Reply by woodboatal

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Posted on 1952 Chris Craft Riviera

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4 posts in 2710 days

#1 posted 07-10-2011 09:08 PM

Hi, I’m new to the site, saw this post via Google Alerts and just joined. I’m a novice woodworker and a fan of old wood boats as well.

Your best resource for information regarding refinishing your Chris-Craft Riviera would be the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club. Their Forum is loaded with subjects on refinishing varnish, deck seams, etc. Marine finishes are quite unique, being normally exposed to the elements.

The deck seams are usually done with a caulk that cures to a rather hard finish but many use a white polyurethane, some use polysulfide (softer). It’s often striped with white marine paint if it is applied prior to varnishing. The varnish leaves a yellow or gold tint that some don’t like.

As someone mentioned, Marine Varnish has UV additives but the additives in even the best brands break down fairly quickly in the sun and must receive maintenance coats frequently. As with many multi-layer coats of finish, it needs to be sanded in the process of building up several coats to keep it level and mirror-like. Depending on personal taste, this could be 8 to 12 layers over time. As someone mentioned the varnish will conform to the wood grain as it fully cures over time.

If this Riviera has decent varnish now, no sealer will be needed. Work the surface carefully with 320 grit, clean and start varnishing. If the finish is beyond this (has bare stained wood) I would suggest stripping the finish down to bare mahogany (Philippine Mahogany), staining, sealing and varnishing. Note the Riviera has some blond wood that doesn’t get stained. The rest of the wood should be stained using Interlux Interstain #573 Chris-Craft Mahogany. It’s the proper color for any Chris-Craft built following WWII.

Hope this may help a little.


-- Al

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