rudder and dagger board

Sunfish Wood Restoration

By Don Gutzmer

During the fall of 2016, I took a technical call from a customer who owned a Sunfish Sailboat. He lived in the area and was looking for help repairing a few minor gel coat cracks and restoring his wooden dagger board and rudder. I told him I would be happy to help because this would be a good opportunity to write an article about using WEST SYSTEM 105 Resin and 207 Special Clear Hardener for the wood restoration part of his project. The mahogany dagger board and rudder had weathered over the years because of only being varnished.

Rudder before work began

To remove all the varnish I used 100-grit sandpaper on an orbital sander, then sanded by hand with 120-grit sandpaper parallel to the grain. After everything was sanded a shop vacuum helped remove any remaining sanding dust.

WEST SYSTEM 105 Resin and 207 Special Clear Hardener were used to provide the clear natural wood finish. The epoxy was rolled on the surface with an 800 Roller Cover and tipped off by dragging a section of roller cover over the wet epoxy to remove air bubbles and roller marks; this method is called rolling and tipping.

Rudder and dagger board sanded and the first coat of epoxy being applied.

The epoxy was re-coated every three to four hours to build-up three coats on each side. One side was done each day. To make sure the epoxy coating was smooth and flat, a single-edged razor blade was used at a slight angle to scrape the surface. The razor blade would only remove the high spots of the epoxy. Then the epoxy coating was sanded dull with 220-grit sandpaper. Two coats of Captain’s Varnish 1015 provided the final finish.

After 3 coats of epoxy were applied

The customer was very pleased with the results of the finished boards.

rudder and dagger board

The finished rudder and dagger board