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Re: Refinish Cabin Sole
First, I would recommend picking up the book Brightwork, The Art of Finishing Wood by Rebecca J. Whittman. It's a well written, beutiful book with excellent instruction.
Here's what I'm doing.
Maria is hull #12 (I think) laid up in 1981....I think #12, because the numbering seems to indicate 112 which is unlikely so early in production)
My sole is veneer and appears to be 1/16 inch based inspecting the cross section in a hole for a pedestal base.
I have sanded veneer before with disasterous results....on my fathers boat....which made it an even greater disaster.
Using a heat gun on a layered/glued/composite just doesn't feel right. Plus if you burn the veneer it's difficult if not impossible to repair. You can order more teak veneer and follow inlay instructions, but it will never look the same no matter how good you are.
I have taken the sole hatches home and stripped them. I used a powerful stripper but would suggest going with something more green (soy based) or doing some research by reaching out to an antique restoration shop. Reasoning...the stripper seemed to bleach my engine hatch/step. It's not the same teak as the floors so that may have been the reason.
I have not stripped the non removable sections yet but plan on protecting all vertical surfaces with tape and horizontal surfaces with a layer of plastic (heavy mill), then newspaper, then wax paper around the edges. I don't want stripper in the bildge or on any plastic wiring etc.
All waste product is brought to the recycling center.
After stripping, I clean with mild oxcalic acid then borax neutralizer wash). There are many different cleaners/brighteners out there. The strongest and most effective that I have found (with some negatives such as removing soft grain) is 2 part Teka. I used that on 1" solid teak decks and liked the result but will avoid on interior or any vaneer work because it's pretty aggressive. That's why I mix up my own diluted batches.
Following stripping I might lightly block sand with 220 grit or bronze wool. Depends on the condition, scratches etc.
I am starting the varnish process now. After reading so many great reviews about UltimateSole, I learned it is no longer being produced. Must have been radioactive or a "borrowed" formula.
I landed on Interlux 60, based on Wittman's recommendation. Interlux 60 is warmer and not as glossy as Epiphanes which I use on furniture. This is a single part varnish and while 2 part epoxies may be stronger and last longer, I don't want to mix my limited varnishing experience with a complicated varnish.
I have allways followed the thinning recommendations in Wittman's book. While many people recommend foam brushes for the first few coats, I don't like them because in my hands they seem to apply more bubbles than varnish. Might be that I'm thinning it too much for foam.
Jamestown has reasonably priced badger hair brushes. Buy them, and a brush keeper. $100 in brushes and a quality keeper for a 40+ hour job is worth it.
I'll lay on a minimum of 6 coats.
Before I get to the 5th coat, I'll have figured out the non skid issue. I've heard of using salt or sugar and washing off after varnishing. If I don't get a good recommendation, I probably have to try all 3 (salt, sugar, beads).
Hope this helps. Good luck and enjoy the fumes: I mean wear a carbon filter mask.