Fairing and Sanding the Petrel

Here is where you start to see the beauty of the wood. The drips of glue get scraped off, the angles between strips get planed down and the wood gets sanded.


I use a heavy duty paint scraper with a long handle to remove the glue. This is sharp enough that it will actually remove a shaving of wood while I'm at it. It can jump and skip as well as dig in and gouge the wood. Watch the grain direction to avoid pulling out divots of wood.


A very sharp plane set up with a tight throat opening can shave a very fine curl off the wood even in difficult grain. A plane with a long foot will not cut a concave surface, this can be a good thing as it will only clip the tops off high spots. If you want to get into hollow areas, the spokeshave will cut nicely and offers a lot of control over how much wood you remove.

I am not trying to remove a lot of wood, primarily I am just knocking off the high spot between two strips.


Sanding is where most of the time is spent. Since I had a very good surface after planing I started with a fairly fine (100 grit) paper on my random orbital sander. The sander is hooked up to a vacuum to keep the dust under control. After sanding the whole surface with the power tool, I use the same grit to sand by hand. This serves to help eliminate sanding swirls caused by the random orbital. I am using contour pad on the power sander and a fairly soft block for the hand sanding. I found that with the flat grained strips I have in some places on the boat that the winter growth is fairly hard and becomes raised a bit with this sanding, so I went over the surface again with a hard block to level out the grain.

After this initial sanding I chose to wet down the wood. This raises the grain a bit and swells up any compressed spots from clamping or sanding and also makes any stray glue drips more visible.

I like to run my hand over the surface to inspect for irregularities. The human hand is very sensitive to even tiny differences in height and can detect high, low and rough spots quite effectively.

I sanded to 180 grit paper. At this point I could not see scratches and I didn't feel I was going to get a better looking finish with further sanding. I do not want to polish the surface too much, a little bit of roughness promotes good adhesion with the epoxy.