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Brightwork: The Art of Finishing Wood Hardcover – October 1, 1990


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Hardcover, October 1, 1990
$71.29 $24.95

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Editorial Reviews

Review

``Everyone who does varnishing should have this book!--Wittman does an outstanding job of educating in all there is to know about this critical stage of boat restoration--A superb book I highly recommend.'' (Classic Boating)

``It's elegant--elegant as the work it describes so successfully, elegant in its writing, elegant in its photography.'' (Sail)

``Packed with useful information for both amateur and professional refinsishes alike--A first class and highly readable text that should be mandatory reading for anyone who owns or is contemplating owning a wood-trimmed vessel--The book's only drawback is that it's so beautiflly illustrated that you'll need to buy a second copy to replace the one assigned to your cofee table.'' (Sailing)

About the Author

Rebecca Wittman was born and raised on a cattle ranch near Lewiston, Idaho, one of eight children. After studying opera as a music performance major at the University of Idaho, she moved to Seattle, where she began three careers. A series of positions at Britannia Sportswear led to her promotion to assistant director of a new women's apparel line, with extensive work in the Orient. Her singing career has included nightclub engagements, studio work in Seattle and Los Angeles, and national anthem performances for the Seattle sports organizations, including a CBS appearance for a 1979 NBA championship game.

Ms. Wittman undertook her first brightwork job in company with her sister in exchange for sailing lessons. In 1978 she cofounded a custom yacht refinishing company, The Teak Twins, and within five years completed full or partial brightwork restoration projects on more than 100 yachts in the Seattle area. In 1983 she founded a yacht management and refinishing business in Marina del Rey, California. In 1986 she returned to Seattle, resuming her refinishing work there.

Ms. Wittman has taught brightwork classes and conducts an annual spring seminar on the subject at the Center for Wooden Boats. Her 13-part series on refinishing, which ran in Waterlines magazine in 1986 - 87, drew an overwhelming reader response, as did her three-part series (taken from this book) in WoodenBoat magazine in 1988. Brightwork is her first book.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press; 1 edition (October 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071579818
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071579810
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 0.7 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #683,721 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Peter Dykstra on December 8, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I'm firmly resolved to hereafter always buy how-to-do-it books written by women. Brightwork tells you everything, unlike most h-t-d-i books that tell you everything except for that one elementary essential detail that you probably should know, but don't.
And when you just can't get up the energy to do yet more tedious prep work on your boat, you can just pull out the book, read some of Rebecca's engaging prose, drink in the beauty of the photographed boats, and next thing you know you can't wait to tear into your project again.
This is the book to buy.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Chris Freeland on August 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is a delight to read and enjoy. The photos are spectacular and Wittman is a wondeful arthur. I found the book extremely educational on the subject of brightwork and entertaining to gaze through numerous times just looking at the incredible photography. It definatley has a place in any boating library.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 25, 1996
Format: Hardcover
Rebecca Wittman has obviously scraped, sanded and varnished many, many boats. But the whole time she has been thinking about ways of doing it better.

Her advice is practical, effective and tested.

I only wish I could get her to do my "brightwork". Failing that, her book is the next best thing.
It is also a very beautiful book. So beautiful that you might need 2 copies; one to refer to while you are working, the other to read when you in your arm-chair at home.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By lhill@cybcon.com on December 29, 1998
Format: Hardcover
We bought this book when we purchased our 1942 40' cruiser. Rebecca taught us what to do (and not do) to keep "September Morn" in excellent condition; what to use and the tools you will need to do the job right. We learned very quickly that if we followed her refinishing program, we could spend more time cruising and less time sanding.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By R. Willis on August 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I told myself that I wouldn't do it. I promised myself, but I did it anyway. I read most (was getting too judgemental to finish) of her book only to come away dissappointed. I have been in the business for twenty years in San Diego, where we can varnish outside more than 10 days a year. Yes, I read her intended scope and reader experience criteria, but that still should not excuse her from some seriously flawed advice.

First, how much did interlux pay you to become their spoke person? Schooner varnish with a foam brush? I can see it now. If your intentions were to educate the novis, recommending a foam brush is a bad idea,for starters. I have used foam for too many years along with my "environmentally unfriendly" Badgers. Small foamers have there place, but your description of foams superiority to Badgers, is down right comedy.

If I had known that only ten years experience, varnishing mainly indoors(remember,Seattle) with foam brushes dipped in a third rate finish would make me an expert.....

I know this sounds harsh, but a beginner to varnishing should know what other professionals in the trade think about her advice. Refishers will always dissagree about various techniques, and best product to use. This book gave minimal print though, to what is recognized WORLD WIDE as the "the best". ( ox hair,badger brushes, Epifanes High Gloss ).

Proof is in the pudding. I would gladly invite you to come down here to San Diego, and demonstrate your expertise on a 16' wide caprail, 85 degrees, Santa Ana winds in full form, with 15% rel. hum. Yes, these conditions are extreme, but a variation of one or more of these, happen quite often almost everywhere. And, oh yeah, we can't go indoors.

In my opinion, the techniques, varnish, and brushes recommended in this book, fail to pass the most important test of all: what if I don't live in Seattle.

Rob W.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David King on November 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I am a novice to brightwork and I most certainly enjoyed Wittman's photoessay of wonderful finished wood and beautiful wooden boats.

What puzzles me is why the author shows no images of the processes she describes. All photos are of finished results. As a novice, I'd like to see what bleached wood looks like and how stain brings the wood back to life, etc.

The companion book has exactly the same problem, by the way.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Cois Abhann on February 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I found the book absolutely engrossing. I am buying an older wooden trawler with lots of brightwork, and this book helped to ease my fears. I found it amazingly enjoyable and informative. I wish every how-to book was as carefully and thoughfully written.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Refinishing my brightwork started out as a nuisance, but as I tried to reproduce the beautiful varnish surfaces the boat had when I bought her, I found that I was woefully unprepared. I asked "professionals," read magazines and searched through books at the chandlerys, and found nothing that answered the questions I had. After all, renewing my brightwork was no longer a chore, it was now more like the search for the holy grail. Rebecca's book is exacly what I was looking for. The definitive book on brightwork. Kudos Rebecca for a job well done. Worth every penny at twice the price.
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