Holystoning the decks

Holystones were fairly soft flat rocks that were used once upon a time to scour, and thus whiten, the wooden decks of ships. The US Navy used them right up until the early 1930s until they were banned. They were called holystones because they were traditionally used on Sundays and on ones hands and knees, like good prayer ought to be. Now Jen was smart enough to use a pair of knee pads these last few days. I on the other hand am way to masculine to fall prey to these creature comforts. Being a good New England puritan I toughed it out without too much whining just to have the bragging rights later on. There is nothing that can save the back though and 2, 6-8 hour, days later we can both have something to brag about. We do some scraping to get the initial layer of oil off the wood but we chased that with an 8” sander with 120 grit. You would be surprised how little wood gets removed but how smooth and bright things do get. The sanders we use have dust extractors attached that are so effective that we also varnished the spars and hatches yesterday with no ill affect. The oil we use helps fill the pores of the wood to make it more resistant to the wear and tear of the seasons.