Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Wood restoration

The time had come to restore the woodwork to it's former glory. The previous owner had painted all of the woodwork with an external wood stain which I suspected was something like "Sandolin". This wood stain did provide with a robust finish and was quite resistant to knocks and abrasions. I have known some owners  to have used this finish with the argument that Drascombes are working boats and that the finish is not a huge importance.
I had decided against this finish because in places such as the lower gun wall it was pealing off and looking rather unattractive. The problem is that whatever paint finish you use it has difficulty in sticking to the oily surface of the wood. I suspect that the wood parts on my boat are made from Iroko. Teak has long since become too expensive and rare to be used on Drascombes. Speaking to Bob Brown of Honnour Marine even Iroko is becoming difficult to obtain in terms of cost and in sufficient lengths to complete the gunwale in 2 lengths. He was looking for an alternative. My previous boat a 1972 Lugger was finished in teak  which did look rather nice.

I decided to use Burges woodstain as  alternative as it does have a good performance of actually sticking to the oily wood. It may not have such a resistance to abrasion but it is used by the present day manufactures of Drascombes. The first problem is how to remove the old varnish. I decided to use paint and varnish stripper as previous use of a hot air gun resulted in damage to the timber through abrasion and burning. I used a cheap product and not the strong brands as I did not wish to damage the GRP if there were any splashes. I used masking tape to protest as much of the surrounding area as possible.  The stripper worked well but still required a lot of elbow grease in scraping off the coating. I used a furniture scraper. I found that 2 applications of stripper were needed to remove the wood stain. Finally washing off with fresh water. I sanded to remove the last traces of the old varnish and then painted with three coats of Burgess.

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