signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
She's looking great. If you use a foam roller vs the nap you'll get a smoother finish, the nap rollers leave a stipple that the paint has to flatten out. Make sure the foam roller is suitable for oil based paints, as it will not dissolve like a latex roller will.

If you use Special Clear Hardener in the epoxy resin there is no need to add varnish on top, unless you plan to leave the boat in UV for a long time.
 
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