Should we paint the bottom of our boat?

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Master Pine Head
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Should we paint the bottom of our boat?

Post by PWD » Tue Oct 17, 2006 7:35 am

Or should we just leave it wood and put wax on it? Somewhere on the Internet I read the best is to leave it unfinished.

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Location: Idaho Falls, ID U.S.A.

Re: Should we paint the bottom of our boat?

Post by 42n8k9 » Tue Oct 17, 2006 8:22 am

Here in Idaho we cross-country ski, and a ski shop would have many types of ski wax, for all temperatures and all types of snow. It's sometimes applied in layers, with the hardest covering the entire ski bottom, then a softer wax under the toe, or "kick" area to provide "grab" when kicking the power stroke. I would think that with a hard wax and a hair dryer, one could build up a good coat of wax to waterproof the hull. Should darken the wood somewhat, but also should look good at the same time. Any decoration of the hull should probably be done first, as the wax won't take felt pens or paint, etc, after it's on. Good luck. :) "Advice is's the taking of it that could be expensive"

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Re: Should we paint the bottom of our boat?

Post by IndyMustang » Fri Nov 23, 2007 2:49 pm

We use a coat of clear RTV silicone with great success. It promotes floating and thus planing.


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Re: Should we paint the bottom of our boat?

Post by Teeeman » Tue Nov 27, 2007 3:58 pm

Our one and only Raingutter…

we found weight to be critical to good performance.

A simple Styrofoam boat waaaay outperformed our balsa wood constructed catamaran.

We tested quite a few different ideas… ultimately, weight was king.

I mean featherlight weight!

I don’t know what your rules allow… since I effectively got to write our rules, I made darn sure there was no restriction on boat material.

We had a Styrofoam hull, flat-bottom single piece design… and water-based clear coated printer paper for a sail (this way you can print a pattern on it).

If we ever try this again (no race this year, and my son is moving on to Boy Scouts…)…

I would want to try adhering a film of plastic food wrap to the bottom of the styrofoam hull… I’d have to weigh it all though…

we’re talking grams, not ounces for the weight of such a boat!


We had 6 foot lanes… way too short… my son ran them in just barely over 2 seconds after lots of practice.
Just playing, one time (luck more than skill) I managed to huff the little boat all the way down the lane… if timed, that run was under 0.5s!!! It was nearly impossible to repeat (think maybe 1-2 repeats of probably 50 attempts). If someone could figure out a perfect technique… it would be something else… even on a 10ft lane… a 2 puff, sub-2 second run would be possible.

"I dunno..." - Uncle Eddie, Christmas Vacation

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