Finishing Problems, Need Help

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by nbehlman, Sep 3, 2017.

  1. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Agreed, the scraper is the tool of choice, though does require some practice to use it without gouging. Once you get reasonably proficient with it, you'll turn to this puppy first. All yachts used to be scraped before paint, as were better furniture pieces. Now, most don't even know what it can do. Take a well scraped hunk of mahogany and compare it to well sanded and you'll easily see and feel the difference.

    Depending on the year and model, Chris Craft used specific stain colors, all of which are still available. I tend to try to avoid stains, preferring the natural look, but sometimes . . .

    I still use and enjoy bright finishes on my stuff, owning one completely paint free runabout and others with heavy employment of varnish. The runabout I built in 1988 and it's only had two full varnish jobs done, its whole life. Of course, it's stored under roof, while the others are in covered slips or otherwise under cover. It's the only way they can survive my environment and if I didn't have these luxuries, they be fully painted.
     
  2. nbehlman
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    nbehlman Junior Member

  3. jorgepease
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    jorgepease Senior Member

    This! You don't build your finish surface off the first coat. I also prefer not to use stain.
     
  4. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    Nbehlman, Those are a few examples of the simple tool that I mentioned. There are many shapes of scraper. The rectangular one is often held in both hands in such a way that it can be bent into a slight curve. One controls the width of cut that way. Scrapers may need frequent sharpening but that is an easy and quick process that does not use a stone or file. Grip the part in a vise and use a round metal or carbide rod to rub down hard on the edge. That turns a bur onto the edge that can be very sharp depending on the composition of the steel that the scraper is made from. As Par said, it takes a little bit of practice to get good at the operation but it is well worth the effort.

    Another exceptionally useful boat builder/fixer tool that only a few people are familiar with, is the Slick. It is a huge chisel that might weigh several pounds. Often made from a section of the leaf of a truck spring. Because of the weight and its' very long handle, it can make controlled fine cuts with great precision. Years ago, Wooden Boat magazine had the instructions for building you own Slick. The article even included instructions for heat treating the sharp end. You can buy one from a specialty blacksmith but the price can be pretty steep. Wonderful tool to cut rabbets in a stem, cutting gains in a lapstrake plank or similar fussy operations.

    Sorry about that. I did not intend to hijack the thread by starting a tool conversation.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017
  5. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Hand scraping and hand sanding suffer from being slow and laborious. Daunting if there is a large surface area to deal with. Or you don't have the time to devote to it.
     
  6. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    This is one reason the technique has been all but abandoned, but it's still viable and for the backyard builder a better and slower way to go. Machine sanding is great, but you can easily remove way too much material if not careful. This isn't the case with hand work. When needing to do fine, fairly precise work, hand tools and careful swipes are often prefered. All this said, 98% of folks looking at this boat wouldn't know if it was scraped or machine sanded. I would, as would likely you too . . .
     
  7. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    I very much doubt I would know, if it was done by an experienced hand. Admittedly most people are not safe to be let loose with power tools that can remove material in bulk, in quick time. Belt sanders possibly an exception.
     
  8. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I consider a belt sander the easiest tool a novice can get carried away with. A DA is probably the safest, if used with fine grits. A jitterbug or small orbital likely second down on the list, again with fine papers. Both of these with coarse grits can remove lots of material, but nothing like a belt sander.

    The first thing you'll notice with a scraped surface, is the slight sheen it has compaired to sanded. This shows up under varnish too, if not heavily stained.
     
  9. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Because a belt sander cuts in one direction only, and if used along the grain of straight-grained timber, best simulates the scraper action, surely ?
     
  10. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    A belt sander does cut in one direction, but very quickly and nope, not even close to being scraped. Pull a scraper (a sharp one) across a hunk of hardwood and see for yourself.
     
  11. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Are you talking about a shave hook ?
     
  12. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    It can be called a shave hook in your part of the world, though this is usually a flat blade or sometimes a triangular thing on a handle. A cabinet scraper is what you want, which comes in many sizes and shapes.
     
  13. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    You need more patience than I possess to learn the arts of fine finishing, I suspect.
     
  14. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Again, most wouldn't know the difference, looking at two side by side, though they'd likely note one was better looking and feeling than the other.
     

  15. nbehlman
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    nbehlman Junior Member

    What's everyone's opinion on tinted polyurethane? Would that give me a similar look as stain directly on the wood?
     
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