How to take care of the wood of your boat on a low budget

Whether it is an entirely wooden boat, or with only some details in this material, taking care of the wood of your boat is something quite important for it to look good. Luckily, in this article we will tell you about the treatment we have given to OLIV’s woods after more than 7 years of been neglected under the sun. Are you interested? Keep reading!

First of all, sanding

The first thing you should do before performing any treatment on the wood of your boat is to sand. You can do it with sandpaper, like us, or with an electric sander. Sanding will allow you to remove any surface layer of soil that may be present, as well as to polish imperfections and remove the remains of previous varnishes that may remain.

With the well sanded surface you can “throw” any product on it, and it will grip the wood well. In this way the result will be much better than if you simply painted on top of what is there.

In the case of using an electric sander, which was not our case, it is advisable to use a sander that sucks the remains in its own bag, and accompany the work with suitable PPE, such as a mask and glasses, to avoid that the sawdust remains can cause problems on your eyes or airways.

Repair imperfections with wood paste

Sometimes the wood is missing “pieces”, either from screws that have been removed, knocks, or just wear of some kind. No problem! Today there is a product called “wood paste”, “wood filler” or “wood putty” that allows you to repair these kind of imperfections quite well.

In addition, this product comes in a multitude of colors, so whatever color it is, you will find one that matches the color of your wood. Well done, even the largest of the gaps can be hidden in the way, making it not noticeable that it was there. If the hole you are trying to cover is really large, one trick is to insert a piece of wood into it to fill in the gap, and then cover the rest with wood paste to seal it.

Protect the area you are going to paint / varnish

Once you have sanded the entire surface, and plastered the necessary, it’s time to prepare to paint. To do this, you must cover everything that you do not want to be painted, in our case we use masking tape and old newspapers for this purpose.

Masking tape, or painter’s tape, is a special type of tape that is used in painting jobs because it has enough strength not to fall, but it is also easy to remove once it has been finished, without lifting the paint below. It’s ideal for separating pieces of different colors that are together, so that they don’t get stained by painting one and the other. In our case we use it so as not to drop the varnish on the boat.

Varnish respecting the times

Once all of the above is done, it’s time to varnish! The wood of the boats can be given different treatments:

On this occasion we have opted for a nautical varnish for extreme conditions, which includes UV protection. This product allows us to protect the wood both from the effect of salt water and the sun, giving an incredible result.

According to the manufacturer of the varnish that we have used, the pieces must wait at least 5 hours until they can be manipulated. It is important to leave these times to avoid finger stains on the wood, and you end up spoiling all the work by being in a hurry.


Wood is very grateful when it comes to varnish, and dedicating a little time and love to it can achieve quite a radical change. In addition, the maintenance of the wood is essential so that it lasts and does not continue to spoil by the sun and humidity, two factors to which it’s totally exposed in a boat.

If you follow the steps that we have explained in this content, your wood will be happy, and so will you. I hope you found this article useful.

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