We are fortunate to have two great marine supply stores within about 1/2 mile from us. First we went to Blackburn's, a local marine supply store up the street from us. We learned a lot of information from a personable female clerk who appeared to know a lot about this topic since it was her particular line of work for many years. Then we went to West Marine and talked with a man who showed us several different types of varnishes, and we decided to buy two quart sized cans instead of a gallon. We were somewhat nervous that this wouldn't be enough, but we also didn't want a big gallon can onboard the boat. Remember...no space!
According to the store clerks, we bought 3 grits of sandpaper: 80, 150, and 220 grit. Paul started sanding with the 80 grit and I joined him with the 150 and 220. Lots of work. Good for the saggy arms though. :) (And I don't mean his.)
We took the old varnish off pretty well, but didn't take it all the way back to the wood...still bits of it left as you can see in the pics below.
We were so fortunate because the weather cooperated with us so we could get most of it done before windy, cold weather came back. It was a gorgeous day...and week! We were in luxury with 70 plus degree temps each day, not a cloud in the sky, very little wind, if any, so just the perfect type of days for sanding. None of our sawdust ended up on our neighbors boats, thank goodness.
See our dust!! All on our own boat. Not a bad sanding job, huh? But, boy, the arms are tiring fast. Now I know why people are buying boats without wood on them. This is hard work! Did I mention how OLD we are? How come we're doing this type of work? HUH??? What happened to that elusive word, "retired"??
I decided to go down below and do something different for awhile, so I put my McGyver skills to work and duct taped the poor, ripped up life-sling bag. It was a mess, and the velcro on it was almost kaput, so I replaced that as well. I think, or at least am hoping, it will last us awhile longer now. We need to repair as much as possible, because we're finding that the prices on anything new for the "boat" are extremely high. Even the varnish for the boat was $58.00 a quart...yes, that's a quart! Did I happen to mention we got two quarts? Pricey! But it's all for the love of our boat, Sea Casa.
Oh, by the way, Paul finally wet sanded the old name off the back. It's almost time to christen our boat with her new name. That calls for a celebration!! Several people here at the marina mentioned that there's a ritual one must go through before renaming your boat...you have to have a virgin urinate on the bow of the boat at midnight during a full moon. (Any other stories out there?) Personally, I think they're trying to make us look like idiots...kind of a hazing for boaters. I can see us out there doing it, (pretending I'm a virgin...haha...Hey! Don't laugh...I used to be!!!) and them all peeking out their ports giggling at us. Yep, I can see it now. I think we'll risk the bad luck and just skip the ritual part. Anyway, the big decision for us now is where to put the new name, on the back of the boat, or on the sides. I think we'll go with the sides. S2's have a small rear end (unlike their owners) and the name may be too scrunched up there, and I like the idea of having our name on both sides.
When all the sanding was complete, Paul washed all the sawdust off the boat, and the natural wood color came out of the wood while it was wet. Whew...it was so pretty. You can see it in this pic.
At the end of the day, we both decided it was time for a well deserved beer, the favorite brewski of our Louisiana son and daughter-in-law. (Yes, Chris and Michelle, that's a Land Shark beer he's guzzling!) Brewed by "Margaritaville Brewing Co." in St. Louis, MO. Some things are still made in the USA! I wouldn't mind having one from where our son, Jason, lives in Missoula, Montana...my old stomping grounds. Moose Drool is a strong, but very good beer, while Summer Honey Ale is light, has a touch of sweetness, and really quenches the thirst. They are brewed in Missoula, in the Big Sky Country. We're good with Land Shark today.
Done with the sanding; job well done, time for food! Let's eat!! We'll start the varnishing tomorrow.
Ok, next day...we started taping off the boat, and I finished that job while Paul started varnishing. I took pics after we had 3 coats on it. Here's what she looked like:
The bright work is starting to look better after each coat. The next shots show 4 layers of varnish on the wood. We want to sand again, then put on a 5th coat and be done with it. We were told that if you just take Brass Wool (like Steel Wool) and rough up the wood every six months, followed by a coat or 2 of Varnish, that would keep the wood protected and looking good. No need to take it back to the wood again, if it's kept up.
All in all, we're pretty happy with it and appreciating the fruits of our labors. One last sand, a coat of varnish and we're done. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt, we will be doing it again in the future. It will be interesting to watch how the salt waters will affect it; how fast it will deteriorate. We're hoping we will only have to do 1 sand/coat every six months. I'm sure we could continue to varnish 10-12 times, or until the cows come home, which they'd better not...remember, no space. I imagine it would last longer, probably look nicer, and give us a few years of time off from it. We're ok with the way it is now and we'll just follow up. There are probably a guhzillion different ways that people do this...and we just added a guhzillion and one to the list.