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Old 11-04-2014
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Refinishing loop rails

Hi folks,

I always start a project then halfway thru decide I should have taken pictures to document the process. I remembered early this time so I will post this as I go along. Not a very exciting project but it's something we all have to do at some point and this may encourage others to tackle the same job.

I just picked up my new-to-me boat this fall and I pulled these off as soon as I had her on the cradle for the winter. They came off without any issues, about a 15 minute job start to finish. I drilled a small hole in the center of the plugs and then screwed a 2" screw down until it hit the screw head below the plug. A few more gentle turns and this will force the plug up and out of the hole. It may leave a few bits and pieces behind but I used a smaill screwdriver to encourage them to let go. No pics, just use your imagination. While removing one plug the rail chipped and a large piece of the teak came off. I will epoxy this into place once the varnish has been removed.

Here is a pic of a both rails, I had already started stripping one. You can see the difference between the bare wood and the weathered finish. I used a small orbital sander 80 grit paper and that ate thru the varnish quickly stripping the entire 3 loop rail took about 10 minutes. I then went over the entire rail by hand with 120 grit.



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Last edited by r1200gs_chris; 11-04-2014 at 10:08 PM.
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Old 11-04-2014
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Re: Refinishing loop rails

I had a few small nick to address so I used wood filler mixed with teak dust to address those. Once sanded and varnished it will be hard to notice.



I also had to epoxy the chip back into place. I used a 2 part marine epoxy and clamped the piece into place. Bake at room temperature for 2 hours and sand away any excess wood/epoxy.

In picture you can see the 2 clamps holding the chip in place.



Here is the finished product. This should keep the water out and prevent it from chipping or splintering in the future.

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Old 11-04-2014
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Re: Refinishing loop rails

Don't forget to sand the bottom of the loops. You need a clean even surface to bed against the cabin top.

Here are mine before and after sanding.



One of my loops had a chip that the previous owner decided to ignore. It had a small piece that was lifting as well as a missing chip.



I used the same epoxy for this repair. I gently raised the part that was lifting and applied epoxy. I also used some of the epoxy as a filler for the section that was gone. Once sanded and varnished I should have an even surface for bedding.

Filling with epoxy.



Clamping in place as the epoxy cures.



Filling the chip with epoxy.



Here is the result after it had cured.

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Re: Refinishing loop rails

More to come. Still a few nicks to fix and then a final sanding at 180 grit before paint. I'll keep posting as I make progress.
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Old 11-05-2014
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Re: Refinishing loop rails

Here is the finished bottom repair. This should bed nicely and keep the water out.



Final step is to clean out any bedding material from the screw holes. I used a small sharp screwdriver to scrape out and leftovers. This will ensure a water tight seal when you re-install.

Notice the amount in the hole.





And you should be left with a pile of silicone that lookls like this.



Scrape. Rinse. Repeat until all holes are clean.
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Re: Refinishing loop rails

I did a final hand sand with 180 grit. These are going into storage for now. Next is refinishing the hatch covers. I will varnish once all my wood work is ready to be finished. Stay tuned for more.
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Old 11-05-2014
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Re: Refinishing loop rails

What product do you intend to use to finish them and how many coats will you apply
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Re: Refinishing loop rails

I am leaning towards one of the Interlux products, either Schooner or Spar. I am sure this will stir some debate. I am open to suggestions from other members as I would like to apply something will last for a few seasons. I am up here in Canada so it only sees sun for 7 months of the year and lives under a tarp for the other 5.
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Re: Refinishing loop rails

I've had better luck gluing the chipped off pieces in before stripping off the finish. That way you're not rounding off the edges of the hole and you're sanding the old finish and excess glue off all at once.
I'm faced with doing this job on my '69 Columbia this winter and a tougher one with the teak "eyebrow" strip which runs along the corner of the cabin top / cabin sides. This strip was originally about a 3/4" half-round, but after 45 years it's been sanded down to about nothing. I'm planning to mill half-rounds out of some Trex decking boards and using that. It'll never have to be refinished and from 20 feet away you won't be able to see the difference. Could make new hand rails from it too.
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Re: Refinishing loop rails

I finally started working on the rails again. I just paid my mooring fees and figure I should start working on the boat before spring gets arrives. Here is a picture of the loop rails and my companionway cover. First coat of varnish on the loop rails cut with 333 10%. I've also started refinishing my companionway cover, this is definitely on the list to be replaced but they still have some life left in them. You will notice I screwed the loop rails down to 2 boards with a small spacer to prevent pooling. This allows me to pivot the rails on the boards while varnishing to have access to all exposed wood. One coat down, 10 more to go!


You can see I used a small nut as a spacer to prevent varnish from pooling around the base.


These were in rough shape but should come back to life with 6 coats of marnine varnish.


First coat went on well. Back in 24 hours to sand and apply coat 2 of 10.
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