Louis Sauzedde, The Master Shipwright


We hope you have been following along with Louis Sauzedde as he builds the TotalBoat Work Skiff. We have been publishing the mostly weekly videos in this space, and announced last weekend that we are moving the blog posts to our new TotalBoat.com blog page. We hope you’ll follow us there and continue to find great boating and boatbuilding news in this space. Continue reading

New Oars for The Small Reach Regatta – By Richard Honan

Our Spring 2016 catalog featured Richard Honan, boatbuilder and signmaker and – as it turns out – rower extraordinaire. Richard has been building boats for years and we have blogged about his amazing accomplishments many times in this space. Richard has a serious following of jealous friends and he often sends them all email updates when he does something cool or builds something he is proud of (most everything he touches is worthy).DSCN3436

So when Richard told us he was heading to the Small Reach Regatta in Herrick Bay (home of Wooden Boat in Brooklin), we were thrilled to hear his newly fashioned oars were yet another TotalBoat project of his. These gorgeous oars were no afterthought and as Richard told us, he coated them with “TotalBoat Lust Varnish, my new favorite varnish.” Read on as Richard explains how he repurposed some old oars he had on hand for the Melonseed skiff he built and was planning to use for this fun regatta.  Continue reading

How to Varnish – Advice From The Pros & Supplies from JD

When we came across this article from Cruising World Magazine with tips from our customer and friend at Makai (Pro yacht painting! No website, no ads – no need! He’s a busy guy!, Mike Fletcher, we thought there might be a good collection of you varnishing these days in preparation for an early spring and launching your boat.

Since Tips from A Shipwright also offers great tips on how to varnish – we pinned this great video from Lou right down here to give you a visual reference to lots of what Mike is referring to. Lou is using our TotalBoat Gleam Varnish in the Gloss Finish (Sorry – Satin is out of stock right now) and he spells out exactly how to prepare the wood, thin the Gleam and then apply multiple coats.

Mike Fletcher’s advice, as compiled by CW Editor, Elaine Lembo, is below the video and is a very complete list of what you’ll need and how to get going for a killer finish on all your brightwork this spring.

Enjoy the advice from two top yacht painters.


From http://www.cruisingworld.com/how/how-varnish

Gleaming brightwork is the eye candy that sets hopeless romantics dreaming about setting off over the horizon in a classic boat. But I know that transforming those fantasies involves a lot of work; with my partner, Capt. Rick Martell, I’m the co-owner of the 1935 Crocker ketch Land’s End.

The reality is that varnish takes steadfast maintenance. If you’d rather spend more time sailing than sanding, a hull constructed of modern materials with brightwork accents — deck boxes, companionway washboards, grab rails — may be the more practical way to go (apologies to Capt. Rick). Or choose from among finishes that lend a snappy look to wood trim but involve less work. Heads will still turn and you’ll be able to boast about the miles in your wake, too.

To get some basic pointers on proper varnish procedures, I sought out the advice of a professional varnisher. Michael Fletcher, of the yacht refinishing company Makai in Bristol, Rhode Island, cares for the likes of the Bruce King-designed White Hawk, the Herreshoff NY 50 Spartan and the W. Starling Burgess-designed Chips.

If anyone knows what it takes to keep tabs on a special fleet, it’s Mike. If the high-luster look is what you’re after, read on for his advice on how to turn your woodwork into artwork. Continue reading

Varnish Testing Over Lunch

For the next 24 months, the TotalBoat testing team’s varnish test will be dining al fresco, soaking up UV rays from the sun, getting snowed on, rained on and generally abused by lunch bags, water bottles and probably a few butts, too. The picnic table varnish test is underway and on Friday the team dragged the completed table outside of the JD lunchroom and set up shop for a lunch party. It was a celebration of the great idea and the forthcoming years of the table’s demise.


We applied 5 coats of 9 different varnishes after initially coating the nasty pine with TotalBoat Penetrating Epoxy to really seal it well and protect against the elements. However, as we all know – nothing beats wood protection like varnish with UV inhibitors and we picked the top selling varnishes and put them against our own top varnishes. And now it’s in the hands of the gods as time and weather and lots of rays do their best to beat down the layers.


At the very least it has been a great way to compare the different tints, the different “glosses” of each and the ease of flow and application of each one. We each have favorites. But which will outperform the others? Only time will tell and we plan on taking a monthly photo of the table to document how each panel fares.

IMG_8391     IMG_8254

Stay tuned and place your bets in the comments below. Which varnish will win the test?

Here is the complete list of the varnishes we applied to the table:

TotalBoat Marine Wood Finish: Natural Teak
Sikkens Cetol Marine Natural Teak
TotalBoat Gleam Marine Spar Varnish
TotalBoat Lust High Gloss Marine Varnish
TotalBoat Envy High Gloss 2-Part Varnish
Interlux Perfection Plus Two Part Varnish
Petit Captain’s Varnish
Epifanes Woodfinish Gloss
Epifanes CV (Clear Varnish)

Come to the EPIFANES Demo Day – Nov. 13

If you use varnish, most likely you have wondered about what the best methods are for a beautiful finish. Wonder no more! Come to the half-day, hands-on workshop at Jamestown Distributors. We have invited the pros from Epifanes in to the Total Boat Workshop to show us how it’s best done.

The Epifanes pros plan to put an emphasis on using the 2 part Poly-urethane and how to roll and tip, but will also cover other topics having to do with refinishing your wood with varnishes.

Sign up with hillarys@jamestowndistributors.com and come for some free breakfast and lunch and a great session at JD.  Don’t wait to enroll! Space will go fast!


Varnishing Beetle Cat Spars with LUST Varnish

Because we are a company of DIY boaters around here, when we set out to develop a new varnish to add to our line of TotalBoat products, we had some pretty serious requirements. The first was easy – to develop the very best one part, high gloss varnish possible. We work long hours and prefer to spend our time on the boat, not applying coats of varnish between tedious sanding sessions.

TotalBoat LUST Varnish is just what we were after: A revolutionary one-part varnish that looks great and can withstand Florida, Rhode Island, California, etc salt spray and sunshine while not taking more time to maintain than installing all new teak pieces! We all know a proper varnish job can take upwards of 20 hours to complete, which is why often this was a job best left to the professionals.

Then came Lust. With a beautiful warm, rich, amber finish, Lust is the first true one part marine varnish that allows multiple coats in one day, without sanding between coats. In ideal conditions, you can apply up to 5 coats in one day without ever sanding. These Beetle Cat Spars had 4 coats applied on day one, and on day 2, after a light sanding to take down the high spots and find the holidays, we went back for another 5 coats. The build was beautiful, it laid flat and self-leveled and the grain was looking clear and sharp through the amber color.

If you want to cut corners – and we don’t – then grab one of those marine finishes – the varnish look-alikes with extra pigments and dyes to replicate a fine varnish job. But know that there is no substitute for a great build of beautiful varnish, and you can tell who puts in the time and who cuts the corners. Lust is the ideal replacement for your other varnishes. With the excellent UV inhibitors built in, it can stand up to fish blood, mooring lines, jib sheets and plenty of salt and sun: the enemy to many finishes.


The TotalBoat team is pleased with the product feedback, we are super pleased with the results on our own boats and we are on the case to develop more revolutionary products that make boat ownership and maintenance more about using and enjoying the boat and less about toiling over the tedious jobs that plague boat owners.

Try it out and let us know what you think! We welcome your feedback!



Stripping For Varnish

Lou Sauzedde, the Tips from a Shipwright mastermind, is back at it with some good tips on how to get your wood back down to bare grain in preparation for varnishing. Tis the season to lay on multiple coats, and whether you start from bare wood or not – preparation is key for adding coats for good UV protection in the sun and marine environment.

Lou covers how to remove stubborn spots and the various steps of surface prep before you are ready to lay down your varnish. Watch and learn from Lou!

Spring Commissioning Special – Part 2 – VARNISHING


Get Ready for Spring!
Varnishing weather will come eventually. (promise!) Make sure that you are prepared when it finally returns. Here are some some great varnishing how-to videos to help get you ready. They are packed with tips and pointers on how to varnish like a pro.

Here is a playlist of 4 varnishing videos from our new TotalBoat YouTube channel.

We have loaded the playlist with varnishing videos about cleaning your brushes, how to prep for varnish and how to apply varnish. It can be a tricky job – but the TotalBoat experts from Jamestown Distributors have been advising people for years on how to best apply coats and get the desired results. If you have questions about certain brands or products, application issues, or anything else pertaining to your varnish job, the Tech Help and Call center experts are ready to assist you.

You can find all your VARNISH needs on our website. From brushes to rollers and strainers, tack cloths, tapes and your favorite varnishes – we have everything you need. And we even have an amazing new varnish product JUST released: LUST! Our new TotalBoat Lust High Gloss Varnish can be overcoated in one hour and you can apply up to 5 coats in ONE DAY!  TotalBoat has been developing and testing LUST for over a year and the reviewers are thrilled with the results. Get on board and try it out. Then go to the Lust page on our JD.com website and let us know what you think about it in a review.



Spring Commissioning with TotalBoat – Part 1: BOAT REPAIR


The winter was unkind to many of our boats and plans for a tidy and possibly even early? spring commissioning. Around here, snow banks are finally almost a distant memory and any day over 40 degrees feels like a heat wave. So gentlemen and women – start your sanders… time to get down to business and tick off the projects on your spring commissioning  list.

TotalBoat Show is ready to help with the full support of our award winning customer support team and help line. Daily we get accolades from pleased customers raving about how knowledgable and helpful our call center and tech help hotline are. And we work hard to learn about and try every product we can to give you – the customer – the best advice out there for jobs that aren’t always knocked off as easily as the instruction manual might lead you to believe.

Continue reading

Tips for Cleaning Your Varnish Brushes

Hopefully you are ready to lay some coats of varnish on your boat’s woodwork in preparation for spring launching. Any good varnisher will tell you that you need a good brush for great varnish jobs and it would be wasteful to use a new brush for each coat. With proper care of a good brush you can make it last beyond just one project. So spring for that badger brush and watch this video about how to care for it to make it last!

Lou has been really pleased with the TotalBoat Gleam Spar Varnish and has been using it with success for a few years now. If you have yet to try it out – now is a great time. It has great UV resistance and is available in clear or satin finish. Be a TotalBoat Gleam Varnish fan like Lou and check it out!