Aluminum channel would certainly do the job but it will also damage anything you touch. As long as you're only touching dock pilings that's no problem but as soon as you start rafting up with other boats it might present a challenge. Or are you looking to install some kind of rubber in the channel?Wow! You have a lot of work ahead of you, but I think it will really look great when completed. My sole was made the same way, but not nearly as thick, probably less than 1/8-inch veneer. Fortunately, I was able to just lightly sand it, then clean it with the vacuum and a tack rag, and finally applied three coats of varnish - looks like brand new. I guess I got lucky on this job.
My next project is replacing the rub rails, which will be very difficult, and maybe beyond my physical ability. The old rub rail is constructed of a 2-inch, "U" shaped, rubber cover that covers the deck to hull joint. Well, that rubber cover is no longer made, and the original has completely dry rotted and cracked in several places. I called my friend, and Sailnet forum member, MarioG and FerrettChaser, both of whom are marine mechanics, and they suggested removing the rubber rail and replacing it with 2-inch aluminum channel strips 6 feet long, which would make the curve without trying to make cuts and bends in the channel. Might have to wait till it's warmer to do this, though - cold weather and I don't get along very well.
All the best,
Right now, I'm pondering what type/brand of varnish to use and whether I should use a clear varnish or something darker. The original sole was quite dark. In fact, you could barely see the holly strips but I think that was a function of age.
Whatever I use, it needs to be hard wearing.