Sanding Tips and photos are by Joel Terbrueggen

One technique is to start with a random orbital sander with 100 grit (120 grit can be used) which is good for fairing the hull sides and sanding the new bungs flush after chipping them off with a chisel.

Follow this sanding with 60, 80, maybe as high as 100 grit sanding by hand with the grain. Take your time and be sure to remove any swirl marks from the random orbital sanding.  A helpful hint is to LIGHTLY rub a pencil up and down (against the grain) on the hull sides. Then sand until the pencil lines are gone.  This assures you of not missing any area of the wood.

Another technique is to do all hand sanding. This is good because it gives you time to inspect the wood very carefully as you work. After stripping, sand the entire boat with 60 grit, followed by 80 grit, maybe as high as 100 grit.  As mentioned earlier, the pencil lines work well.  When a plank has been replaced and is surrounded by old wood, do not sand the new wood beyond the 80 grit. This leaves the new wood with more open grain to hold the stain, resulting in a closer color match to surrounding old wood.

Inline power sanding can also be used with the same 3 grits of sandpaper.  

Be careful not to sand off the boot top markings.

To keep residue from going into the bilge via the vent holes or any other large holes in the deck here is a good tip: Place a Styrofoam cup in the hole then trim the top to fit just below the deck surface. This will catch debris and is easy to replace if needed.

Tape joints to prevent cross-sanding scratches. These scratches may not be noticeable at this time but will be obvious when stain is being applied.


Longboards are a big help with sanding the sides and decks or I prefer the smaller one. Either one is available from Jamestown. A smaller sanding block is easily made from a piece of 2X4, then glue a piece of Scotch Brite onto the bottom.

Now that the sanding is completed it’s time to get ready to stain.

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.

Watch for more tips from Joel in the future. 

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

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