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Thread: Taping off calking for varnish 1956 runabout

  1. #1
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    Default Taping off calking for varnish 1956 runabout

    Hello Everyone,

    I was thinking of adding perhaps 2 coats of varnish to freshen up the top of my wood boat. My white calking is still in good shape, and I don't want to varnish directly over it.

    Question: What is the best method of taping off the tiny white calk lines as to avoid covering with varnish? My desire is to simply build a couple of layers of new varnish for protection. I would sand a bit, clean, then try to add the varnish but I will need to tape off the white lines.

    Any advice is much appreciated! See pictures attached.


    gifs upload

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Taping off calking for varnish 1956 runabout

    No ideas from anyone? Thanks

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Taping off calking for varnish 1956 runabout

    DanBlue,
    Since you say you don't want to varnish over the seams, taping over them or outside them and coating them with some non-stick or carefully cutting in is the only option I can think of.
    3M makes some narrow tape. http://3mcollision.com/scotch-fine-l...218-06302.html
    I would just varnish over them. My 2 cents. Cheers

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Taping off calking for varnish 1956 runabout

    If the boat is for show, ask the winners and do whatever they do. If not for show, varnish over the seams.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Taping off calking for varnish 1956 runabout

    Even at shows I have seen them varnished and then gone over with a pin-striping wheel and white paint. (though I have never been to Lake Tahoe or any similar caliber shows).

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    Default Re: Taping off calking for varnish 1956 runabout

    Even on the concours circuit, my friend, (e.g. Tahoe Classic) that white stopping is varnished over in a single coat. I'm sorry that all you got were a bunch of dumb answers to what was a dumb question in the first place.

    Not that I want to hurt your feelings or anything, but think this one through. If you tape the white stopping and varnish, you are going to have a raised edge at every intersection created by the edge of the tape and your varnished foredeck is going to look like sh!t, not to mention that you'll probably make a mess of what you do want to varnish by the time you pull the tape off. Half of it will run under the edge of the tape unless you use 3M "Fine Line" tape, which in the amounts you'd be using to tape all those seams would be very expensive as well. Anywhere there is a break in the varnish coating is a place where the varnish has a good likelihood of starting to peel. A bunch of "edges" in your varnish job is the last thing you want to have going on there.

    Don't bother taping anything. Remove all the hardware attached to the varnished area, including the windscreen. (This is important. Sand the surface carefully to key the surface, and put three coats down in one seamless coat, sanding with fine paper (220, at least. 320 better) before the last coat. Use a clean brush and a clean can of varnish and go to it. Be sure to properly re-bed all hardware with a proper bedding compound such as Dolphinite (not 3M 5200!). Taping around fittings is a big mistake. Everywhere there is a break or edge in the varnish coating, and especially at the edge of a fitting, is going to be where the varnish starts to peel. You've got to make it a perfect job on this one. If you aren't an accomplished varnisher, you'd be better off hiring out the job. (It's not a big one. It shouldn't cost that much.) Anything less than a perfect varnish job on the foredeck of a nice bright finished runabout like that one is going to look terrible. That varnished foredeck is where the eye is drawn on that boat. It's where you have to put the most effort when refinishing.
    Last edited by Bob Cleek; 03-27-2015 at 12:55 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Taping off calking for varnish 1956 runabout

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Cleek View Post
    I'm sorry that all you got were a bunch of dumb answers to what was a dumb question in the first place.
    Bob, the gratuitous insults are what is truly dumb. Knock it off.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Taping off calking for varnish 1956 runabout

    I have never given this much thought. I have also never owned such a piece of plank and caulking. What is the problem of varnish on top of the caulk? Is the issue that the varnish will yellow the white caulk? Does varnish negatively effect the caulk? Perhaps there are problems removing the caulk down the line for replacement if there is varnish on it?
    I am serious about this. It is outside of my experience, is all.

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    Default Re: Taping off calking for varnish 1956 runabout

    Quote Originally Posted by outofthenorm View Post
    Bob, the gratuitous insults are what is truly dumb. Knock it off.
    Yea, a rather unnecessary attack! What's the deal? If you disagree with comments, it's easy enough to say so.
    Easier still, is offer your own opinions and leave it at that.
    Best, I think, to save the insults for the bilge.

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    Default Re: Taping off calking for varnish 1956 runabout

    Quote Originally Posted by outofthenorm View Post
    Bob, the gratuitous insults are what is truly dumb. Knock it off.
    Gratuitous insults? Are there any other kind? If it's possible to charge for insults, I'd better start collecting the big bucks.

    I followed it with the disclaimer that I didn't want to hurt his feelings, which was true, and complemented him on what appears to be a very nice boat. I then took the time to explain why what he was contemplating would not work. From the initial dumb answers this fellow got to the dumb question he asked, you have to wonder what the point of this forum has become. It used to be a place where people with some experience with real wooden boats could go to exchange information about the craft. With dumb questions and even dumber answers, is it any wonder that those forumites have dropped off the radar screen one by one in recent times? It seems the standards have eroded markedly. How much longer do you think a guy like, say, Todd Bradshaw, who really knows his trade, is going to keep patiently explaining the folly of blue plastic tarp sails over and over again?
    Last edited by Bob Cleek; 03-28-2015 at 12:26 PM.

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    Default Re: Taping off calking for varnish 1956 runabout

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael D. Storey View Post
    I have never given this much thought. I have also never owned such a piece of plank and caulking. What is the problem of varnish on top of the caulk? Is the issue that the varnish will yellow the white caulk? Does varnish negatively effect the caulk? Perhaps there are problems removing the caulk down the line for replacement if there is varnish on it?
    I am serious about this. It is outside of my experience, is all.
    Good questions. Yes, the varnish will yellow the white stopping, but that is acceptable. While attractive, to some eyes, the appearance of the contrast between the wood and the white stopping was never for appearance's sake to begin with, but now seems to have become a signature feature of the type. The varnish doesn't hurt the stopping at all, though, nor make it difficult to replace, since if the stopping is being replaced, the whole deck is going to have to be stripped and refinished anyway. One of the endemic problems with "white" stopping on varnished runabout decks occurs when the deck planks aren't properly caulked hard and move. (There's going to be some movement in any event.) Modernly, a lot of these seams are stopped with very flexible stopping. When the planks swell and contract, the stopping flexes and when the stopping flexes, the varnish, especially when well cured, begins to crack and then peel. Originally, these sort of seams were stopped with white lead paste and whiting putty, which dried fairly hard and didn't present the same flexing that today's "goop in a tube" does.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Taping off calking for varnish 1956 runabout

    Bob Cleek,
    First, to call someones question, or answer, "dumb" and insist you don't want to hurt there feelings "or anything" is either intentionally disingenuous or ignorant of the meaning of the word "dumb" as it was used in your response. Dumb a : lacking intelligence : stupid
    b : showing a lack of intelligence (asking dumb questions)
    You certainly hurt my feelings. But,I'll get over that, so don't fret.
    Also, you seem to have answered said "dumb" question despite your disapproval of such things. Curious?
    And it seems to me (the dumb guy) you gave the same answer others did... varnish over the joints. Again, curious?
    So, in conclusion, I'm am sincerely sorry to be such a disappointment to you.
    Cheers. Have a nicer day.
    Sorry for the drift, DanBlue.
    Last edited by jackster; 03-28-2015 at 12:53 PM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Taping off calking for varnish 1956 runabout

    I think that when a boat approaches that level of art you probably have to do silly things. To get the outcome you want, you might have to remove the caulking, varnish the deck, then recaulk. Otherwise, just varnish the lot as suggested above, but it won't be what you want. Or you could paint the lot with some off white non skid.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Taping off calking for varnish 1956 runabout

    Bob is right, there are usually two coats of varnish over the caulking.... at least. Most of the high end show boats use a pinstriping tool and put a painted stripe over top of the caulking, then put two coats of varnish over that. This is after 10-14 coats has been put on the deck.

    Here is a little Beugler kit from Eastwood.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Taping off calking for varnish 1956 runabout

    Quote Originally Posted by jackster View Post
    Bob Cleek,
    First, to call someones question, or answer, "dumb" and insist you don't want to hurt there feelings "or anything" is either intentionally disingenuous or ignorant of the meaning of the word "dumb" as it was used in your response. Dumb a : lacking intelligence : stupid
    b : showing a lack of intelligence (asking dumb questions)
    You certainly hurt my feelings. But,I'll get over that, so don't fret.
    Also, you seem to have answered said "dumb" question despite your disapproval of such things. Curious?
    And it seems to me (the dumb guy) you gave the same answer others did... varnish over the joints. Again, curious?
    So, in conclusion, I'm am sincerely sorry to be such a disappointment to you.
    Cheers. Have a nicer day.
    Sorry for the drift, DanBlue.
    DanBlue, if you'd thought the thing through, would you have asked the question in the first place, or discovered the answer yourself?

    I know, I can be a bit harsh at times. It ain't personal. Just consider the source and discount as you see fit. If it doesn't kill ya outright, it'll make ya stronger.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Taping off calking for varnish 1956 runabout

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Cleek View Post
    Even on the concours circuit, my friend, (e.g. Tahoe Classic) that white stopping is varnished over in a single coat. I'm sorry that all you got were a bunch of dumb answers to what was a dumb question in the first place.

    Not that I want to hurt your feelings or anything, but think this one through. If you tape the white stopping and varnish, you are going to have a raised edge at every intersection created by the edge of the tape and your varnished foredeck is going to look like sh!t, not to mention that you'll probably make a mess of what you do want to varnish by the time you pull the tape off. Half of it will run under the edge of the tape unless you use 3M "Fine Line" tape, which in the amounts you'd be using to tape all those seams would be very expensive as well. Anywhere there is a break in the varnish coating is a place where the varnish has a good likelihood of starting to peel. A bunch of "edges" in your varnish job is the last thing you want to have going on there.

    Don't bother taping anything. Remove all the hardware attached to the varnished area, including the windscreen. (This is important. Sand the surface carefully to key the surface, and put three coats down in one seamless coat, sanding with fine paper (220, at least. 320 better) before the last coat. Use a clean brush and a clean can of varnish and go to it. Be sure to properly re-bed all hardware with a proper bedding compound such as Dolphinite (not 3M 5200!). Taping around fittings is a big mistake. Everywhere there is a break or edge in the varnish coating, and especially at the edge of a fitting, is going to be where the varnish starts to peel. You've got to make it a perfect job on this one. If you aren't an accomplished varnisher, you'd be better off hiring out the job. (It's not a big one. It shouldn't cost that much.) Anything less than a perfect varnish job on the foredeck of a nice bright finished runabout like that one is going to look terrible. That varnished foredeck is where the eye is drawn on that boat. It's where you have to put the most effort when refinishing.
    Da Cleekster is pretty much right...except:
    The deck AND seams are varnished. Sand with 500 wet/dry between. 320 will show scratches. At least a couple coats to be applied. Then tape off seams with 3M Delicate masking tape. (to avoid pulling up varnish) Paint with white paint with an artist's brush. A few clients prefer to put down a canary yellow color...like legal tablet. It's a nice mellow look. A pin striping tool does not work because the seams are almost certainly not uniform.

    Added: you have to paint the seams because the varnish will not be uniform...where the varnish is thicker it will be darker...looks haphazard...painting the seems makes them look crisp.
    Last edited by pcford; 04-02-2015 at 12:03 AM.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Taping off calking for varnish 1956 runabout

    Quote Originally Posted by pcford View Post
    Da Cleekster is pretty much right...except:
    The deck AND seams are varnished. Sand with 500 wet/dry between. 320 will show scratches. At least a couple coats to be applied. Then tape off seams with 3M Delicate masking tape. (to avoid pulling up varnish) Paint with white paint with an artist's brush. A few clients prefer to put down a canary yellow color...like legal tablet. It's a nice mellow look. A pin striping tool does not work because the seams are almost certainly not uniform.

    Added: you have to paint the seams because the varnish will not be uniform...where the varnish is thicker it will be darker...looks haphazard...painting the seems makes them look crisp.
    Of course. I meant that the deck and seams are varnished. If one wants to tape off the seams and paint them, that would go over the finish varnish coat. Variations in the varnish thickness are a function of how evenly the varnish is applied. If I were finishing a showboat runabout that would be stored indoors, I'd be thinking of automotive finishing technology... probably shooting the finish in a booth like one would a car. I probably wouldn't go with automotive coatings, though, because they are probably less flexible, or so I'd guess. Wood moves a lot more than metal or plastics.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Taping off calking for varnish 1956 runabout

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Cleek View Post
    Of course. I meant that the deck and seams are varnished. If one wants to tape off the seams and paint them, that would go over the finish varnish coat. Variations in the varnish thickness are a function of how evenly the varnish is applied. If I were finishing a showboat runabout that would be stored indoors, I'd be thinking of automotive finishing technology... probably shooting the finish in a booth like one would a car. I probably wouldn't go with automotive coatings, though, because they are probably less flexible, or so I'd guess. Wood moves a lot more than metal or plastics.
    I have never been enamored of spraying varnish...on a small boat like a speedboat there is little advantage in term of labor over roll and tip. If you can't figure out how to varnish evenly you should not be doing it. Not that hard. Variations in varnish thickness is related to the shape of the seams. I use Epifanes. Never use two part finish. Buff out the dust on deck. As you suggest the deck of a runabout must be perfect.

    Bonus: I use glaziers putty on the fake seams on a runabout deck.

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