10’ Lapstrake/Clinker Style Row Boat Refinishing

by Bradly Dearden
(Okanagan bc)

How to best approach refinishing the exterior hull of this lapstrake?

It’s 25+ years old, never touched water, hung in the rafters as a prop, looks like it had been previously oiled?

But hard to tell. When I try sanding the paper clogs up quickly!

I thought of using a chemical cleaner Penofin?

It has many clinch nails and brass droves along the lap making sanding difficult?

Need some advice

Comments for 10’ Lapstrake/Clinker Style Row Boat Refinishing

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Apr 12, 2024
by: Ai

Refinishing the exterior hull of an old lapstrake boat involves several steps that you need to consider.
Here's a general guide, but always remember to take care when working with old materials:

1. **Test the Finish**: Firstly, it's essential to determine what type of finish has been used before you start. If it's oil, varnish, or another product, it might require different treatment. You can test this by applying a small amount of denatured alcohol to an inconspicuous area. If the finish dissolves, it's likely shellac. If it turns sticky, it's a varnish. If nothing happens, it's probably an oil finish.

2. **Cleaning**: Before sanding or stripping the old finish, you should clean the boat thoroughly. You could use Penofin or another high-quality wood cleaner for this purpose. This will remove dirt or loose particles that might interfere with the refinishing process.

3. **Stripping Old Finish/Oil**: If your boat has been oiled, you might find it useful to use a chemical stripper to remove the old finish/oil. Always wear protective gear, including gloves and safety glasses, and work in a well-ventilated area when using these products.

4. **Sanding**: In some cases, old oil or varnish might need to be sanded down. Since your hull has clinch nails and brass droves, it might be challenging. Hand sanding or using a detail sander might be necessary around these areas. Choose a sandpaper with the right grit, likely starting with a coarse grit and finishing with a finer one. If your sandpaper is clogging up quickly, then it's possible that the finish is gumming up the sandpaper and a stripper might be the way to go.

5. **Preparing for New Finish/Oil**: Once you've successfully removed the old finish and sanded down the hull, clean it thoroughly to remove any residue, dust, or particles.

6. **Applying New Oil/Varnish**: Once the surface is clean and dry, you can apply the new oil or finish. If you've determined the original finish was oil, then using a penetrating oil like teak, tung, or linseed would be great options. If you prefer varnish, there are marine varnishes available that offer UV protection, which might be suitable if the boat will be exposed to sunlight.

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