water damage


Over the course of this past summer, a few areas of my 16LT's hull began to darken, and I'm concerned that water damage may be the cause. I refinished the hull last winter to repair some nasty gouges/scratches and I may have foolishly sanded too aggressively, breaking through the glass and exposing the wood (though later varnished) to water. Don't know what else could be causing these patches. Thoughts?

If, indeed, my hypothesis is correct, what measures need I take to protect these vulnerable areas from further damage?

I'm assuming that whatever steps I take (e.g., glass/epoxy/sand the areas?) will not restore the wood's original amber color, so (because aethetics matter to me) I will need to paint the hull to mask the damage.  Thoughts?

Many thanks in advance for any counsel y'all could provide.

Very best,


7 replies:

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RE: water damage

You have come upon the nemesis of epoxyglass  construction with the hopes of maintaining the wood aesthetic.  Any scratch on the surface must be attended to "immediately" otherwise water will penetrate and discolor the underlying wood; then you go in and try to repair, but you are sanding away a patina ( natural color change in wood that is exposed to sunlight or moisture) It will never be the same unless you have an artist temporment to slowly stain it back to the current color.  I go back to the beginning days of WEST system--coat with epoxy and varnish it and you won't have to worry about yearly varnishing.  I helped build a 28' sailboat--epoxied the cabin; as you sat in the cockpit you looked at this "primo" mahogny entry way to the cabin.  Didn't take care of the wear and scratches, sanded and revarnished--looked like a leopard skin--painted over it, or would have had to belt sand the whole thing.  Keep the wood aesthetic to the deck and paint the hull, unless you have a obsessive/compulsive personality 


RE: water damage

Thanks for the input, broadmargins.


So, if painting the hull is my only option at this point, will the application of paint seal & protect the wood that's been damaged to water exposure or do I need to further protect these discolored patches in some way before painting?




RE: water damage

Hey John...   Before you paint, you might try this.  Mix up some Oxalic Acid (powder) with warm water & try bleaching the wood.  It is true that no matter what you do, you will have "lost" the patena in that area but, with care, you might be able to restore the spot(s) back to am acceptical coplor match with brown shoe polish, the paste type.

If the bleaching works, then apply a fairly heavy layer of brown paste shoe polish.  Then, right away and using a terry cloth towel/rag, rub off the polish until you get the proper color.  Allow to dry, about 2 days, then varnish over the spots. 

If all else fails, you can always paint but. uggggggggg....     ~BRUCE~

RE: water damage

Bruce, many thanks for this.

Yeah. . .I really *don't* want to paint my boat (though in deference to those whovoluntarily went that route, painted-hull boats are very beautiful; I just prefer the "natural" look), but my first priority is not further damagaing my 16LT.

Suppose, I were to try your oxalic-acid-and-shoe-polish trick on the water-damaged bits and was able to come close to replicating the color of the rest of the hull. Will simply applying the shoe polish followed by 4-5 coats of varnish protect them from further water damage?  After all, these spots had been varnished (along w/ the rest of the hull) after my too-aggresive sanding last winter, and the varnish did *not* provide water protection. My cvoncern is that I'd simply be headed for repeated, and maybe worse, trouble unless I firgured out how to apply additional (other than varnish) protection.


Again, my thanks,


RE: water damage

I thought "paste" shoe polish has wax in it.  If so, how would the varnish adhere? 

RE: water damage

Paste shoe polish does have wax, but once it is COMPLETLY dry and rubbed out, all that is needed is a VERY LIGHT sanding, ...VERY LIGHT...  I have had great success with this process and, YES, as long as you keep the areas (and the rest of the craft) properly coated with varnish, it will NOT discolor again...     ~BRUCE~

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