Finishing/Painting 12ft Skiff - First Time Builder

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by GayleForceFloat, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. GayleForceFloat
    Joined: Jun 2013
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    GayleForceFloat New Member

    First of all, I've spent a lot of time reading through this forum for advice/tips on my first boat building project, so thanks!

    I'm building a simple 12ft skiff from these plans, and the build is already underway. I'm using 1/4" plywood (pine) for the build, which I know isn't ideal, but I wanted to practice with something cheap before building something more permanent.

    My question is this: What's the best way to seal and finish the boat (paint, epoxy, varnish, primer, etc.)? I'm almost done with the glass & epoxy part of the build, and I'll be looking to paint the boat relatively soon. I don't think the wood looks good enough to leave it showing, and I'd like to have the exterior be dark blue and the interior be white when I'm all done. I'll be using it in the Potomac and the Chesapeake Bay, so it needs to hold up to salt water reasonably well. Suggestions?
     
  2. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    GFF that is a decent first boat to build. It is a bit narrow at the chines but that is not all bad. The boat will probably row or scull pleasingly if you put a small skeg on it. If you mean to power it, you need not over do it. 2 to 4 Hp will be enough. An electric trolling motor will push it well enough too. The boat will not be fast but it will be a pleasure to use. It is a displacement boat that will be happy at slow speed but not if you try to make it go fast,

    Please do not take offense with what I am about to type...............Sorry to say that you have made the classic beginners mistake. You have chosen cheap material to build a beautiful object. Pine plywood is a miserable material to use for anything other than campfires. For boats, it is much too heavy, It will check, it is sappy and not paint friendly, and it will have core voids that invite moisture and rapid deterioration. It is also miserable stuff to work with. Its only recommendation is that it is cheap.

    I would not waste much fiberglass on it. Do the bottom and around the chines up a few inches with glass and call it good. The rest of the boat is not worth the price of marine paint. Don't waste your money on high zoot paint. Happily, you can get by with ordinary house paint. The pine ply deserves no better and it won't hold fancy paint anyway.

    I'd start with a primer house paint such as Kilz. Let it dry for several days even though it will seem to be ready in just a few hours. Sand the surfaces a little bit and then apply the house paint. Now you have to be patient. That house paint will last for years, be easy to patch, easy to apply, and be less than shiney. You will need to let it cure for 10 days or more before it hits the water. If you get too antsy and splash the boat too soon the paint will come off. Just wait a while and it will be rugged and sevicable. Hard nosed and practical old commercial fisherman have been doing the house paint thing for years. It works for them. It will work for you.

    If you had used high quality ply my suggestions would be very different. Now we would be doing wood epoxy saturation and careful and elegant paint work with rather expensive materials. For now, go with the cheapie route and next time you build a boat use the absolute best material that you can buy.

    Your boat is going to be just fine despite my insults. It is a keen little boat that will give you good service and much pleasure. It is narrow and you will be well advised to avoid too many acrobatics while using it. Sobriety is also a good idea until you get back ashore from your fishing trip.

    Best of luck and please keep us informed of your progress. Pictures would be good if you can furnish them.
     
  3. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    I have built a few skiffs with pine plywood. With two coats of house paint they will last three years or so if left outside. It is a good way to learn how to build a boat. Many beginners make the mistake of spending huge amounts of money on materials and then have no fun because every mistake is really expensive. I have been building boats professionally for years and still use pine plywood when I am trying a new shape or method. If it works, fine. If not, I didn't spend much.
     
  4. GayleForceFloat
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    GayleForceFloat New Member

    Thank you for your replies. I don't take any offense to your comments about the use of pine plywood being foolish, I knew that already. I figured the boat wouldn't last more than a year or two even with a decent paint job, but I wanted to know what was appropriate given the quality of materials I'm using. I'm glad I didn't waste money on expensive sealants and primers before coming here to ask!

    I'll post some photos here when the boat is finished, and my next boat will be made from okoume with much more attention to detail in the finish. Thanks again for all your help!
     
  5. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    Welcome to the forum.

    House paint is perfect for this type of project. Latex paint is easy to use and inexpensive, but it is not as durable as oil based paint. It is getting harder to find oil based paints as a house paint, but if you can find it will will hold up better than the Latex. You will want a min of 7 or 8 total coats to protect the wood or fiberglass from moisture and sun damage.

    If you can not find oil based paint one thing you might consider is getting some exterior oil based polyurethane floor finish, thin the first coat so it soaks in good, and than put on 4 to 5 more coats (allow it do fully cure between coats). than sand it and apply gloss Latex house paint in the color you want 3 or 4 coats. This will protect the wood better than the same amount of Latex paint, which is not quite water proof by itself.

    It should last more than one season, with care and stored out of the weather, should hold up for 5 or more years.
     
  6. petereng
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    petereng Senior Member

    Hi GFF - One thing you may consider is to seal the ply with shellac. Shellac seaps in deep and seals every nook in the timber. After about 4 or 5 coats you will have filled the timber and it will "level" don't bring it to level just 2 or 3 coats should do it. Let dry for a 3-4 days. Then use the house paint but early coats thin with water about 25% addition. Let it dry very very well beteen coats as said by others. You need to remember that timber (wood) is designed to transport water so it soaks it up very nicely. But this water has to be dried out to give the paint permanency. Once the acyrilic paint is dried/cured properly its a great watertight durble surface. Peter
     
  7. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    High gloss acrylic paint is much more water resistant compared to the flats. In fact, most flat paints actually absorb moisture, so if you want a flat finish, use gloss first, then over coat this with flat or take a very fine Scotch Brite pad to the gloss.
     
  8. GayleForceFloat
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    GayleForceFloat New Member

    I have easy access to oil based house paint, so that is mostly likely what I'll use. I will prime with Kilz (two coats, letting it cure for three days after the second coat) and do six coats of high gloss oil based paint. After that, I'll let her sit for at least ten days before putting her in the water.

    I have to admit, building a boat has been more fun than I expected. I'll put a picture of the maiden voyage here when she's ready to get wet. If everything goes well in the water, I'll probably build the exact same boat again from okoume and spend a lot more time in the finish.
     
  9. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Make sure you use "Original" Kilz, not Kilz 2. Also remember this boat will not plane, so you're not going to go any faster then 6 MPH, regardless of the size engine you install. A 2 HP outboard will push you just as a fast as a 5 HP. A 10 HP will just turn water to foam, but you're not going to go any faster.
     
  10. Outlaw45
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    Outlaw45 Senior Member

    my 2 cents for what it's worth. white for inside is to bright in the sun for the eyes. myself I like a medium gray inside, much easier on the eyes. that's it. see, it didn't even hurt. oh, good lookin boat, enjoy.

    Outlaw
     
  11. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Good point Outlaw, I prefer cream and ivory colors to grey.
     
  12. Easy Rider
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    Easy Rider Senior Member

    Who designed this beautiful 12' boat? I'm impressed.

    I'm amazed the sides ate formed from perfectly straight cut pieces. I like the flair and it provides the freeboard difference fore and aft. Except for the greater flair she reminds me of the Atkins skiffs and he was a master of flat bottomed small craft,

    As a row boat I'd make her transom 1/4" and employ T boards for the OB.
     
  13. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I think an outboard would have difficulty with the transom rake and the amount of rocker, but at low speeds, she'll be fine. I also think the belly of the sheer is too far forward, but this might be to address a rower.
     
  14. Easy Rider
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    Easy Rider Senior Member

    Perfect power would be a 3 1/2 hp Evinrude at 1/3 throttle. Just like I do w powered canoes.

    PAR the sheer belly is amidships ... that's a problem? Looks good to me but I'm just a rank amateur.
     

  15. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Yeah, I like to see the sheer belly (low point) somewhat aft of midship, say about 2/3's aft of the bow. It's a visual thing for me, but I can see why a rower might want this moved forward a tad.
     
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