May 28, 2020
The work list on this classic catboat (a fiberglass version built by Howard Boats) was short, and started and ended with woodwork maintenance on deck. The white oak rubrail running the length of the boat on each side had long ago been left to weather and shed its varnish, and now there was only varnish on the bottom half of each section, where the wood wasn’t directly facing the sun and weather. The exposed portions of the wood were well-weathered all over, and blackened in some areas. The owner wanted only to remove the rest of the varnish from these rails, with no plans for now to make any attempt to refinish them.
It didn’t take long to remove the remaining varnish with heat gun and scraper, and I followed that up with light sanding through 80-120 grits to clean up the newly-scraped areas and gently smooth the remaining portions of the rails in all areas. This did not remove the weathered discoloration, which is generally permanent with unfinished oak, and in any event this wasn’t in the project scope.
The curved oak cockpit coaming was in better shape, having been generally protected from the weather by a cockpit cover, but there were signs of deferred varnish maintenance with some bare spots on the top edge of the coaming (a tough place to get a good coating of varnish), and a few minor failures here and there mostly near the bottom edges of the coaming.
The owner wanted to patch the damaged areas and do routine maintenance on the rest, stopping well short of stripping and refinishing, so to prepare I scraped and sanded clean as necessary the bare spots on the top edges, and removed any spots of failed varnish from the other areas, sanding these areas through 80 and 120 grits to blend them with the surrounding varnish as best as possible.
Afterwards, I sanded the entire coaming with 220 grit to smooth and otherwise prepare the surfaces for refinishing.
Total time billed on this job today: 2 hours
0600 Weather Observation: 62°, fog and humid. Forecast for the day: Sunny and humid, 84°