Mahogany is one of those woods that just looks right cleaned up, sanded down, and glistening under a coat of varnish. It has a wonderful reddish tone that looks rich and deep under the bright light of day. It particularly looks lovely with the dancing reflections of wavelets beneath it. If there is a proper wood for a stern to be, Mahogany is it.
Spark's transom is solid Mahogany, a solid half inch thick board that spans the width and breath of her stern. It's a little battered, my GP earned her scars with a 55+ years of existence, the first part of which she was used exclusively for club racing, as most GP14s were in this area. To remove those scuffs, scars, dents, and such would require a lot of sanding and planing to get it pristine. I wouldn't do that to Spark, she's an old lady and those scars, marks, and scuffs are part of her charm. If I really wanted a pristine boat, I would have bought one.
When last we left, I had filled in the screw holes from the old gudgeons and pintles with mahogany dowels, set in epoxy and hammer in before being cut off flush. I sanded them down smooth today and got the first of many coats of varnish down. You have to let each layer dry, so roughly 24 hours between coats. Ignore what looks like streaking, that is the corrugated metal of my storage bin reflecting in the fresh varnish.
Firstly, the transom all smoothly sanded and ready to do. I did miss a bit of epoxy residue, but that should not make a difference.
And now for the first coat of Schooner Varnish 96. I applied it very thin and "dry" to let the wood soak it in. It's been a long time since this transom saw any liquid, so I am sure the varnish was sucked in deep.
Only seven or so coats to go before I can apply "Spark" to her transom and make it all official.