Advice on Fixing First Timer Mess-ups (in a Passagemaker)


I started a Passagemaker in the Wooden Boat class this past August, and I'm really enjoying the process - despite some probably classic first-timer mistakes!!

The boat is assembled, and just about at the point where it should be clear coated throughout with epoxy. But first I'd really appreciate some suggestions on how to repair/minimize two goofs!

Firstly, I have a (cloudy whiteish) fold in the fiberglass where it goes around the midship bulkhead - and the glass and bulkhead are already epoxied. Should I try and sand that all the way down, visually disguise it (stain??), or simply live with it??

Secondly, I have some splotches on the stern seat deck, underneath the first clear coat of epoxy, where I think some water dripped onto the bare plywood just prior to my applying the epoxy and raised the grain. I did try sanding thru the epoxy and then smooth the wood - and then reapplied a single clear coat, but you can still see the splotches. (And I also confess I was worried about sanding thru the top layer of the plywood!) So, I was wondering if I later used a lightly pigmented varnish (following my second coat of epoxy) whether it might be able to hide these blemishes?? Any other suggestions would also be appreciated, although I really don't want to paint that seat!

Many thanks!



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RE: Advice on Fixing First Timer Mess-ups (in a Passagemaker)


   Stand back and admire it from a few feet further away?  Seriously, I gave up on some of my imperfections.  I'm not nearly good enough yet (or patient enough) to make one of those gorgeous examples of wood sculpture, but I don't think I've assembled something that will fall apart anytime soon.  I intend to paint everything but the rails and spars of my skerry for that very reason.

I'm not sure I can tell exactly what the first picture is showing, but I had 3 or 4 spots where I didn't get the fabric down tight on the sole, in the corners between planks and by the bulkhead.  Just small bubbles, maybe an inch long and a fraction wide.  On the two most worrisome ones, I carefully ground out the fiberglass with a Dremel grinder with a rounded steel burr.  Sanded the edges, then filled with some epoxy.  One of them, I made a tiny patch with a bit more glass.  I was really only worried about water intrusion, since I already knew I would paint the hull.

RE: Advice on Fixing First Timer Mess-ups (in a Passagemaker)

   I would be inclined to leave the first issue as is.

For the blotchy seat, I would consider applying another layer of veneer over the plywood.  Of course, you probably wouldn't want to do just one seat.  You could use any species of wood you like and turn a feature you are not happy with into a focal point you want to show off.

Good luck

RE: Advice on Fixing First Timer Mess-ups (in a Passagemaker)

a couple thoughts in addition to what has been said above.

on the cloudy/whitish problem at the bulkhead --  you can knock it down with some low grit number sandpaper and woodflour fillet over the top of it.  the brownish woodflour fillet will hide the visual imperfection below and look just fine.

on the blotches --  i would not do anything in the short term.  but play it out a bit.  a good UV varnish will give everything a nice amber-ish color and while it won't completely hide will make it less visible.  the other thing i would say is that with some exposure to sun, over time, the wood will fade/change colour....typically becoming a bit darker.   usually light splotches are a result of wood that has already had some sun exposure being sanded and reflecting the lighter un-exposed wood.  so with further sun exposure the lights become darker and the darker parts don't change much -- so the problem typically self-corrects after a season or two.

anyway...that's my 2 cents






RE: Advice on Fixing First Timer Mess-ups (in a Passagemaker)

Thanks! Actually, going after the fold in the fiberglass iwith the Dremel and patching with epoxy turned out not to be as difficult as I anticipated. And I think I will leave the stern seat deck as is, and see how it looks after its fully finished (and weathered).....

This whole boat building process is rather interesting. On the one hand one learns just to go ahead and "do it" when faced with a new task or skill to be acquired and give something a try; while on the other hand it really shows the value of patience and not rushing..... I'm also learning to accept that my first boat will certainly have a lot of "character".....

Ahh the zen of boat building!!

Thanks again,


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