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  #1  
Old 02-09-2012
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Refinishing Bilge Covers

Hey All,

I need to refinish one of the bilge covers on our 86 Catalina 30.


This is actually the stuffing box cover and it lives right under our companionway and has some water damage. I was thinking that if I sanded it down I could put some new polyurethane over it and it would look new again. I'm not sure if the factory would have used clear or a tinted shade of something. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

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Just a few thoughts. I would look at chemical strippers rather than sanding - or rather, chemical strip then a light sand.

In the past I've restored some faded cockpit benches, and have used some wood dye to darken up the wood a little, before applying normal varnish. It also has the effect of leveling the difference between parts that have turned a bit grey from oxidation (like that water damaged patch) and those that haven't. I like the Varathane Golden Mahogany which is a great match for teak.

Don't go brushing on the stain by the truckload though. Put a little on a cloth and rub it on sparingly. That way you keep the beauty of the grain.

Do that and then a few layers of interior varnish and it's going to look really great again.
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Can you tell how thick the teak and holly veneers are? Unless the piece is solid, and I'm sure it is not, you should not sand to remove the coating. As Mark said, use a chemical stripper. Then use teak cleaner on the oxidized parts. If you need to smooth, not level, the surface sand gently with 220 grit or finer. It isn't a large piece so you can take it slow.

Last edited by fordo; 02-09-2012 at 07:33 PM. Reason: punctuation
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Agreed.. generally the teak layers on this stuff is rather thin.
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Old 02-09-2012
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When I be younger I refinished the floor boards on my C&C , Started sanding only to find out the teak vanire was very thin....do not sand. Chenicaly remove the ole shat with a light sand then finnish to match the rest of wood work. Good luck and no belt sanders
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I recommend you use tougher varnish like an exterior grade or at least UV protected. Remember, this is a high traffic area, prone to wetness either from the bildge itself or through the companionway (rain, wash water, the occasional boarding wave - you get the idea). You will be surprised on how much UV fading takes place in the companionway. We use Epifanes matte finish. Also, you will want to seal around the edges so the wood won't expand too much when it is contact with moisture.
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The first pic is before. Note that some of the varnish has gone completely, leaving the wood to go grey. In other places the varnish has gone opaque and orange.



This is after : chemical strip, light wood stain, 5 layers spar varnish sanding lightly between each. The weathering has just added to the beauty of the wood!

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Thanks for all the suggestions. Yeah the veneers look very thin so I will definitely go with a chemical stripper then a light sand. When I sand in between coats should it be wet sanded?
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I dry sanded with 220, very gently. Then remove all dust with a tack cloth.

Before the last coat use 400, then put it on with a brand new brush.
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Old 02-12-2012
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On an older boat, don't try to make it look perfect. It will take forever. I would just sand it up, and varnish it and settle for an improvement, not perfection.
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