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Thread: Help advice needed please! Getting a wooden Mirror dinghy back out on the water

  1. #1
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    Question Help advice needed please! Getting a wooden Mirror dinghy back out on the water

    My grandfather built a wooden mirror dinghy decades ago and my fiancée and I are looking to get it back out on the water. It’s been sat in a garage for nearly 20 years.
    Ive only sailed before, not been so hands on with building, renovations or maintenance so really appreciate any directions / advice!
    The dinghy does seem to be in a pretty good condition from an initial inspection.
    From an initial research I understand we need to undertake the following steps (top line for simplicities sake)

    1. scraping old paint off with a heat gun
    2. Sanding with a rotary sander and then by hand

    I then get a little lost with the primer and painting side of things. Some people seem to suggest 5 sets of primer should do the trick with no need for paint, but I’m not even sure which primer to get?
    Im also keen to understand what’s required with the interior of the dinghy as most of the varnish seems to be flaking off - again sanding and revarnishing? Any suggestions on varnish?
    Really appreciate any feedback and help on this as restoring and then sailing my grandpas hand built dinghy would be very special!
    Many thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Help advice needed please! Getting a wooden Mirror dinghy back out on the water

    Welcome to the forum.
    I like Teamac marine paints.
    You will need primer and gloss, they also do varnish. If you need any advice, ask their technical department. Go easy with a rotary sander, unless you are referring to an orbital. Power sanding can go through the top laminate of the ply as soon as look at it.

    https://www.teamac.co.uk/
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Help advice needed please! Getting a wooden Mirror dinghy back out on the water

    Can you post some photos for us?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Help advice needed please! Getting a wooden Mirror dinghy back out on the water

    For the sake of ease of maintenance you may think about painting most of the inside of the Mirror. Leave perhaps the seat tops and daggerboard case trim bright and paint the rest. But the most important thing is to make sure you protect the epoxy from UV which ever way you go. My Mirror has stalled due to a house remodel, so please post pics...I need the incentive

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Help advice needed please! Getting a wooden Mirror dinghy back out on the water

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh MacD View Post
    For the sake of ease of maintenance you may think about painting most of the inside of the Mirror. Leave perhaps the seat tops and daggerboard case trim bright and paint the rest. But the most important thing is to make sure you protect the epoxy from UV which ever way you go. My Mirror has stalled due to a house remodel, so please post pics...I need the incentive
    That one is old enough to be polyester, which was standard for ply Mirror kits. Hopefully the bond to the wood is still good, but is a known weak point.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Help advice needed please! Getting a wooden Mirror dinghy back out on the water

    Be cautious with the heat gun.If the paint isn't actually flaking off,you may not need to do anything as radical as stripping it.A good sanding to key the surface for a fresh coat may be sufficient,but if the old coating is sound,with a bit of fading,you might be able to sail the boat as is.Pictures would be really helpful as was stated in post #3.You shouldn't have any concerns about protecting epoxy from UV because Mirrors were never supplied with epoxy,it was extremely exotic and rare in their heyday.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Help advice needed please! Getting a wooden Mirror dinghy back out on the water

    Thank you so much for all the advice and recommendations! Appreciate it! I’ll try keep you updated as we move forward!
    F8D51F88-8428-4E0D-9D2B-DBDFC709B4D5.jpg

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Help advice needed please! Getting a wooden Mirror dinghy back out on the water

    Quote Originally Posted by Timmyatko View Post
    Thank you so much for all the advice and recommendations! Appreciate it! I’ll try keep you updated as we move forward!
    F8D51F88-8428-4E0D-9D2B-DBDFC709B4D5.jpg
    Well, the yellow paint looks sound, so just sand it and refresh.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Help advice needed please! Getting a wooden Mirror dinghy back out on the water

    Nice Mirror! That paint looks better than mine If the varnish is still tight I'd just give it a good scuff and stick on a few more coats. The epoxy I've typically seen is where the seams are taped...not overall, but that really does need UV protection. One of mine had badly deteriorated to the point where I could just pull the seam tape right off because the varnish/paint had been left unattended.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Help advice needed please! Getting a wooden Mirror dinghy back out on the water

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh MacD View Post
    Nice Mirror! That paint looks better than mine If the varnish is still tight I'd just give it a good scuff and stick on a few more coats. The epoxy I've typically seen is where the seams are taped...not overall, but that really does need UV protection. One of mine had badly deteriorated to the point where I could just pull the seam tape right off because the varnish/paint had been left unattended.
    Hugh, that would be polyester resin in the tapes, not epoxy. Polyester is not as sensitive to UV.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Help advice needed please! Getting a wooden Mirror dinghy back out on the water

    Aaaahhhh! The kits came with poly, then? Boy! Mine must have really been ignored. I could peel the tape up by hand! Unfortunately that one (52019) cut crushed when my shed roof collapsed in the snow.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Help advice needed please! Getting a wooden Mirror dinghy back out on the water

    It isn't too hard to peel glass tape that has been laminated with polyester resin.Fortunately this kind of loading is rarely applied while sailing.

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