How to Make Boatbuilding Wood Totally Waterproof

Written by matt vietri
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How to Make Boatbuilding Wood Totally Waterproof
(motor boat. power boat image by L. Shat from

Whether you're restoring a boat you've just purchased or putting the finishing touches on a newly handcrafted vessel, the final and most important stage is waterproofing the hull. This process can take anywhere from five to 10 days, but in the end you can be confident that your boat is ready for the water.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Veneered marine plywood
  • Paintbrush
  • Waterproofing epoxy
  • Hardener
  • Clean rags
  • Marine based paint
  • Glass bowl
  • Sandpaper

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  1. 1

    Wipe down both sides of your veneered marine plywood with a clean rag.

  2. 2

    Shake the epoxy can to properly mix the glue and remove the lid. Mix the epoxy and the hardener in a glass bowl.

  3. 3

    Using the paintbrush, thoroughly fill the holes and cover the joints with the epoxy and allow it to dry for three hours. Apply a second coat. Allow it to dry for three hours more and then apply a third coat. After the third and final coat, allow the boat to sit untouched for five to six days.

  4. 4

    Sand the bottom and all the sides of the boat.

  5. 5

    Using the second paintbrush, paint your boat. Apply two coats of paint and allow six to eight hours for the paint to dry. Apply a third and fourth coat of paint.

Tips and warnings

  • Be sure to let the wood sit for five days after you apply the final coat of epoxy/hardener mix. This will give the wood the proper amount of time needed to harden.
  • When selecting a hardener be sure to research the proper kind as they are region and climate specific. Failure to do so can result in poor bonding.
  • Do not put any added weight to the wood while its drying. The can cause cracks in the bonding and lead to leakage down the road.

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