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How to paint a boat. Boat owner need not apply

Listed under Blog, Boats, colin taylor, Lee Simone, Richard Willott Posted Feb 17 2014

Have you heard the saying, painters wanted, boat owners need not apply? Colin Taylor’s account of how to paint a boat, a Cornish pilot gig, highlighted the disconnect between the beauty of the wooden boat structure and the beauty of the paint finishes applied by enthusiastic but unskilled owners.

This is his finished work.

Cornish pilot gig painted by Colin Taylor

Ask anyone who has painted a wooden boat and the common denominator comment is “It is extremely hard graft.” It was for Colin too, but worth it.

Richard Willott

Traditonal Painter in Suffolk for kitchen and furniture painting, left school and fell into a Norfolk Broads boat yard. Up to his elbows in anti-fouling bottom paint and varnishing, he soon learnt that being in a yard meant being open to learning all manner of maintenance and installation skills.

As a guide, a genuine shipwright was a bit more than a carpenter and joiner – the master who could build a complete sailing boat from a tree, cast their own fittings from a hunk of ore and ingots of brass, splice their own rope, blow their own glass…

So, in a similar vein, as well as polyurethane spraying bulkheads and polishing up lacquer with 2000 grit abrasives till they shone, Richard was changing out electric motors, repairing GRP gel coats, wielding power jets and whatever else colleagues needed a hand on.

Lee Simone

Lee is a decorative artist and kitchen painter based in Harrogate. He has had a few jobs connected to barges, working in tandem with a full-time barge painter in Staffordshire.

I have done some inside distressing work on a barge in the past and also some trompe L’oeil. Have pics of the trompe l’oeil but no pics of the distressing work I am afraid it was chaos with electricians and engineers when I left and it’s in Staffordshire.

It was clad in tulip wood throughout and I did a 2 tone distressed effect. Darker below the water line, lighter above. I also painted the kitchen in Little Greene oil egg, just prepped and painted it all like any project I would do. Was pretty challenging in terms of space mind!

Here’s the link to more on this trompe l’oeil.

trompe l'oeil on a barge

It was a bulk head wall in the bedroom. The wall was the only one without any real panelling, so I did some trompe l’oeil panelling and added the antique binoculars for a bit of fun.

The barge painter’s name is Tina Paramore but she doesn’t have a website, few bits and pics on the web though. She’s very well known on the waterways. The hand painted mural work is very traditional with castles and flowers ect and there’s a lot of ‘generic’ wood graining.

Andy Crichton

The restoration of a wooden boat – a 34′ Angelman ketch is documented here. Low tech cotton caulk, hi tech Epifane paint and lacquer, and a few hundred hours.

angelman painted

Hearkening back to what Colin said, the inescapable fact is that refurbishing boats and kitchens is hard and fernickety work. But at least a kitchen won’t sink the house if it isn’t done properly.

If you have any examples of where your painting skills have transferred seamlessly into the marine world, it would be interesting to read in the comments.



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