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How to Paint Your Wooden Boat

If your wooden boat needs some style and you are looking to brighten things up a bit, it is important to properly paint and decorate correctly. Preparation is the first and arguably most crucial step to making sure your wooden boat gets the paint and maintenance it needs. Take time to sand and prep the surface, whether you decide to paint or just opt for a natural stain. Sanding will remove any varnish, dirt or coating that will prevent the paint or stain from setting. When dealing with wood, it is important that the color or coating get into the porous surface and set properly.

Sanding By Hand

Carpenters and painters agree that although it may be more physically demanding, the best way to sand is by hand. This is especially true when dealing with the round underside on your wooden boat, as there are many tough spots that a flat sander or palm sized orbital sander won't reach. When sanding, always work with the direction of the grain, whether you decide on paint or varnish.

Priming the Surface

Keep in mind that the bottom of your boat will receive the most wear. Priming is necessary to build up a protective layer and achieve the best results. When it comes to selecting a primer for your hull, we prefer the metallic gray type.These primers contain millions of microscopic flat aluminum particles which make them more impervious to water penetration than the pink primers.The gray primers also contain anti-mold biocide agents. For best results in color and protection, apply at least three coats below the waterline and two or more coats above the waterline. Remember to sand with 120 grit between coats. Sanding may produce very fine dust, so wear a face mask, and if it's at all windy watch where the dust is settling. With gray primers there is a time limit between sanding and applying coats, so be sure to follow instructions on the paint. On wooden boats it is best to stick to the traditional type of oil based finishes, as two part paints are not only expensive but also tend to be less flexible. Because wood can flex and swell, especially along seams, expensive finishes will not last any longer than traditional stain or paint. For the most durable and even color coverage, most marine craft need three coats with light sanding between each coat. Be sure to use paint or Epoxy that resists weeds, barnacles or water organisms that can dull or grow on the boat's surface. Allow 24 hours to dry, sand lightly and clean off all dust between coats. There isn't a strict rule about where to start, but generally speaking starting at the top and working down seems to be the best approach. The main thing is to work away from the wet area so you don't drip on it or catch it with your sleeve while you work.

Ready for the Water

Now that your boat is ready for the water and has completely dried, park it next to a floating dock or floating walkway. Also, be sure to use a boat lift to keep it out of the elements and ensure a long life on the water. Check out Jet Dock for all of your boating tips and products.



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