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by Kate T
(Tacoma, WA)

I just picked up this little laser sailboat.

I had no idea it was solid wood when I saw it on Offer Up.

I was ecstatic when I realized this.

It's in great shape, but I'd like to fully restore it with a wood look instead of paint.

I have no idea where to start with this one.

I've never owned anything except fiberglass.

Can you guys recommend a good book or youtube series that may have the basics covered?

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Jun 11, 2019
by: Bill

I wouldn’t worry too much about the epoxy unless she leaks, the most likely place will be around the dagger board housing.

Lasers were all built in fiberglass as far as I know, but there were numerous versions of boats like yours built before.

If you could post more photos here someone might be able to identify her pedigree.

Jun 10, 2019
I’m with Mike on keeping the paint.
by: Sonny

Hello Kate
I would have to agree with Mike on keeping the paint on you little woody.

Regardless of what your boat is made of, with some fairing of the hulls exterior and a good three coat ( roll&tip ) paint job, she’ll be looking better than new.

I’m in the process of restoring a 1959 Wooden Lightning, which is pretty much a bigger version of your boat.

The Lightning is 19-ft long 6’6" wide and weighs 700-pounds fully rigged.

I’ll be fairing the exterior hull on my boat which consist of cedar planking on mahogany ribs, and the deck which consist of 3/8" marine plywood on mahogany stringers.

After that, it will be a three coat toll&tip paint job for the exterior.

I’ll be varnishing the entire interior of my Lightning, which consist of mahogany and cedar throughout.

I restored a 1981 Pearson Ensign Hull #1754 last summer for my son Andrew as a college graduation present.

Before anyone cremates me, I’m aware it made of fiberglass not wood.

My point here is the Petti marine products I used was easy to work with and yielded wonderful results.

I used Pettit marine products exclusively, and the Ensign cam out looking rather grand.

There are plenty of good marine products out there to choose from.

I had such a good result with the Pettit products on Andrews Ensign, I’ve decided to use the same on my Lightning as well.

Look at some roll&tip YouTube videos and you see what I’m driving at.

So I’m with Mike on painting the exterior, and if possible I would always varnish the interior.

Keep us posted on where you’re going with this, and we’ll be happy to share our thought and experience with restoring theses wonderful old wooden gems from the past.


Jun 10, 2019
by: Kate

Mike and Sonny,

Thank you for the input.

Sonny, I use epoxy in my geology work pretty regularly, so I am pretty comfortable with it, having already made wayyyy too many mistakes with the mixtures in the past:)

I'm still going to check out your recommendations.

We got it off the trailer and flipped it.

Its in amazing shape.

I joined a facebook wooden boat group.

They say its not a laser.

It could be a snowbird I, or it could be homebuilt.

They have guessed anywhere from 1920's to 1950's.

There are no markings at all.

I will be heading over to the local sailing club this week to see if I can get some lessons.

Its been twenty years since I sailed. I have motored for the last ten years.


Jun 08, 2019
by: Mike

Hi Kate,
I think you should keep the paint.

Apart from her looking splendid just the way she is, you will have problems trying to get the paint out of the grain of the plywood.

The outer veneers of the ply are quite thin and very easy to sand through.

Shane has a good ‘Tip’ here for painting.

Jun 08, 2019
Welcome to DIY Wood Boat Kate
by: Sonny

Hello Kate
Congratulations on your serendipitous discovery of the Laser Woody.

Pleasant surprise are always a thrill to experience no matter how and under what circumstances they find us.

It takes a special type of person to take on the restoration of any wooden boat, and for those who do and see itheir project through, the rewards are abundant.

I’m a lifelong sailor, and have over the years owned three wooden boats, and several fiberglass boats as well.

I’m currently in the process of restoring a 1959 Lippincott built Lightning Woody hull #7294 and a 1920 Doulbe Ended Motor Launch hull #187.

First and foremost it’s imparative that you learn how to properly mix epoxy resin when dealing with wooden boat restoration, otherwise nothing you’ll do will matter anyway.

The internet is filled people who post on YouTube these how to videos, on just about anything imaginable.

It’s an excellent resource to help in understanding the nuances associated with wooden boat restoration.

Watching someone undertaking a specific type of repair is light years better that reading how to do it.

There are two people that I rely on quite frequently for boat restoration information.

In Rhode Island there’s Louis Sauzedde, he is a master at his trade, and his YouTube videos are beyond helpful.

His ability to explain the various nuances associated with a successful repair are immeasurable is my opinion.

In Maine there’s Tim Lackey, Tim is also a master at his craft of restoring boats of all types.

Tim has help me on numerous occasions with his expert advise , and he’s always willing to take time to return your email even though he’s beyond busy most of the time.

Tim is one of the most generous people I know, and he loves sharing his passion for boat restoration.

I would begin by examining your Laser to determine precisely what its made of, ie. ribs, planking, deck etc.

You could then post photos of the interior and exterior, for others in this forum to comment on.

That may be a reasonable place to start, I would then go online to view some of Louis Sauzedde YouTube videos.

Beyond that Tim Kackey typically documents his restoration efforts, and his website would be a good place to visit.

I just last year restored a 1981 Pearson Ensign #1754 for my son who lives in Florida.

The Ensing is fiberglass of course, but if you visit Tim Lackeys website, you’ll find his blog on the restoration of Pearson Ensign #1212.

It will give you a feel for just how high Mr. Lackey’s work ethics are, and a feel for the effort it takes to bring one of these old boat back to its former glory.

Regards and best of luck with your new/old project.

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