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Thread: Advice on mahogany veneer on classic runabout boat restoration

  1. #1
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    Default Advice on mahogany veneer on classic runabout boat restoration

    Just looking for some advice on Mahogany veneer Joins, I am currently doing up a 1960s Runabout, It has been a complete restoration and I am now past the Rot repair and fibreglassing and on to all the fun parts of making it look pretty. The Transom and top decks are covered with marine Ply and then have 9mm Veneer of Mahogany. I have been using West system epoxy to glue the veneer down and I am attempting to minimal fastenings where possible. I did the Transom some time ago and managed to get very tidy joins mostly due to the grain running longitudinally with the cut. I am now doing the bow section and due to the width of timber I had have had to use 4 sections these cuts are across the grain. I have matched up the grain and book-matched both port and starboard sides to get it all looking even and I am hoping to make the joins as nice as possible so they show up as a minimal line when stained and varnished. My questions to anyone that has done this before. I did a test piece with epoxy mixed with sawdust and it comes up very dark and I had to use quite a lot of stain to disguise it.
    What is the best way to get a nice true join (note that the veneer is only 9mm and I am using butt joins due to it being glued onto Plywood?)
    What is best to fill the tiny gap that is left in the join in the wood, sawdust mixed with epoxy during gluing, Mahogany filler after gluing?
    Is epoxy the best product to glue the veneer down?
    I plan to glue all the 4 pieces of timber together fist so I can sand a true curve on the inside and I believe it will also make for an easier install.




    Many thanks in advance for any advice.



    Classic boat .jpg
    Bow Mahogany cut out ready to glue and install
    download (1).jpg
    MDF templates made
    download (4).jpg
    Transom and seating
    download (3).jpg
    download (5).jpg
    Veneer on sides

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Advice on mahogany veneer on classic runabout boat restoration

    Welcome to the forum
    Quote Originally Posted by Toby S View Post
    What is best to fill the tiny gap that is left in the join in the wood, sawdust mixed with epoxy during gluing, Mahogany filler after gluing? Do some test pieces with scrap to find the best thickener for the epoxy. Wood dust will darken considerably so try silica first, then gradually add a light coloured flour in stages until you find a pleasing finish that is what you want after the stain and varnish has changed the colour of the wood.
    Is epoxy the best product to glue the veneer down? Probably, especially if you can vacuum bag the glue up.
    I plan to glue all the 4 pieces of timber together fist so I can sand a true curve on the inside and I believe it will also make for an easier install. No, just no. It will be floppy and fragile and break in al sorts of interesting ways. Fit each one in turn against its neighbour and against the laid area of deck then glue them all down together.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Advice on mahogany veneer on classic runabout boat restoration

    I had some similar issues on my boat. If the joints are tight enough, you may not need anything to fill them. Epoxy (with sawdust and/or colloidal silica) won't really take to staining. You might want to give wood flour (Famo-wood) a try as that is supposed to take stain as far as I know. I used that to fill some small pin-holes and it looks OK but you can still see it if the light is just right. I didn't spend a lot of time trying to work that out. Another thing I used in some places was the graphite powder that West sells. You can then mix black or gray depending on the mix of silica and graphite. It takes only a small pinch of the graphite.

    On my boat the pieces on the edge of the deck weren't as wide as yours so I had less joints and they are maybe not as noticeable. With a tight joint, there is a very very fine line across the grain but once it was stained (mahogany gel-stain), and sealed (Interlux wood sealer), and then 9+ coats of varnish, the lines at the joints do not stand out.

    Good luck,
    Dave

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Advice on mahogany veneer on classic runabout boat restoration

    Do not use epoxy mixed with wood flour, it will have a glassy blackish look and wont look natural.
    Any large joints have to be filled with a wood filler and some smaller ones you could oil the wood with a hardening oil, sand the oiled surface wood which tends to fill small imperfections.

    I have used PL premium Construction adhesive, the tan 3x glue mixed with saw-sanding dust as a wood filler to be stained and it is pretty good durable product like that. It takes stains well and look much like the natural wood.
    Mix it up to 50% wood to glue, then force it into whatever you want to fill. And cover it using a plastic cereal bag )wont stick to it). It will swell up and seal itself into the joint.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Advice on mahogany veneer on classic runabout boat restoration

    Just to clarify my post above: I would not mix wood flour (Famo-wood) with epoxy. Rather, if you have a small hole to fill or a joint/seam after the boards are glued in position, you could use the Famo-wood to fill the void and then stain/seal/varnish, etc. I have used plain sawdust as a thickener with epoxy but I never tried mixing Famo-wood with epoxy as the Famo-wood has other ingredients in it (solvents ??).

    Cheers,
    Dave

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Advice on mahogany veneer on classic runabout boat restoration

    A good filler product that can come very close to matching the wood veneer is made by Mohawk Finishes who supply the furniture and wood conservation trades. This product is sold under the name of "Burn in Sticks" as this filer is applied with a heated spatchula and is able to be sanded as soon as it cools. https://www.mohawkproducts.com/Defau...SAAEgL1D_D_BwE
    Jay

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Advice on mahogany veneer on classic runabout boat restoration

    Jay is right. Mokawk is pretty much the industry standard in architectural wood finishing . Go to their website and browse around. The tech people are very helpful and knowledgeable.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Advice on mahogany veneer on classic runabout boat restoration

    I do wonder whether 9mm thick material ought to be described as veneer. It would concern me that something of that thickness might cup or distort.I have seen what a piece of 0.6mm furniture veneer did to a piece of 15mm ply when the laminate wasn't balanced and wouldn't be too surprised if something similar occurred.I would make every effort to seal all the components very thoroughly to minimise the chance of movement and then think about the finer points of finishing and colour matching.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Advice on mahogany veneer on classic runabout boat restoration

    Great Advice, Thanks !

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Advice on mahogany veneer on classic runabout boat restoration

    Interesting to hear your thoughts thanks so much. Did you not put a coat of epoxy with clear hardener over the sealer and before the varnish ? Also what varnish did you use ?

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Advice on mahogany veneer on classic runabout boat restoration

    I followed the directions as given for the Rascal Runabout. The mahogany planks were first stained, then sealed with a wood sealer, then varnish. For varnish, I used Epifanes Clear Varnish and also the Wood Finish Gloss. The latter has the advantage that you can do multiple coats without sanding in-between.

    I did not use a layer of epoxy on the outside of the sides and deck. There are pros and cons either way, I suppose. The entire boat was sealed with epoxy on the inside. Also, on the Rascal there is a first layer of marine plywood on the entire hull and then the mahogany planks are set in epoxy as they are attached.

    Dave

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Advice on mahogany veneer on classic runabout boat restoration

    Are you filling between the deck strips with something? Perhaps it will look good if you intentionally leave a gap between the pieces of the surround and fill with the same.

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