Sterling Chris Craft Catalina Mahogany Stain and Polyurathane - RC Groups
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Mar 04, 2013, 11:58 PM
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Sterling Chris Craft Catalina Mahogany Stain and Polyurathane

I'm building a Sterling CC Catalina Flying Bridge balsa model Boat. I need advice on staining and finishing the Mahogany Pieces. This is my first wooden model boat build. I was thinking I would stain and varnish or polyurathane all the Mahogany Pieces before I did any glueing. My thought is that this would ensure I did not get any glue on the surfaces that may inhibit the staining. My first thought was to not stain any pieces, but some of the Mahogany pieces are very different shades, perhaps fading over the years.

My questions are:
1) do I sand before or after staining, but before polyurethane ?
2) what color, type, and brand of stain should I use?
3) should I use varnish, lacquer or polyurethane after the stain? I heard polyurethane is best and won't yellow?
4) what brand, sheen, of varnish, lacquer or polyurethane?
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Mar 05, 2013, 12:22 AM
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Tim B.'s Avatar
These are all Great questions, I have the same ones myself, looking forward to some experienced replies ....
Mar 05, 2013, 03:03 AM
777Geoff, Vancouver, Canada.
Geoffqf's Avatar
I am not an expert at the boat building side of things, but having restored over 30 clocks dating back 200 years I have done my share of finishes and veneer repair.

In this case I would sand with 320 grit the surfaces of all the panels, both sides. This will open the pores and remove any surface imperfections (oils from handling).

I would then stain each panel and allow to dry. I like a darker look, less red, so an oil based stain. I might mix two colours to come up with my prefered mix. Probably Mohagany and Walnut.

After applying this and allowing to dry I would reapply to panels that did not take the stain in a deep enough manner to match the other panels.

I am going to use Aliphatic glue (carpenters yellow) for the boat so a damp cloth to wipe up the excess will be handy after gluing and clamping. Any excess can be lightly sanded off and the stain can be reapplied with a brush to the sanded area.

Of course, others may have a completely different idea, especially considering none of my clocks make it to the lake!

Mar 05, 2013, 12:22 PM
Registered User

Varnish lacquer or Polyuerathane???

Thanks Geoff

What about the final clear finish? I'm thinking Polyuerathane
Mar 05, 2013, 01:43 PM
777Geoff, Vancouver, Canada.
Geoffqf's Avatar
I have never applied a cloth and resin finish so I don't know about the compatibility with polyurethane and etc.

From what I have read, polyurethane seams to be the preferred final coat. As to satin, semi gloss or gloss that would be to your taste. On my 63' the transom will be gloss polyurethane. The mohagany sides of the bridge and salon will be gloss also. The deck will be semi gloss as will the roof tops.

The sides will be painted with white and a copper bottom. I am still undecided if this will gloss or semigloss finish.

So my questions are,

-is polyeurayhane the best adhering non complicated match with the resin coat?

-do you prep the final resin surface with a scuff coat (say 320 sand paper)?

Cheers, Geoff
Mar 05, 2013, 05:16 PM
Registered User

White side hull, red bottom hull and blue cabin roof

So on to the solid colors.

Side of Hull - What type, brand, color and finish of white do I use?

Bottom of Hull - I was thinking red, what would a profession model builder use that is most authentic and was used on the real boats? I like red. Again what type brand color and finish

Top of cabin. I want to paint it blue like what is on the box, again getting the. Shade right is key. Does any one know the exact color of blue?

Also, I have a build thread going. So in case you care to see the step by step

Mar 05, 2013, 10:44 PM
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tinknocker's Avatar
Geo The hull should be glassed with resin to keep the planks from seperating in the future. It also will be a good base for the paint to come. It is easy to sand and gives a smooth finish. For the mahogany I used Min Wax Red Chestnut stain on my Corvette cabin. I plan to use it on the Catalina when I get to that point. Resin and poly are compatable. The resin will fill the pores quicker. The poly will not yellow like varnish will but it needs quite a few coats to fill the grain. Satin or gloss is your choice. I like to have mine gloss. That's only me.

Mar 05, 2013, 10:49 PM
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Tim B.'s Avatar
Originally Posted by tinknocker
For the mahogany I used Min Wax Red Chestnut stain on my Corvette cabin. I plan to use it on the Catalina when I get to that point. Doug
TK I am following your lead on the Red Chestnut, cant wait to see how it comes out ( LONG wat to go yet though ).

Also have some "Gunstock" to try.
Mar 05, 2013, 10:59 PM
Registered User
tinknocker's Avatar
Tim when I get the tug project ready to sail I will go back to the Cat. I am looking forward to doing it as well. Good luck on your build.

Mar 05, 2013, 11:47 PM
777Geoff, Vancouver, Canada.
Geoffqf's Avatar
What a learning experienc here, thanks all!

So famowood instead of bondo, then sand, then glass, then paint. I think I have got it.

I have listed some questions on my 63' thread but it would appear that they are being answered here. Thanks Jeff for starting the post.

Cheers, Geoff
Mar 06, 2013, 01:02 PM
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Ed Crowell's Avatar

You are fighting a almost impossible battle to get the mahogany you have to come out looking the same color. If you don't have woodworking equipment to cut your own mahogany out of a single piece of wood then you could consider buying some mahogany veneer to glue over the pieces you have. Mahogany veneer is paper thin and would be glued on top of the wood and trimmed with a sharp hobby knife.

Mar 09, 2013, 12:18 AM
Registered User

Mahogany vaneer

Hi Ed,

Your comment on finding new Mahogany vaneer to match color was something I did not want to get into. Unfortunately when I tried to break out the Cabin sides, the mahogany vaneer cracked apart and broke off the thin plywood it was glued to. The other cabin side appears not to have any Mahogany vaneer on it at all. The Mahogany vaneer for the bow and the transom are in beautiful shape. I don't have the tools to fabricate my own from a single piece of mahogany.

So my question, where can I get sheets of mahagony vaneer?
Mar 09, 2013, 03:32 PM
Registered User
Ed Crowell's Avatar

Found this site using Google. They have a 1' by 4' piece, paper backed for $9.60. You can use Titebond III water proof glue to attach it to your plywood. Make sure it is South American mahogany.

Mar 10, 2013, 01:15 AM
Registered User

Thanks Ed

Thanks Ed!
Mar 18, 2013, 06:16 PM
Registered User

Sorry to hear about the poor quality mahogany panels.
I hope to help you answer some of your questions in more details:
Sand before staining to at least 220 grit. Then clean wood well.
I stained my Dumas brand mahogany with minwax red mahogany 225, using a rag to not over saturate. No sanding, I only used a razor blade to get my white plastic blanking strips clean again. Then I top coated with envirotex lite pour on high gloss finish. This is a epoxy resin which acts like 50 coats of polyurethane to give a sealed finish. On the sides and bottom of the hull I did use a 2 oz fiberglass cloth in conjunction with the finishing resin. Don't worry, it hides the cloth and comes out clear. My boat is 20 years old, and a nitro running cobra, and the hull is solid as the first day I built her.
To protect the resin coating and the stained wood, I was told to use spar urethane, since the UV from sun AND fluorescent lights will bleach out the finish. I can attest to this, and highly recommend you finishing the boat with two light coats of varnish.
I am having some air bubble issues with my final coat, as I am using the new spar urethane in a spray can. It comes out with massive force, and leaves air bubbles. I will wait for the weather to warm up again before re coating.
Good luck!

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