It’s called brightwork.

The time between this post and the last post was brought to you in part by Lola, who chewed through my computer power cord.  Thanks Lola!

Where was I? Oh yes, fixing the boat…

Not all the fairing went as nicely as the previous post would have you believe.  There were a couple of places (the ones I tried to fair, incidentally) that needed more compound glopped on to them then sanded off to make them level with the rest of the steel.  We bought a new sander since I broke the other one. I also broke our multi-tool using the sanding head attachment while trying to sand around a fiddly place.  Well, broke-ish.  I can’t get it to work anymore though Peter is able to. Go figure.

But, in the end, all the boat was smooth and beautiful.

What to do now? Well, according to my list of steps I should have slapped primer on the sanded fairing. Is that what I did? No. I decided to go ahead and “varnish” the wood outside. The wood (after it’s been fixed up) is called brightwork.  And I put “varnish” in quotes because varnish is what’s used on a classic boat. Varnish is the stuff that gleams and glints in the sun, causing passersby to exclaim how beautiful a boat is or cause other boaters to stare longingly if out under sail.

Here is a lovely picture of a beautifully varnished boat.  Thank you to this website for letting me lift (and making me feel like a total schlub.)

You may be guessing that I didn’t use varnish…and you would be correct. I don’t have time or patience for 6 coats. My boat is falling apart around me and I have to gently sand between each coat? Nope.

I used Cetol instead. Cetol is a wonderful product that only requires three coats to achieve a perfect finish (yay, half the time!) and requires no sanding in between coats (yay, less than half the time!). There are some do’s and don’ts for application that I ignored: don’t apply in direct sunlight,  do use a natural bristle brush, etc. I figured that our not-so-bright brightwork was in such bad shape that anything would be better than where it started.

We first sanded the teak toe-rail that runs the length of the boat on either side. I slapped Cetol on like there was no tomorrow.

Three coats later it looks loads better. It’s hard to tell from the “after” photo but trust me on this.

I Cetoled (made up words are the best!) all the wood on the outside of the boat. Sanding down, filling gaps, slapping 1, 2, 3 coats lickety-split.

A rubber band keeps the edge of the can clean. Thanks, Pinterest!

It really only took about a week, all told and I couldn’t be happier with the results! It’s not perfect, but that’s my fault, not the fault of the Cetol. Dear reader: follow instructions whenever possible.

In looking through my photos I realize that I have not documented the results of my work. Maybe because there’s so much left to do that it’s hard to see the brightwork light at the end of the tunnel.

TRIP (377)
Here’s a later picture of me when we went sailing with Peter’s parents. See the wood around the companionway? That’s how beautiful the rest of the brightwork is. The teak floor of the cockpit is simply sanded, but that’s a later post. Photo courtesy of Duane Reed.

6 thoughts on “It’s called brightwork.

  1. What’re ya doing there in that last photo, anyway, trying to keep Lola from jumping overboard? Is that her tail you’ve got hold of? If I were her, I’d be a bit more careful of my keister! It all looks beautiful, darlin! Love, Mom


  2. Lola !!!! Good job she’s cute 💕
    Loving your blog Debby. Happy New year.
    I look forward to reading all about your adventures.
    Be well
    Marija xxxx


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