Originally Posted by CharlieCobra
There are two thoughts here. Ya get what ya pay for and pay me now or pay me later. The best alternative is to learn how to do it right yourself and take the time.
+1 on Charlie's thoughts.
BJung -- I didn't want to come off as a Richard earlier, but this is really a no-brainer. DIY (all or part of the job) is the way to go.
Take the time to think about it.
1. Brightwork is not a critical system, and therefore speed of repair is not a factor. Your boat will sail just as well with bare teak as it will a Bristol finish.
2. The type and quality of the finish is largely a matter of taste, so it's really hard (but not impossible, as MaineSail noted above) to make a non-recoverable mistake. Yes, you can drive yourself to drink -- in itself not necessarily a bad thing -- trying to decide what finish to use or even if to use a finish at all, but what else are you gonna do when there's nothing else to do?
3. Even of you don't want to do the actual finishing yourself, you can shave a whole lot of hours off of the bill if you do most of the prep yourself. Paying yard rates to have someone else scrape varnish or mask gelcoat is just bad math.
4. Some (like Vigor) will say that the time spent babying your baby yourself has intrinsic value, in that she will take better care of YOU when things get dicey. Hard to prove, but always a good excuse to spend time at the boat (if you've got someone significant keeping track of how you invest your leisure hours.)
5. The downside is that it can become habit forming -- sometimes to the point that it becomes distracting. Once you've got hundreds of hours invested in a showroom finish, you may get a little anal about maintaining and protecting it. This is likely why you see many actively sailed boats with crappy looking or bare brightwork, and many dock queens with Bristol finishes (NB -- this is a generalization, and not meant to say that boats with great looking brightwork are dock queens.