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Old 05-09-2019, 11:43 AM   #1
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Bright Work Cost?

The bright work on our (new to us) boat needs some TLC. It will need to be taken down to bare wood and then varnished. There is not all that much bright work on our '98 GB52. The main areas are the transom (15'x4'), the cap rails (120') and 1" wide trim around the house (100'). I'm getting some quotes but have no basis to compare. What would be a reasonable quote?
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Old 05-09-2019, 11:49 AM   #2
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I dont know but have you asked in your quotes for a set number of coats and specified the product? One venders quote maybe be for 5 coats and another 10 coats. Not all varnishes are created equal. Id also ask for references. Please keep us posted.
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Old 05-09-2019, 11:58 AM   #3
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That might not sound like much to you but it is many, many hours of work. Better start saving now. Or else learn how to do it yourself. It's not rocket science.
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Old 05-09-2019, 03:09 PM   #4
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At least 5 boating units and probably more like 10

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Old 05-09-2019, 04:09 PM   #5
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At least 5 boating units and probably more like 10

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More like $10 based on our experience with the same project on a much smaller GB....A good DIY job if you have the time as it is mostly labor.
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Old 05-09-2019, 07:17 PM   #6
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Now I see why there's so much complaining about varnishing.
There's people that actually don't do it themselves.
Yup that would cost a bundle.

Rebecca Whitman says 8 coats minimum. Two more if your varnish is thin.
She wrote the book "Brightwork" "The Art of Finishing Wood". Generally considered the varnishing bible.
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Old 05-09-2019, 07:26 PM   #7
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Bright Work Cost?

Id be doing it myself cost of materials and tools. One of the few things I can do...but then the rest of the boat gets in the way!

Oh! And while were at it, whos doing the cut polishing and waxing?

Chuckle!

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Old 05-09-2019, 09:04 PM   #8
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In Seattle, I would expect to pay $80-110 an hour. I would consider taking the boat to Canada. The labor rate there will be closer to $50-60 US.

For our old 42, we were quoted $25k for everything. We got most of that for $13k in Sidney.
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:11 PM   #9
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Now I see why there's so much complaining about varnishing.
There's people that actually don't do it themselves.
Yup that would cost a bundle.

Rebecca Whitman says 8 coats minimum. Two more if your varnish is thin.
She wrote the book "Brightwork" "The Art of Finishing Wood". Generally considered the varnishing bible.
I have that book in the wheel house with me right this moment.
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:25 PM   #10
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Do it yourself. If you have brightwork you gotta like varnishing!
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:27 PM   #11
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I am tired of varnishing so I am working my way to painted teak. So far I love the look of it.
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:39 PM   #12
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Varnish work is not as easy as painting latex paint folks. But depending on the condition of the wood as it relates to the grain, if the wood has been left to its own vices for a while can create double the amount of prep work before you begin to seal it.

And if you don't know how to use a hook scraper on small parts too, you can create a nightmare. And paint stripper can cause some serious damage on your painted or gelcoat surfaces.

So while your initial quote may be outlandish to someone not familiar with the going rate, hiring it out can actually end up being cheaper if this is your first rodeo, IMHO. But make sure to ask for references and then ask the boat owner was the job done in an expedited manner as weather permitted and even how long the job has held up. And ask what type of varnish was used.

There is some excellent sealers out there that can speed up the process before applying varnish. And by all means do not let anyone talk you into building up with epoxy either. And Epiphanes is twice as thick and a bit more expensive, but builds up faster in the process and holds up longer, especially in the northwest area of the country.. Make sure you get enough finish on your wood that it fills the grain.

This makes varnish last longer, as the varnish does not break down with the changes of temps and sun rays allowing the grain to crack the finish work that does not show a completely smooth surface.
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Old 05-09-2019, 10:36 PM   #13
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I'd like to do it myself eventually but it would be nice to start of with a good baseline. The quote I'm getting here in Canada is about $7.5K US includes 10 coats of Awlwood & primer. 110 hours estimated.

I'm pretty handy but varnishing is not my forte. I refinished the teak board for the hailing port on the transom. It took me three days and the results were just barely acceptable. I had to fire myself.
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Old 05-09-2019, 11:57 PM   #14
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I took the easy way out and moved to a boat with only about 2 sq ft of exterior wood (a frame on a hatch). That quote sounds about right in terms of time and cost/hour depending upon starting condition. On the other hand doing the math that is about $2k-$2.5k/week which is a pretty good annual wage. Just proves that you don't have to have a college education to make a decent living.
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Old 05-10-2019, 12:39 AM   #15
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Awlwood is what I am using now. Expensive but reported to have long wear.
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Old 05-10-2019, 06:01 AM   #16
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"I am tired of varnishing so I am working my way to painted teak. So far I love the look of it."

Folks that prefer to cruise rather than join "the coat a month" club can easily do so.

The trick is to varnish the existing bright work with a number of layers of varnish , use a paint primer and then 2 coats of your favorite brown paint.

Will look good with little effort for years , and if varnishing is the hobby of the next owner , stripping the wood to the old varnish is easy , as paint has not filled the pores of the wood.
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Old 05-10-2019, 08:41 AM   #17
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Here in the northeast we have some very nice and industrious Jamaicans that will do (professional) quality work for $25.00 per hour and lunch now and then. You supply the material. I have been very satisfied.
Look around. Don’t be afraid to ask them for a business card if you see them working on someone else’s boat or yacht.
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Old 05-10-2019, 08:45 AM   #18
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Mine was 30k for strip, sand, stain and awlwood finish. Seeing how many hours it took I understand why it cost so much...
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Old 05-10-2019, 09:07 AM   #19
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Quote:
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Awlwood is what I am using now. Expensive but reported to have long wear.
Wear and long life aren’t the same.
I varnished a cockpit coaming almost 20 years ago and it’s still in good condition. Just used some thinned precoats with turpentine and my usual high quality brand of high oil varnish.

Put that same varnish on the cap rail where we get aboard and it would suffer from foot scuffing and need to be recoated every year.

Most of the hard coatings are thin. But if you’re doing a wood floor you need a hard finish. But on a boat flexibility is more important than hardness. The most demanding spots are at joints like on a cap rail. When you see black at the joints (that’s typical) it means hull flexing has pulled the varnish film apart and then water enters and rot follows.
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Old 05-10-2019, 09:11 AM   #20
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PO had the brightwork on my boat completely redone, including windows rebedded. I have the receipts and if I remember correctly it was something like $25-30K. The plus side of this is it was all in great condition when I bought the boat and have kept it up - which is much much easier than starting over.


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