Welcome to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum's Boatyard Blog, where all things related to Chesapeake Bay Boats are discussed. Follow the Museum's progress on historic Chesapeake boat restoration projects, watch wooden boats being built from scratch in our Apprentice For a Day program, and meet the dedicated staff and volunteers working hard to give you the experience of Chesapeake Bay history while preserving traditional Chesapeake Bay boat building techniques. Make sure to join us as a follower of this blog so you will be notified of new posts, and make comments on anything you see on the blog.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sand, Paint, Sand, Paint, Sand, Paint, Sand, Paint.

Having finally laid the long cold winter to rest, the Rosie Parks restoration crew has made the shift to springtime. And we all know what spring means in the boating world. Painting and more of it! Of course, good painting requires preparation. This means not only much, much sanding, but other types of prep as well.

Here the shipwrights are preparing lead flashing for all of the joints at the stemhead, knightheads, and sampson post. These joints will be inaccessible after the bowsprit is installed and must be thoroughly protected. Malleable sheet lead is pounded flat into one large sheet and made ready for templating. 

The common manila folder is the perfect thickness for template material. All of the necessary patterns are prepared in advance and then positioned to minimize material waste. The lead is then cut with shears or "tin snips" to the proper shape. It is then folded and hammered into place at the correct location. 

All of the flashing is bedded with a "special blend" of goo that creates a very, very inhospitable environment for any type of fungal growth. The lead is then nailed down with stainless steel ringshank nails approximately 1" apart. Each nail hole is pre-drilled as required with a 1/16" drill bit. Shipwright Shane only broke every single drill bit in the shop in the process. There were over 500 holes, after all.

Vessel Maintenance Manager Michael Gorman gives a painting lesson on Rosie's deckhouse. All of the previously varnished portions are taped, and the top is "rolled and tipped". This technique is common to the marine industry. A paint roller is used to apply the paint and is immediately "tipped" with a high quality paintbrush to eliminate roller marks. The bristle marks left by the brush then "lay down" with the liberal use of Penetrol, a brushing liquid that is added to the paint. Penetrol is the nectar of the Gods and gives the paint a silky, milky slick consistency. It is often measured with the "glug glug" method, more of an art than a science.
For instance:
 "Is it slick enough?"
"I don't know. Give me another glug."
"You got it."
"How bout now?"

Rosie's deckhouse with her thin first coat after hand sanding with 80 grit paper.

The deck is prepared for...yes...painting. I know. We hear it every day. We agree that it really is a shame to paint over that beautiful Douglas Fir, but the old girl needs to be protected. The deck is washed with a water hose, and then mopped with denatured alcohol to eliminate any other dust and dirt. It will only hurt for a minute. Then she'll look great!

Deck painting with flat oil based marine paint in process. The first coat is applied with a 12" roller, but is not tipped. The roller marks will just be sanded out anyway. Each coat is hand sanded with 80 grit paper. A daunting task at first, but actually rather peaceful and meditative in practice. It helps to have a smart phone, some computer speakers, and a rockin 80's mix to get your groove on. 

Rosie with her first full coat of white above the rubrail. Amazing what a transformation a few days of sunny springtime work can make!


  1. I love all the pictures of the Rosie Parks. Might be because my son Shane and his friend and fellow worker, Eric are in a lot of them! :>) It looks fantastic........Thanks for everyone's hard work. I hope to visit the Museum soon..........

  2. Its wonderful time for me to joined this superb informative post about boat preparation in proper manner which is really impressive one so I really thankful for sharing it.