preparing wooden hull for painting

by sylvain gadbois
(kuujjuaq northern quebec)

I am a new owner of a 18 ft chris craft mahogany boat and my issue is that the boat as been out of the water for 2 full years, and showing sigh of shrinkage on some of the boards, my question is do I swell the boat before painting?

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Apr 10, 2024
Wooden Hull Painting
by: Al

It is crucial to let the boat absorb some water to swell the wood before even thinking about painting if it's been out of the water for an extended period, such as two years. The swelling process allows the shrunken wooden boards to expand and close up any gaps that opened due to the wood drying out.

Bear in mind, however, if you do this, you have to let the wood dry out again before painting - otherwise the paint won’t properly adhere and can lead to blistering or peeling. This could take a couple of weeks depending on the weather and humidity conditions.

Also, consider checking for any damages and making necessary repairs first before swelling the boat. This includes addressing any cracks, loose fasteners, or other issues, as these could worsen during the swelling process.

For classic wooden boats like the Chris Craft, proper maintenance is especially important. If you're unfamiliar with this process, it may be advisable to seek the help and advice of a professional boat restorer.

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