Subject: (Lightning re-build)
Date: Fri, 30 Apr 1999
Wow! A complete surface restore. Good for you. I've sailed Lightnings many
times and they're fine boats and a pleasure to sail. That's why they built so
many of them and they lasted so long. I'll give you my point-by-point comments
item by item. Be prepared, though, for a few mildly unpleasant surprises
during the dismantling process. There are always a few problems buried that
the eye can't see. You will need to replace all fastenings as you reassemble,
as you suggest below, and be prepared to doctor the wood a bit to get things
fitting tight. Okay, here goes....
Dear Dr. Rot:
I hope to use your products to restore an old (1950s?) Lightning sailboat. It is 19 feet long; the beam is 6' 6". It seems to be almost all mahogany. There is a little rot in one of the floor boards, but it is not too bad (about 1/3 through). And there is a little rot where the deck (1/4" plywood) meet the sides of the boat in a few places.
Here is a preliminary plan and some questions. What do you think?
1. Remove all wood trim, interior seats, and hardware including centerboard.
2. Strip the inside, and deck with a chemical stripper (What type?) and sand to bare wood.
Okay. For stripper I've yet to find anything that worked any better than the
hardware store Jasco brand. It is not the most *environmentally correct*
stripper you can buy, but it works the best and if you carefully gather the
residue and dispose of it correctly then it presents no problem for me.
3. Turn the boat over.
4. Remove skeg which is bolted to the hull.
Okay. Watch the hull/skeg joint and treat thoroughly with CPES. When
replacing, use a polyurethane sealant such as 3-M 4200. The polyurethane
sealants adhere especially well to CPES treated wood.
5. Strip the outside of the hull and skeg with a chemical stripper (Again, what type?) and sand to bare wood.
6. One coat of CPES including inside of CB trunk and skeg.
7. Replace skeg and apply another coat of CPES to the hull, skeg, and inside of CB trunk.
8. Apply your Resin and Filler to all cracks including where deck meets the sides of the hull (some rot here).
Okay. If the rot runs deep and you have any questions about your ability to
get the filler into all openings, apply some of the L&L Resin before the final
go with the filler. The L&L Resin is VERY slow-setting and will seep into
places you might be able to reach with the filler.
9. Paint hull and skeg with epoxy paint (what kind? How many coats?) Then UV polyurethane paint (How many coats?)
I wonder if you need the epoxy paint. I think I would use a one-part
polyurethane paint, such as Interlux Brightside One-Part Polyurethane Enamel.
If you want a glassy smooth finish, I would apply the hi-build primer coat
directly over the CPES-treated wood and then sand down until it is as smooth
as you want. After that 2 coats of the poly enamel and she should sparkle.
Choose your paint (there are other brands besides Interlux) and then
religiously follow the instructions on the can.
10. Turn boat over.
11. Two coats of CPES to deck. (Then what? It was covered with canvas and painted. I'm not so interested in having the boat just like original. I just want it to be strong and dry.)
The canvas gave traction for the feet and provided a buffer zone between the
paint and the wood. It's kind of a pain to put down, but you might want to
consider it. Your options are glass (even messier than the canvas and
expensive because of the resin required) or just paint and some non-skid
material. Lightnings don't get a whole lot of deck traffic so you could get
by with just the paint.
There are books out there (see WoodenBoat Magazine) that go into some detail
on canvassing the decks. You might want to take a look.
12. One coat of CPES to the interior. Resin & Filler to the small rot spot (Then varnish?).
Right on the resin and filler. You can varnish or not, as you choose. CPES
alone tones the wood about like a coat of clear varnish and you might find
that sufficient. Thick epoxies are subject to UV degradation and MUST be
varnish-covered. CPES soaks so far into the wood that it's not so much of a
problem, although you will have to re-CPES every couple of years. Not a big
deal since CPES splashes around nicely.
13. Strip spars, interior seats (removed), and trim with chemical stripper, sand to bare wood, one coat of CPES, then multiple coats of varnish (How many? Interlux Spar Varnish?)
Interlux Spar Varnish is fine. Strip with the Jasco, sand, CPES, and then put
AT LEAST 5 coats of varnish over the CPES. Seven coats would be even better,
with a light sanding in between each coat. Don't cheat on the varnish while
you've got the mast down. It takes a bit longer but the extra varnish gives
much greater longevity.
14. Replace original bronze hardware (should I put epoxy in the holes before I replace the screws? use new stainless steel screws?)
Before the epoxy in the holes, soak each hole with CPES (this applies
everywhere, by the way), let it cure (about 3-4 days) and test a screw for
solid grip. If the grip isn't what you think it should be then a bit of epoxy
is indicated. I would put the epoxy resin in first, give it 24 hours to cure a
bit, and then come back with the screw. You can embed the screw in soft epoxy
but you may never get it out again, and you can't be sure that you are getting
maximum draw on the screw.
15. What should I do about the rudder (no rot)? I'd like it to match the hull. I'll varnish the tiller after a coat of CPES just like the spars.
Do the same thing to the rudder you're doing to the hull: strip it, CPES-coat
it, undercoat build it, and then paint with a couple coats of poly paint.
Of course I'm not loaded with cash, but I really want to do this right.
I understand. Fortunately you're not going to be using a whole lot of
anything. I can advise you an how much of what you might need once you get
started on the project.
By the way I'm an Oregonian, from Portland and Yachats. I teach English and Dubuque is where I found a job. This boat will be sailed on the Mississippi which is five minutes from my door.
Long way from home, aren't you? Get ready for those Iowa winters. I went to
grad school in Iowa and the winters were a bit of a shock. The best thing
about Iowa are the people -- I've never associated with nicer folks.
Thanks for your help.
Hey, we're done! New boat! Sail the Mississippi like a champ!
Get back to me if you have more questions. Your project is a good one and
being undertaken on a good boat.