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eherlihy 11-27-2010 12:53 PM

Dorade Boxes?
On to my next project:

All of the exterior teak looks like hell.

The boat came with two teak dorade boxes with plexiglass tops for the two four inch diameter cowls. The teak here looks like it was put on, 30 years ago, and ignored ever since. I pulled one off to see what I could do, and am considering tossing them and replacing with fiberglass.
Here is a close-up of the mate to the box seen above;
and here is the inside of the box AFTER I cleaned the crud out...:puke

So if I toss 'em, where could I get a new Fiberglass one? No one seems to carry Fiberglass Dorade Boxes big enough to handle a 4" cowl on line.

Could I fiberglass over these? I am afraid that if I sand them to get to clean wood that I will have a paper box. The teak is solid, but dirty, dried out and checked...

Thanks in advance for opinions and pointers!!

Beersmith 11-27-2010 03:18 PM

I've restored worse looking teak than that. I think with a good sanding and the coating of your choice (varnish, 2-part, honey teak, oil, etc.) it will look just fine and save you some cash.

eherlihy 11-27-2010 04:02 PM

I guess that I have nothing to loose....

So if I refinish them, I'll need some bungs for the screw holes. No problem there..

I will also want to PAINT the INSIDE of the dorade box white in order to maximize the length of time that they can go before a complete re-finish again. Also, some light comes in through the plexi top, and I may as well maximize this "feature." Any recommendations /tips?

I've read elsewhere that washing w/ denatured alcohol, and then 1 or 2 coats of EasyPoxy is the way to go.

sailingdog 11-27-2010 04:30 PM


If you're going to paint them, you might as well epoxy coat the interior of the boxes and then paint over the epoxy. For that matter, you could easily epoxy coat the whole thing and then paint the interior and varnish the exterior. That would seal the wood far better than varnish or paint alone.

oceanscapt 11-27-2010 04:37 PM

I've been a big fan of dorades for a long time. They're simple, keep 99% of the water out of they're properly designed, give a good amount of air to the boat, and can really spruce up your boat.

I'm not exactly pleased with the plexi top but as you've found out, dorade boxes have either been incorporated into the cabin tops or eliminated. So, if the dorades work, and they look butt ugly here's what I suggest:

Carefully look at the plexi top making sure it's in good condition, well secured and sealed. Make sure the teak is dry, inside and ouy. I'd remove the plexi top and sand the teak with 120 then 220 grit sandpaper. Apply a few coats of varnish, inside and out, and reattach the plexi along with a bit of clear silicone to keep it water tight.

You don't indicate if the dorades leak but since you've got the dorades off, I'd check the splash tube for cracks, leaks, or age.

I don't see a drain (on mine the drains about 1/2" x 1" on the aft outboard side of the box. That way any water that the dorade vent collects runs out rather than down into the cabin. I'd make sure the edges of the box are snug to the cabin top or you may get more water in than the drain can take out.

Finally, I'd look for dorade covers. In heavy weather I'll removed the vents and screw in the caps (looks like yours don't screw in), blocking any water from being ingested by the vents (or you can turn them 180 degrees from either the wind or course).

I've been on the hook during some tropical deluges with all the hatches and ports closed. I got a nice breeze and no water from my dorades. I think they're well worth the couple of hours to bring them back to bragging condition. Oh, and I'd see about finding a spare dorade vent. I know of a couple that have grown feet. :(

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