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Where do I stop with the varnish at the water line

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Re: Where do I stop with the varnish at the water line

Post by edward.desimone » Tue Jun 01, 2021 9:25 am

Reviving and old topic since I'm about to start the finish work on my '48 Deluxe and need to establish the waterline. I will be bleaching the boat next week, then scuffing, staining, sealing, and eventually varnishing. I'm slowly getting an idea of where the waterline is based on some of the pictures, but if anyone has direction on some formal measurements that would be helpful since I don't have anything original to use as a template. Second, when are folks establishing the waterline? Are you doing it before bleaching, staining, sealing and varnishing or alternatively after? Any help is greatly appreciated!

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Re: Where do I stop with the varnish at the water line

Post by tkhersom » Tue Jun 01, 2021 11:55 am

Almost hate to tell you this, but the best way to determine the water line is to float it. :D
Troy in ANE - Former President CCABC

1957 CC 21' Continental "Yorktown" (Mom's boat)
1985 Formula 242LS "Gottago"
1991 Formula 36PC "Band Aids"

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Re: Where do I stop with the varnish at the water line

Post by Don Vogt » Tue Jun 01, 2021 12:13 pm

Well, I am not totally sure about that. In our case, a 38, we replaced the original bottom, the pencil lines were still there. When launched the boot stripe was probably a couple inches above the “true” water line.

As for varnish, etc. I believe in general the bottom is painted first, and then the varnish comes down to that point?
1938 Chris Craft 17' Deluxe Runabout "Jennifer II"

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Re: Where do I stop with the varnish at the water line

Post by JimF » Wed Jun 02, 2021 9:30 am

I am going to agree with Troy here. If you have replaced the bottom with a 5200 or cold molded bottom the boat is going to float higher than it used to because it is lighter. It will not soak up a few hundred pounds of water. Paint the bottom to the chine while it is upside down. Turn the boat over. Then do all your planned steps of bleaching and staining, etc. but carry it down well below where you think the waterline will be. It is OK to go down to the chine. When you are finished varnishing put the boat in the water (with interior, engine, fuel tank etc.) and mark where the actual waterline is. Half an inch or so above that is the bottom of the boot-stripe. You do not want the boat to float with the white line actually in the water because it will get dirty quickly.

To make it easier to mark the waterline I place a piece of masking tape vertically at where I assume the waterline will be at each side of the bow and at the aft corners. Before I launch I mark the tape with 1/4" lines (like a ruler). Then I can just note where the water hits and make a note on a pad. When I pull the boat out I mark the correct spots with a Sharpie.

Back in the shop I level the boat so that the fore and aft marks are the same distance from the floor. A laser level will connect the marks and you can mark dots along the line. While not quite as accurate you can measure up from the floor every foot or two. Stretching masking tape across those dots should give you a straight line. Paint your bottom paint up to the line and your boot top above it.
1930 Chris-Craft Model 100 20' "MOXIE"
1940 Chris-Craft Red and White 25' "Old Paint"
1946 Chris-Craft Sportsman 25' "CinCity"

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