With the Fall weather arriving this week and the smallmouth fishing starting to slow downI’m finally looking to getting started on some small projects I’ve been putting off.  I’m looking to start on refinishing both of the gunwales first. Looking at using some penetrating epoxy to help with the checking followed up with at least three coats of a quality varnish.  Any advice on this application or is their a better way to bring some new life into this project?

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Hi Derrick, I think you are on the right track. Sand off the old finish. Apply a penetrating epoxy. I like Smith’s Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer. Then varnish. 

Thank you Guy for the insight.  I’ve got some Smith’s on order and will be scraping and sanding this week until it arrives.  

For removing the old finish, I’ve had a lot of success with a heat gun and scraper. Takes some skill as not to burn the wood. But it works well once you get the hang of it. 

We we’re able to squeeze in about an hour of sanding in between ballet recital practice and dinner tonight.




Looks like you're on track, Derrick and have good help, too!  Make sure to buy her pizza for helping!!

I agree, would also have suggested either penetrating epoxy or warm regular epoxy slightly in the microwave..it's much lower viscosity when warm...but also cures faster.

Good point. 

FYI. This summer I used West epoxy (105 and 206)  in temperatures in the high 90’s and it really soaked into the plywood. It certainly acted like a penetrating epoxy. At those temperatures it will kick soon if left in the mixing cup. But once it’s spread out on the wood and fiberglass, you have more time. 

So I started with the gunwale repair and have made the decision to strip the entire interior and go ahead and epoxy and revarnish.  Lots of questions to come.  Thanks for all of the help and recommendations so far.


Any recommendations on what type or brand of caulk to use to repair both of my gear trays?


Thickened epoxy. :)

Thanks for the advice Shawn, just order some to repair the trays.


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