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What tools are necessary for a boat restoration?

Old 10-24-2020, 01:25 PM
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Default What tools are necessary for a boat restoration?

I've never taken on a restoration project, and don't currently have one, but want to go ahead and start collecting what I'll need now. My first project will be a 13 Whaler redo. Could be bought this year, could be in a few years.

Just curious what tools, clothing, gloves, etc will be needed? Sawzall, grinder, sander, tyvek suit, paint gun(s), etc??? I'd like to start collecting what I don't already have. TIA!
Old 10-24-2020, 02:17 PM
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I can start the ball rolling as I am in the midst of my first ever rehab project. Some tools I had and some I had to buy. Nothing wrong with that!

Angle Grinder with the stacked sandpaper pads and diamond cut-off wheels. The pads go through res/glass quickly depending on grit, but not too quick to get out of control. The wheel slices through and is good for relatively precise cuts.
Reciprocating saw. A little unwieldy, but good when imprecise cuts are needed.
Jig saw for those tight or precise cuts.
Drill with drill bits and screw driver bits
Circular saw
Dual action or random orbital sander with all sorts of grit paper.
1/2" belt sander to get in tight spots.
Rotary buffer/polisher
Shop vac
Disposable vinyl gloves. Lots and lots of disposable vinyl gloves. Get bigger than you think as once your hands are sweaty and the glove rips trying to get your hand into another is difficult if they are too tight.
Mixing cups. Lots and lots of mixing cups. Get the ones with the graduated markings on the side. Makes ratio mixing much easier.
Stir sticks
Acetone or denatured alcohol, wax/grease remover.
Cotton rags
Chip brushes. I have found 3" to be the right size for me.
Permanent marker
Level/straight edge
Scissors for cutting glass. Wiss are good for manual.
Tape measure
Tyvek suit
Eye protection
Ear protection
Mask with N95 at least cartridges. I thought about a full face mask, but figured it would fog up too easily. I went with the half face that covers the nose and mouth and it works great. I got N100 cartridges and I cannot smell a thing when wearing it. It seals around my face well.
Disposable face masks for non-lethal chemical or particle situations but still want some protection.
Work clothes. T-shirts get messed up quickly as will shorts/pants. Shoes too. I found some comfortable pleather shoes on Amazon for $18 that are my work shoes. They are covered in resin and I do not care.
Good lighting as well. A $20 LED shop light from Walmart makes it like daytime.
A big workbench. I made a 4'x8' table and spreading out the 50" glass is easy. I also made a roller stand to hold the full roll of 17 oz cloth. 175 pounds. I can pull whatever length I need right onto the table.

That should get you started. I am sure I missed things and others will have different ideas, but this is based on my experience so far. I have not got to painting yet so nothing to offer for that. I will be interested to see though.


Last edited by Locke N Load; 10-24-2020 at 02:20 PM. Reason: keep thinking of other things
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Old 10-24-2020, 02:24 PM
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Easy. A THICK check book!!
Old 10-24-2020, 06:39 PM
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I end up using the most random “tools”
sometimes to get boat projects done.
you got a pretty good list here going,
but don’t be afraid to think outside the box
to get-er-done!
Old 10-24-2020, 07:16 PM
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add an oscillating multi-tool to the list. pry bars, chisels.
Old 10-24-2020, 11:21 PM
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Thanks so far! I've got the usual tools one collects over the years...even one who isn't handy such as myself. Several Craftsmen sets, Milwaulkee drills (2), several sets of drill bits (with a cutter for fiberglass), Milwaulkee impact wrench, jack stands, hydraulic jack, saws (hacksaw, tree trimming pole saws, etc), drill press, work bench, measuring tapes galore, interior.exterior painting supplies (minus a spray gun), saw horses, mini heat gun, screwdrivers galore, vice grips galore, shop vac, etc, etc. All the things needed for around the house items and tools to fix my yard work equipment. I've just never acquired anything to rebuild a boat. I appreciate all this info more than y'all know. All the rebuild threads I follow have given me plenty of info on what materials to use. I was just unsure of what tools to use.
Old 10-25-2020, 07:07 AM
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I've killed one shop vac and one sander so far. I have all the tools and have pretty much used all the tools. My number one tool that I use is the compressor. And she's a biggun. If you plan on using air sanders (which you should) then you'll need air capacity and CFM. I also built a gantry which has been invaluable on several occasions.
Old 10-25-2020, 06:13 PM
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If you don’t have an angle grinder (or three) your not boat building.

Get a good DA orbital sander (Bosch) with a dust collector as well
Old 10-25-2020, 08:03 PM
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I spent 5 hours today using my 4.5" angle grinder switching back and forth between the sanding wheel and cut-off wheel. Plenty of time with the hammer, chisel and prybar too. I had removed the cuddy deck and today was the day to clean it up. All the foam, wet plywood, resin and loose glass are now gone. It looks like it snowed in my boat shed. I would love an air filtration system.
Old 10-26-2020, 09:51 PM
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Posted a few threads earlier in the summer. Asked questions about a Whaler as a bullynetter. I look about once a week for one. Just window shopping. I have a list of several nice ones, but need to sell my boat first. Waiting on a mechanic friend to fix one part. Then gonna have a local guy buff and wax the hull and topsides.Lastly, putting it back up for sale. Fixed a lot of things over the summer.

In the meantime, found this lil' beauty lastnight. WOW! It won't need a restoration anytime soon. However, it'd be a forever boat if it's still for sale when I'm ready to buy. So, one day, I will need to restore it.

Anyone know what a 90s model 40 Johnson, in a 15" shaft weighs? Or where do I find the weight online?
This looks like a similar year. I'm gonna guess the 180lb version is the 15" short shaft?
https://www.nadaguides.com/Boats/199...utboard-Motors


Old 10-27-2020, 09:21 PM
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Been through 5 sanders and 3 angle grinders on this restoration. Several chisels 2-3 oscillation saws. These are clutch players off the bench.
several fin rollers 4-6 Min.
a mini sledge, 24oz rip hammer, pry bars big and small
circular saw is a must
Infinite number of grinding wheels, flap disks, sand paper that can attach to grinder. Mixing cups, chip brushes, acetone, t Shirt rags.
30+ gallons of resin. 20-40 yds of csm, woven roving, 1708- total not each. Had to do transom, bulkheads, tabbing, make hatches, and add layer to thin areas.

ive used all kinds of tools in my arsenal:
miter saw
table saw
drill press
you name it, it’s been used.

After you get the essentials it’s crucial that improvise, adapt, and overcome. It does get easier. About the time you’re done. Stick with it!
Old 10-28-2020, 07:25 PM
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Another tool purchase today. Two heat lamps. 250 watt chicken coop style. I figure they will be good to keep an area warm overnight after glassing now that it is chilly out.
Old 10-28-2020, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Locke N Load View Post
Another tool purchase today. Two heat lamps. 250 watt chicken coop style. I figure they will be good to keep an area warm overnight after glassing now that it is chilly out.

don’t think he’ll have that issue in Key Largo, Lock.

I know I don’t. I may actually have to mix at 1.5-2% now. It gets down to 60’s at night in the “winter”.
Old 10-29-2020, 12:29 AM
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Even with the little work I have done, carbide blades are all the difference in cutting without melting away a sharp edge
Old 10-29-2020, 03:03 AM
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Hello, the most important thing is patience and second determination. In terms of tools, die grinder (air powered) is handy, if you can stretch to it a Fein tool (or similar), weedy tools will get broken in short time. A set of extractors is handy, including the bits for cutting out broken screws and the bits that cut new heads into screws that have the heads damaged. Lots of acetone, shop rags (recycle old towels and t shirts etc.), knee pads, a protective suit and mask, maybe ear protection. You will need a camera too, protective dust sheets, lots of different sanding discs and flap wheels, did I mention patience? If you are going to rewire the boat, you will need the appropriate cutters and crimpers, hope this helps.
Old 10-29-2020, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Xcomunic8d View Post
don’t think he’ll have that issue in Key Largo, Lock.

I know I don’t. I may actually have to mix at 1.5-2% now. It gets down to 60’s at night in the “winter”.
Nobody likes a bragger.











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Old 10-30-2020, 12:14 AM
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Ha! ^
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Old 10-31-2020, 06:21 PM
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I just finished a re- hab of a 12' Columbia skiff.
I used a DeWalt dual action circular sander attached to a DeWalt hepa vacuum. It really controlled the dust. Not as fast as an 11000 rpm grinder but it doesn't sling dust everywhere and saves a lot of cleanup.
Despite being slower, it also prevents gouges that need to be filled and faired later.
Old 11-02-2020, 10:03 PM
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Saw this meme tonight. Made me think of this thread.


Old 11-15-2020, 11:41 PM
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I feel pretty stupid asking this, with the meme I posted being right above this post, but gonna ask anyways. The Bosch in this pic, jigsaw?



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