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The WoodenBoat School

Marine Painting and Varnishing

The art and science of finishing prep work to final coat.


Tuition: $800

Note: This is a five-day course ending Friday evening.

Painting a boat is not simply a matter of opening a can and dipping in a brush—especially if you want the job to look decent and last well. Marine finishing requires a lot of careful preparation, good technique, and an understanding of a bewildering array of products.

Gary Lowell packs a great deal into this one-week course. He starts with the preparation of the surface—the key to a fine finish. Too many good coats of paint do little more than emphasize a rough hull, and too many fine hulls have been damaged by the misuse of power tools. You’ll work with a variety of grinders, sanders, and scrapers on a variety of wooden boat parts. You’ll develop the feel needed to make these tools work for you, not against you.

You’ll examine the whole smorgasbord of currently available finishing products—strippers and primers, additives and thinners, enamels and epoxies, antifouling paints (both traditional and high-tech)), varnishes and oils, etc. You’ll discuss how to pick the right product, and how to apply it. You’ll learn about different types of brushes and rollers, and the techniques of masking and cutting in, striking a boot top, and keeping a wet edge. And you’ll practice how to artfully coordinate the tools and techniques as you paint and varnish the boats on hand, or possibly your own.

You’ll also learn how to protect yourself from the potentially harmful dusts and chemicals involved in this work. Gary will show you how to get a beautiful finish and stay healthy at the same time.

This is a very worthwhile course for boat owners or anyone else who would like to make a good boat shine.


WoodenBoat School, 41 WoodenBoat Lane, PO Box 78, Brooklin, Maine 04616 USA
Tel: 207-359-4651, Fax: 207-359-8920

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