We’ve treated ourselves to a little fun time – stripping the varnish from the drop boards. This is such an easy thing to do, and has no relevance to the structural integrity of the boat, but it will look great to have all the brightwork new. I’m not sure when the last time the varnish was stripped, but there are so many layers on the drop boards, it takes quite a while to get them all off, even though the varnish is bubbling up in places, and is chipped, scratched and broken. Every place you see which is black in the photo to the top left is a crack or break in one or more layers of the varnish. Water has been able to penetrate down to the wood and discolor it. The drop board to the right has the varnish removed, and we still have to clean and sand it before applying new varnish. Some of the blemishes will stay forever – we’re chalking this up to patina. But where the wood can be cleaned without damaging it further, we’ll get it clean before covering it up again.
We’re using La Tonkinois varnish, a French varnish we discovered a few years ago, and have used on the dingy. We like it because it is linseed-oil based, and is non-toxic (sort of). It still smells like Epifanes, or any other varnish, but it is much easier to apply. We won’t be applying any varnish on the boat until warmer weather shows up, but everything we can bring inside, we will varnish. The jury’s still out about whether or not we varnish the galley table. It has been bare for its entire life, and there are pro’s and con’s both to a bare finish and a bright finish.
Another project Leita has started is the swim ladder. If anyone can tell me the name of the hardware this uses to hook onto the boat, you’ll win a secret prize! I’ve spent the morning looking online, and can’t find it, either in stainless or in bronze. We’re hoping to find it in bronze as, obviously, the previous fittings were stainless and now need to be replaced.
Here’s the swim ladder – Leita will be whipping new line as soon as we find the hardware: