Getting Busy at Shop Night | Boat Restoration Projects

Shop Night has been extra busy these last few weeks and last night was no exception. The extra energy must come from the buzz around the call center, the JD store, on the website and in the back of the increasingly busy warehouse. Boaters are waking up and getting ready to get the boat ready. Shop Night is a microcosm of what we know is happening in boatyards, sheds and driveways all over the country. The crunch is on, people. Don’t feel pressured by the calendar or the clock – feel inspired to get organized and to get busy!

As we love to mention – preparation is the KEY to success with 99% of all projects, especially marine projects that tend to involve uncharted territory with new products or methods and most often with some toxic chemicals mixed in. We try to present a balance of how you should tackle a job, and how most DIY people end up going for it. And that’s the crux of it – be prepared, be vigilant with safety and prep and then GO FOR IT. 

Still in the works is Lorelei and her dad, Joe’s Century Cruiser restoration. They have applied new covering boards, replaced the engine box with a serious new one which is a nod to Joe and his joinery skills and they have re-caulked the deck. Now it’s varnish time. And believe me, there will be lots of varnish on this baby. (Want to guess how much varnish the boat will use? Enter your best guess below in comments. If you nail it – we will send you a free quart kit of Lust varnish!)

Next week they will begin stripping and varnishing the actual hull, while continuing to lay coats on the deck. Lust Marine Varnish has been a hero in this restoration. As with most DIYers – Joe and Lorelei work all day and don’t have loads of extra time to put into the restoration. Using Lust has allowed them to lay down 2 or 3 coats in one shop night. That’s 3 coats in about 3 hours in our TotalBoat workshop which, last night, was about 62 degrees inside.

Warm enough, but not balmy. The Lust Varnish has been amazing to see in action. It self-levels like it’s the only job it has and dries fast enough to apply up to 5 coats in a day. But shop night is only about 3-4 hours long -and Joe is beyond happy to get that many coats on in one evening. You have to use it to believe it! The reviews agree – it’s a great varnish product.

1st coat of the night. 7pm after lightly sanding the existing few coats. Second coat went on at 8:10pm.

Other projects include Liam’s sunfish repair where he is repairing a torn out block from the forward cockpit area. He glassed in some wood and has added lots of structural integrity to this area. Next up is fairing and then some primer and finally – gelcoat. A project Liam has never attempted  – but there are plenty of experts on hand to advise him and of course I’ll be there to document any victories or disasters that ensue! (you’re welcome, Liam!)

Dan O brought the whole family last night to help with their newest family member, a Cape Dory Typhoon, that needs mostly cosmetic work – but Dan is going for it – stripping and planning, fixing and improving upon this great little keelboat. Bets are being taken for whether they sail it before August… place your bets below in the comments. When placing your bets – consider that they brought another boat to Shop Night last night – Fin’s red Optimist. Which, of course, Fin says needs MORE red paint. Also consider that Dan and sons mostly played with flotation foam last night. It was wildly entertaining.

Shop Night regulars JP and Alex worked on their Penetrating Epoxy projects, giving life to a few needy pieces. Alex is working on an old rope spool to be used for a table (presumably Alex will store cocktails and remote controls here), and JP delighted in seeing his old outboard mount drink up the first coat of penetrating epoxy, with hopes of making it last a few more years, now that it’s protected. And Shane and his dad, Kevin have constructed a new hatch cover for their Ericson 27 sailboat, using the existing frame with brand new plywood inside the frame. They attached and reconstructed the frame using (what else….) Thixo! And it looks awesome. Can’t wait to see how they finish it off.

The Seacraft 20 is getting a new engine and as such it seemed the perfect time to raise the transom 5 inches. Seacrafts are notoriously “sinkable” because of the low back end and with the consult of a few prod in advance, this seemed to be a project the shop crew could tackle with little difficulty. Well, that remains to be seen. But so far – sanding back the existing transom and cutting a template and piece of board to raise the area by 5 inches has been a piece of cake. Chuck and Eric are using Baltek Airex board which they doubled up – Thixo-ed together and have thixo-ed into place on the transom. We can’t hang the engine off it quite yet – fiberglassing is next. But the team is anxious to get it going and do some laps around Hog Island to test it out….

And in about the time it took all of this to go down, Lorelei and Joe were ready for coat two, which went on to the tack-free surface like a dream. The Lust flowed really nicely with a little Thinner 100 added, and by 845 they had applied 2 coats and the boat looked great. See for yourself.

All this practice might not make *perfect* but it sure makes us love our jobs more, enjoy our co-workers and it gets us all very familiar with the products and with the techniques needed to apply them and most importantly, to answer your questions.

Come see the crew at the annual JD Tent Sale on April 22. Save the date and we will hope to see you there!

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