Wooden Boats & Woodworking Index

Plywood - Material suitability for use in boats

Saint Paul Shipwrights - Antique and classic wooden boat restoration

Jespersen Boatbuilders - wooden sail and powerboats

Clint Chase Boat Builder - CAD Design, Wooden Small Sailboats

The Strip Molding Boat Hulls - Molds and hull Structure - The wood Strips, Hull Layup and layering.

Beetle Cat Boat Shop -The traditional wood boat construction "Plank-On-Frame" using the quality of materials and craftsmanship.

Wooden and classic Boats - The price, the value,investment and restoration processes

Classic & Power - Models Overview

Laminated Tiller - How to Build A Tiller for Wooden boats

Custom Furniture and Cabinet Woodworking - Alist of woodworkers, crafters. See how wood can be blended into something greater.

Wooden and classic Boats - The price, the value,investment and restoration processes

Epoxy Tips By David G. - "How t"o Epoxy Tips & Tricks

Tips and solutions - Fiberglass, Plywood, Woodworker Building Tips

Building your own wooden boat - wood advantages and disadvantages in your next boat, Traditional boat designs and costs

Domenig - wooden boats and canoes , Austria

A Guide for Floor Systems working - Epoxy Paint Floor Systems For Boats (boat flooring project)

Woodworking Tips and Materials - Were the wood is separated

Woodworking Guide

Below you can read methods which work for many woodworkers - primarily use three types of finish, penetrating oils, urethanes, and lacquer.

Woodworking Knowledge

Woodworking Tips and Techniques


Most woodworkers develop their own technique which works for them, but Finishing, like most aspects of woodworking, is an individual thing for any oodworkers.

Penetrating (oil) Finishes

Penetrating finishes are quite often used both for the "handrubbed look" and for ease of use. At first it seems like the perfect finish, however it has it's drawbacks. It is not very protective, it waterspots easily and it requires considerable time to achieve.

The satiny look of this type finish allows the wood to show from all directions not showing reflections as much as surface type finishes. The feel of this finish is very sensuous and demands to be touched. It is easily repaired, not requiring stripping and can be refreshed by simply applying an additional coat.

The method for using this finish starts with preparing the surface using one of the above methods. Next apply a liberal amount of the finish keeping the surface wet, allowing as much as possible to penetrate the wood.

Keep this up for about 15 - 20 minutes or so then leave it alone, don't wipe it off. The next day usually find that all the finish has been absorbed.

The next step is to steel wool the surface if it had been sanded previously or wet sand if not.

Also you can use either 320 wet and dry sand paper or 00 (or #1) steel wool, also known as wire wool for about $3.

With the grain

Sand with the grain as usual but do it lightly to just smooth the surface. If not filling the grain, use a cotton cloth saturated with the finish and rub the piece well, removing as much residue as possible.

If using the slurry as a filler let sit for a few minutes and rub against the grain with a piece of burlap cloth and then lightly with the grain using the same cloth which should be filled with slurry. This helps keep the cloth from removing the slurry from the filled grain.

With sandpaper

With sandpaper you can use it with the finish as a lubricant. The wet sandpaper will produce a slurry from the wood dust and finish, this can be used as a filler if desired.

With steel wool

For steel wool, rub the wood vigorously with a dry pad of 00. The idea is to polish the finish filled wood. Steel wool is unique in that it both cuts and burnishes the wood. Some prefer to use abrasive pads but they will not burnish and consequently will not give the same polish.

Rubbing hard will give a better polish as the wool quickly looses its edge and begins burnishing. You will find that every time you turn the pad it seems to cut better, this is because new edges have been exposed.

Learning to use this knowledge is a good idea as you can control when it cuts and when it polishes. Next brush and vacuum the piece well then rub down with a cotton cloth, cheesecloth polishing cloths or old t-shirts work well. Then brush it again.

For both Finishing techniques, apply the finish sparingly with a cotton cloth. Rub hard, heating and forcing as much finish into the wood as possible. Rest a few minutes and then rub it again with a dry cloth, removing all excess finish.

Another good working method "Burnishing oil finish with steel wool" can you see on youtube video below:

After the finish has dried

Usually 24 hrs., but dependant on the finish and the environment, can be days - rub again with 000 steel wool this time. This applies to both previous methods. However, if the fill method was used a day or two longer will be required for the filler to be properly dried before rubbing. Apply finish as above. Repeat the working steps over but using 0000 steel wool.

Repeat his several times until the desired finish is achieved. The rubbing with a soft cotton cloth after steel wool will polish the surface even more, and when after doing this the surface looks like you want.

Surface Preparation

The wooden surface needs to be smooth and free of defects. Prepping the surface before applying any finish is of utmost importance.

The methods

The method of doing this varies between workers and types of wood. Some prefer to use a hand plane whenever possible, others use a combination of planing, sanding and scraping, others find sanding only to work well for them. Each method has it's pros and cons.

The best - use all methods, allowing the wood and the project to determine which is best.


One of the greatest pleasures of woodworking is using a finely tuned hand plane. It imparts a sort of soothing meditative feeling.

The songs each type of wood produces as the razor sharp blade slices it's way through each layer, is a joy to my ears. Watching the thin full shavings spew forth is exhilarating.

The surface left behind is smooth and very slick. It would seem that this is the ideal method for smoothing a surface, that is until you run into a stubborn piece which leaves small chunks of wood missing here and there. This is called tearout and can instantly transform a beautiful experience into a nightmare.

Many woods, especially tropicals, have interlocking grain (rowed) which is generally very troublesome. To imagine what it is like, interlock your fingers of both hands keeping them straight and that is exactly what the grain is like.

Woods which are called ribbon grained are rowed. These can often be planed by taking diagonal cuts, but will need scraping or sanding to achieve a really smooth surface. The woods with crazy figures, wild grain, lots of knots etc. are the real plane breakers. But, at the same time they are some of the most strikingly beautiful woods. These woods yield best to other means of smoothing.


Sanding is by far the most common method of preparing a surface for finishing. Sanding can be done by hand, machine, or a combination of both. IMO, if using a machine, the final sanding should be done by hand using a sanding block on flat surfaces. For odd shaped surfaces a folded piece of sandpaper or a piece wrapped around a piece of felt will suffice. There are some commercial devices called Tadpole sanders that come in various shapes which work very well for odd shaped pieces, especially moldings.

One of the reasons that sanding gets such a bad rap is that the monotony of the process often excuses a less than adequate job to be done.

It is very important to remove all imperfections with the first grit used. The idea that the next grit will finish off is not correct and is the major reason for poor sanding jobs.

The first grit removes all imperfections and subsequent grits only serve to remove the scratches from the previous grit. For penetrating finishes 180 grit is sufficient for surface prep, while for surface finishes 280 and 320 is fine enough. The finer grits are used for leveling and polishing the wood finish.

Scraping method

Scrapers were the first tools used to smooth surfaces and still are necessary shop tools. Scrapers will tame almost any wood. It is possible to smooth an entire surface with a scraper alone. It is most used to remove plane marks and any small tearout produced by planing.

Scrapers are generally a thin piece of semi- hard steel, and can either be of a square or curved shape. Also freshly cut glass, old plane blades, and saw blades can be used. They can be hand held or fitted to a holder with a sole called a scraper plane. For large wooden surfaces the scraper plane is easier on the hands and the sole helps get a flat surface.


The most common varnishes are oil based with urethanes and other resins added to make a crosslinking finish.

Once cured the original solvent, usually mineral spirits, will not affect the finish. These type finishes are very durable.

They remain somewhat flexible and are unaffected by most household chemicals, water, and alcohol. They are very scuff resistant. They are surface finishes in that they will build above the surface of the wood, however by thinning the first coat there is good penetration. They will bring out the color and accentuate the grain as do the penetrating type finishes, but also tend to be a little amber in color also like the oil finishes. This is usually a plus for darker woods but is not always desirable for lighter woods. Their main drawback is that they are not easily repairable and will require stripping when they wear out. The upside is they last for a very long time.

Preparing the surface

Preparing the surface is the same as for oils except - usually sand to 320. Thin the first coat 60/40, varnish/mineral spirits or naphtha. Most varnishes use mineral spirits as a solvent but a few use VM&P naphtha. Apply with a good quality bristle brush. China bristle is fine. It is good practice to dip the brush in the solvent first, this will make cleaning easier and seems to make the flow from the brush better. Shake out the excess thinner before dipping into the varnish. Don't brush back and forth any more than you have to. Long slow stroke will lay down a nice film and create less bubbles. The first coat will be mostly absorbed and will look pretty bad, but that's okay.

As each succeeding coat will not be absorbed by the previous one it is necessary to scuff the surface between coats. Coat down with 2/0 steel wool. When doing this you should be producing a fine white powder, if not and the steel wool is clogging, then the finish has not properly dried. It is important that the finish be dry between coats, but it is also important to not exceed the manufacturers recommended (different) time between coats. The finish needs to be dry but not cured for proper adhesion of the next coat. It is imperative to remove all residue between coats using a brush, tack cloth and vacuum. Also the finishing environment should be as dust free as possible.

Any residue or dust which is on the surface will be entombed in the next coat. The second coat requires a little more care in brushing as it will probably lay on the surface. Good strokes are important as is tipping off. Tipping off is holding the brush at 90° and very lightly brush long strokes. This will remove most bubbles and brush marks. The second coat and all others should be full strength unless the varnish you are using is very thick and does not flow out well. In this case you may need to thin a small amount, 5-10%. It is dependant on the varnish and should be thinned just enough to get good flow.

After the second coat is dry, sand with 320 or 400 wet and dry sand paper dipped in water for a lubricant. Usually splash a little water on the surface when possible. A sanding block should be used, as the purpose of this sanding is to level the finish and remove any contamination which may have fallen on the wooden project. Wipe off occasionally and you will see small shiny spots which tell you where the low spots are

The pores of heavy pored woods will show up as shiny spots also but the next coat will fill most of these if you do a good job of sanding.

The idea is to get a level playing field, so the low spots can catch up. Wipe the piece down well and wait a few minutes, then lightly dry sand in case you went through the finish and have raised some grain. Repeat this process again and this time the surface should be level. Often this coat is the last but on porous woods and if other problem arose you may need one more.

After the last coat you can either buff the piece with 4/0 steel wool, which will give a satin appearance, requiring only a buffing with a soft cloth to finish up. Or if you want a glossy appearance you can either rub with 4/0 steel wool or wet sand with 600 sandpaper.

The varnish finish itself will be very glossy and it is tempting to leave it at that, but this is what gives it it's bad name as a plastic looking finish.

The rubbing process

The rubbing process will transform it into a beautiful finish. Then you can either rub down with 4f pumice mixed with water for gloss or oil (paraffin) for semi-gloss. Or you can use auto rubbing compounds which come in varying grits. If you want a high gloss you can rub with rottenstone and water with a felt pad or use auto polishing compounds.


Lacquer was developed to give the type of wooden finish which shellac gave but with more protection. For clarity and depth it is right there at the top. It is a rapid drying, durable, alcohol and somewhat water resistant finish.

It redissolves with it's own solvent allowing each coat to melt into the previous one thus eliminating the need for scuffing between coats. This also makes repairs much easier.

It is not thick and requires many coats for a good finish but several can be applied in one day. It is best sprayed as it dries very fast but there are brushing lacquers which will give good results.

There are many manufacturers and types.

Water based lacquers

Water based lacquers, although appear clear, lack the brilliance. A sanding sealer should be applied first, and sanded, to seal the surface. Vinyl sealers will fill the grain faster then the finish but are harder to sand but are recommended.

Solvent lacquers should be reduced about 50% with the recommended reducer for the product. There are reducers to compensate for heat and high humidity, low humidity, low temps etc. It is good to buy from a knowledgeable source and ask a lot of questions. Brushing lacquers do not require reducing and will not benefit from it.

Preparation is the same as for varnish other than the need for sealers. After sealing and sanding to the point you feel it is ready the finishing begins.

For spraying - First spray a few mist coats to get a little build on the sealer, then a full wet coat being very careful not to create runs. Every gun and every brand finish is a little different so it is very wise to practice on a scrap piece first. Practice distance and speed and air mixture settings until you are comfortable. Sand lightly between every couple coats with 400 - 600 grit. It is not a good idea to use steel wool with lacquer as the wool may contain contaminates which will cause fish eyes. You can put on several coats in a short time but don't try to put on too many without allowing to cure. 3-4 in an hour is about right. Then after a couple hours do 3 or 4 more. Then let cure over night. It is hard to say how many coats to put on but for a fine finish it takes quite a few.

In Fact: the coats are thin and they melt into the previous one so it takes a lot to get a good build. Of course a few coats will give an adequate finish but not a fine finish with great depth.

Boero Company begins its history in the world of boat coating and paint for wooden vessels, from Genova. Today the Boero Yacht Paint offer amazing range of coating products and Lacquers.

The Protective wood preserver can be used for protecting all types of wood - on wooden vessels externally and internally.


This stuff is bad for all finishes, do not use anything which has it in it. It causes craters called fish-eyes which will cause great consternation. Fish-eye retarder is silicon in disguise, if you use it you will have to always use it as it will contaminate your spray equipment and brushes.


Brushing is a little more difficult but can give good results. One advantage is that each coat is much thicker and only a few coats are needed.

Use a fine bristled brush dipped in lacquer thinner to prep the brush. The first coat will flow on easy but the next will be a little more difficult. Sanding between coats is recommended using 400 grit. After the first coats the brush will drag a little as the new finish melts the previous one. You will need to go fast but still take care. With brushing a thick coat is usually better but be careful not to make it too thick, you want it to level.

The last coat can be rubbed with pumice, rottenstone, rubbing compounds, but needs to be rubbed. To get the full effect of this beautiful finish it needs to be polished with polishing compounds to the finest grade.

Polishing with the grain will give the appearance of no scratches. Rubbing and polishing is like sanding, first you scratch up the surface getting rid of imperfections and then you must get rid of all the scratches. If the finish is not thick enough it is fairly easy to rub through it. Fortunately you can re-coat as many times as you want at any time. Rubbing should not be done for a couple days to give the finish time to cure.

Woodworking Planes

Patrick Leach has written all anyone would ever want to know about them. The Interview with Patrick L can you read at: http://www.hocktools.com/Interviews/PatrickLeachInterview.pdf


Chisels are essential in fitting and joint making in Woodworking.

Youtube is great source for learning, below is only one example of How to Use a Woodworking Chisel:

Woodwork machines


The side guides

The side guides keep the blade from wandering, and the bearing in back keeps the blade from running off the tires. It is best to have the side guides as close as possible to the blade, unfortunately the metal blocks cannot be positioned as close as should be. Many woodworkers make wooden blocks out of Lignum Vitae or purchase after market guides called Cool Blocks which can be made to just touch the blades. This is highly reccommended.

The better saws

The better quality saws have bearings on the side also. This is the superior method. The rear bearing should be set so it just doesn't touch the blade. The upper guides should be set just above the workpiece. Never cut with the upper guide far from the workpiece. This will allow the blade to distort and presents a safety problem.


he two main problems when using a bandsaw are.

1. Trying to turn the board without pushing into the blade at the same time. This is the prime reason for blade breakage.

2. Pushing and stopping. When riping or re-sawing it is best to feed in one continuous motion. Everytime you stop the feed the saw will make a extra deep mark on the edge. This will require more effort to clean and can effect the finished dimension. Feeding as fast as possible without slowing the motor or creating extra resistance, in case of a large motor, will give the optimum results and when cutting curves this cannot always be done. Concave or convex cuts are caused by dull blades, feeding too fast, feeding too slow, or any combination of these.

The blades

The blades are what the saw is about and quality blades are necessary for good operation.

The shiny steel blades which come with most saws are not very good. The blued steel with hardened teeth are the value.

There are also carbide tipped and bi-metal blades. There are also blades available for cutting metal, foam, leather, plastics and other non-wood materials.

The blade guides

The blade guides are a very essential part of the proper operation of the bandsaw. The quality of these play a major role in the type of cut you will get. Most small bandsaws have a metal guide on each side of the blade and a bearing on the backside.

For woodworking standard and hook tooth will perform all functions. In general the standard tooth configuration is best for curved work and the hook tooth is best for ripping and re-sawing. The standard tooth will give a smoother cut than the hook, and the less teeth will give the smoother cut in either. The size of the kerf is determined by the size of the blade. eg; a 1/8" blade has a smaller kerf than a 3/4". The number of teeth per inch (tpi) also effects the smoothness of the cut but more importantly the speed of the cut.

More teeth will give a smoother cut but will also create more heat. Re-sawing should have the minimum amount of teeth (3-4tpi) but not necessarily the largest blade.

This is because a log can easily move around and a larger blade is much stiffer and reduces the chance of distorting the blade.

Because of the large number of teeth and the low price of the blades, it is not uncommon for a blade to be less than perfect in set. This will cause the blade to want to cut towards one side or another. This drifting will cause heat build up and distortion if not compensated for when making edge guided cuts. To compensate, draw a line on a square piece of scrap wood parallel to one side. Cut half way through the board, following the line. Do this free hand. When you are at the middle, hold the board exactly where it is, stop the saw. Draw a line on the table along the edge of the board that is parallel to the cut line. Remove the board, the line on the table in relation to the front of the table is the angle that the blade will cut best. Using a t-bevel get this angle and use it to align your fence. Every good blade will be different and many will have very minimal or no drift.

Band saw

With a bandsaw you can rip, make short crosscuts, re-saw, and cut curves. With most bandsaws you can do all the above with different angles as well. With 1/16" blades you can cut very intricate curves, much like a scroll saw. With an attachment you can also sand. This tool will cut wood faster than any other tool and ripping of thick lumber is a breeze. The drawback is that it leaves a coarse surface which will require more attention.

The modern SawStop Saws (http://www.sawstop.com/) Detect Contact With Skin because the human body is conductive, the "SawStop" blade carries a small electrical signal, which the safety system continually monitors (see video below).

Like the tablesaw, the function of the machine is to turn the blade at the appropriate speed with enough power to cut the material. Unlike the tablesaw it must also support the thin blade to keep it from wandering. Because of this many of the less expensive brands will not perform satisfactorily.


The beauty of this portable machine was that one could take it to the work piece instead of vice-versa. Now many small shops are seeing the limitation of this and feel the need for a shaper, thus creating the router table.

JET Shapers Company offers heavy-duty cast iron for best in class durability Shapers. they come with

Independent right and left fences and diferent Table Sizes: (L x W) (In.) Info 25 x 25 (1),25-1/2 x 25 (1), c32-1/4 x 26-3/4 (2) and 22-1/4 x 18-1/8 (1).

This fairly modern invention was developed to make up for the shortcomings of the shaper, pin router, and over arm router.

The beauty of this portable machine was that one could take it to the work piece instead of vice-versa. Now many small shops are seeing the limitation of this and feel the need for a shaper, thus creating the router table.

This has become one of the most, if not the most, versatile machines in the shop. It can rapidly make edge profiles, joints and grooves, make reproductions from templates, drill, surface, cut, trim wood.

A plunging type is preferred for it makes starting and stopping in the middle of a board a snap. It also make multiple depth cutting much faster, and it allows one to retract the bit after each cut which is a tremendous safety factor. The router bit should spin into the work but there are times when, because of grain direction and splintering, you will need to feed the opposite direction. When doing this the machine will tend to run with the cut so you must hold on tight and take shallow wooden cuts.

Ideally one would have two routers one large and one small. A large 3hp (on the photo) will do everything but is cumbersome for small detail or trim work.

By doing this, though, you will eliminate tearout. It is very important to keep the base clean and as slick as possible. You can use a plastic polish regularly to accomplish this. Plastic polishes can be found at auto stores and aquarium stores.

If there is resistance between the base and the work errors can happen very fast.

Carbide bits are preferred as the bits take much punishment. Bits with guide bearings are best for portable work. Helical straight bits will give superior cuts. Bits can be sharpened on a diamond stone, only the flat part is sharpened.

The settings

Accurate depth settings can easily be made by using a drill bit of the appropriate thickness, either between the depth post and stop on plunge routers or, using two bits between the base and the work on fixed base routers. Truing the ends of large panels can be very accurately done with a router using a straight piloted bit. Clamp a straight edge onto the work, square and close to the edge. Then using the straight edge as a guide for the pilot, rout it off. Stop just before the end and finish of the opposite direction to prevent tearout.

These are the three most important machines in the workshop, and to go into the rest of them would take a book of which many are written.

A few notes

Pay strict attention to the direction of the grain, whenever possible go with the grain. Realizing that the figure in wood is not always the grain but the small little lines which are the grain, can avoid errors like those listed below: Machines yet cannot think - you must make the decisions. Let the machine do the work, don't push it. Avoid using dull woodworking tools, Safety cannot be bought, it needs to be learned and practiced.

The information contained in this web page is intended for general information purposes only. This publication is not a substitute for review of the applicable government regulations and standards or safety standards.

Used materiels: Amazon.com, youtube, Boero Company, article by Gary S. JET Shapers (www.jettools.com), SawStop (/www.sawstop.com).
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