revarnishing and weather spots


I have a question about revarninshing. My father built me a CLC kayak (not sure of the model, about 15ft long, recreational use bat) as a Christmas present for me when I was only 10 years old. That was 12 years ago and the boat is still in great shape but it's time for some revarnishing. My main question is what to do about numerous spots along the rub rails where the varnish wore away and the wood (white oak) weathered. I have sanded and sanded and sanded some more, all by hand, with 100 grit paper which I feel has been pretty aggressive. The finish sanded away relatively easily but there are still many weather spots and I am afraid that if I just leave them alone and varnish over them it will look terrible and half assed. I should note that I am having the same issue with the rim around the cockpit (also white oak). So I'm open to suggestions. I'm wondering if there is a product out there that can penetrate the weathered spots and clear them out or even a wood bleach. I am very hesitant to go with a more aggressive grit paper or a power sander because I don't want to risk the shape of the rails. Any thoughts? Most of you guys probably have a better idea than me! Thanks for reading.


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RE: revarnishing and weather spots


As you're finding out, getting rid of dark weather spots can be tough.  Over time they get pretty deep into the wood.  You could try using a scraper, or even a block plane, rather than sandpaper; depends on how deep you want to go.  You can bleach the wood; there are specific wood bleaches or you can use regular laundry bleach.  Just be sure you rinse all of it off before applying a finish.  To be honest, I've tried it on oak and the results were marginal.  The spots lightened but were still visible.  I decided that my boat has done yeoman's service and a few dings and warts are just bages of honor.  Made me fel better, anyway.

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