Article and Photos by Joel Terbrueggen

This article is to let you know that you should not underestimate the usage of superglue in finish repairs. I like to use both the Thin and Medium viscosity along with the Accelerator to speed up the curing process to instantaneous.

Here are some instances that I have found this product very helpful. 

– A split at a screw hole or in a plank can be an eyesore and cause wood issues if water can enter that split. 

– If the area has not been stripped and just some maintenance coats of varnish are being applied try this.  

  • – Apply a bead of medium super glue to the split and spread with a thin blade putty knife or my preferred tool of choice is a plastic hotel room key or expired credit card. (These are great for any scraping on varnish since they rarely damage the finish)
  • – Spray with accelerator to hasten the cure.
  • – Sand as normal and varnish. If multiple coats of varnish are applied to a small area, move the tape out about ½” before each coat. This will reduce the ridge that will be necessary to feather out and buff when completed.

– On wider gaps, you may want to tape off the area first with 3M #218 Fine Line Tape. I like the #218 for this because it is very thin and will leave a much smaller ridge.

– On hullsides, the Medium Viscosity is a better choice to avoid runs. After sanding for the next varnish coat, apply the Medium Viscosity Super Glue, spread with the plastic scraper, spray with accelerator, sand, then varnish.  

– How often have you had a “Dent” or depression on your deck?  This trick works well there also. If you are not planning to varnish the decks, spot varnish the repair then buff the area. It’ll look better than the depression on in the middle of the deck. 

This next tip is not meant as a permanent fix but will get you through a summer or two.

– Sometimes I have encountered “Lifting” varnish. You shouldn’t ignore this because water will get under the varnish, cause more lifting, and/or and darken the wood. So now you have a dilemma: 1 – Scrape and refinish the area, 2 – Refinish the whole side/deck/boat. Here is where the Thin Super Glue may work for you. If the bubble of lifting varnish is not broken, then use a razor blade to cut a slit in the bubble. Apply some thin Super Glue and watch as it quickly wicks under the varnish. This will seal the area and not allow the water to penetrate. You may have to tape off the area and apply a coat of varnish.  

– Sometimes you may need to color a scratch. A Minwax Red Oak Stain Marker works well for small fixes. This trick has worked well as a quick repair for the scratch just incurred at the ramp as you are about to head to the slip for the show. Keep one of these markers in the boat or car. You might even get by without varnish or buffing.  

Please keep in mind that some of these tips may not be for long-term repairs but can get you through the season or until you have the time to make proper repairs. 

Joel Terbrueggen is a member of the Ohio Valley Chapter of ACBS. He has presented many restoration lessons which are available in the Video Library available on our ACBS Members Only site under the Resources tab.  Joel also donated his extensive library of cataloged photos taken as he performed surveys on antique and classic boats over a 16 year period.  These are also in the ACBS Members Only site under the Resources tab.  Joel Terbrueggen currently does much of the wood restoration on boats at the Motor Boat Garage in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Have you kept a log of the restoration of your boat?  Please share it with some pictures.  

 Click here to submit pictures OR news from your chapter events.

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