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Discussion Starter #1
I have a Pearson 34 with a wooden toe rail. I’m contemplating changing the toe rail with an aluminum one. My question is, is it difficult to have this done and is it very expensive?? Seams that an Alum toe rail is less to maintain and is more flexible for bumpers etc...... thoughts/comments??
Thank you!
 

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You could always just let the teak go gray.
Clean it well once, then put a good sealer, like "teak wonder", on it. If you can't find teak wonder, semco does a pretty good job. Recoat about twice a month goes really fast. It will stay looking good.
 

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If you sand the current teak rail smooth, so there are no deep grains, keeping it clean with TDS 100 or 300 and a white scotchbrite pad is pretty easy. It's just like going to the Dentist. The more often you go, the easier it is. A few times per year should do it. If you made the effort to clean it monthly, you'd barely break a sweat each time. I actually think slightly grey teak is more attractive than the fresh sealed color, but the sealant should allow it to last longer. No doubt, an alumimum perferated rail is less work, but will be pretty pricey to retrofit.
 

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Replacing your teak toerail would cost many thousands of dollars. Removing the teak toerails will involve disassembling parts of the interior to get access. Then you would have to fill hundreds of holes in the deck before you could even begin putting the aluminum rail on. Doing this just to save some maintenance makes no sense. My Cal 33 has teak toerails, so I can relate. They were varnished when I bought the boat, and were starting to peal in places. I stripped them (pretty big job) and coated with Cetol. The Cetol has held up well. I'm guessing I can go at least 10 years with just touchups and recoatings.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you all for the input . I didn’t realize what the process of switching would involve so it’s wood for me! Now we just have to sand them as the are pealing very severely. Maybe Cetolmis the way to go!
 

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Curious. If you've used Semco, what is peeling? Semco is a sealant and anti-baterial that soaks in, but doesn't last long exposed to weather. Very easy to apply tho.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Good question I was not clear. The old teak is peeling. We sanded and put Semco on one rail, but thats all we have addressed so far....We have to do all the toenrails, the other hand rail, the companion way door and trim, etc. The Semco is very watery and hard to keep off the deck, and we are not loving the look so far.....
 

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Semco is very watery and hard to keep off the deck, and we are not loving the look so far.....
I agree, the Semco sort of looks like weak stain. Probably best to tape it off, like one would with varnish, to avoid runs on the deck. As I said, I prefer leaving it bare and letting a grey patina form. But you need to keep it clean, with one of the products I listed above. Salt water and a white Scotchbrite with no soap is good too, if you only want to use the soap a couple of times per year. I think the salt helps prevent mold.
 

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I make my own teak cleaner: bleach (sodium hypochlorite), drain cleaner (sodium hydroxide), and a little detergent (Dawn). I use a Scotchbrite pad. One pass and the teak is clean. Wear gloves, eye protection, and rinse well.

The best sealer I found was Teak Wonder but I haven't found it in awhile. Semco Cleartone and Natural aren't too bad after the cleaning because they don't add much color but the Goldtone lasts longer. One advantage of sealer over varnish is that if you don't like the outcome, just let it weather away and reclean your teak.

I haven't tried Cetol. Some of their pictures look good but I have seen some in person that looked opaque orange. That may have something to do with the prep or application and would like some input on that.
 

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Original CETOL is orange like. I'm not a fan. Had it in a past life and paid a fortune to have it sanded off. They say the newer natural color is better, but it's still a coating that must be maintained diligently or will blister and look awful. I think it's users still acknowledge it's not quite as good looking as real varnish, just easier to apply.

I use real varnish on our cockpit table, which is covered when not on the boat and lives under the bimini. Still required bi-annual sanding and top coats. My fav alternative is Bristol Finish, a two part coating that can be top coated within an hour of application, unlike real varnish needing 24 hrs. It still needs to be maintained.
 

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I use the Cetol Natural Teak. Color is VERY close to varnished teak. My companionway boards are varnished and the trim is done in Cetol Natural Teak and you can't tell any color difference. I don't find Cetol any easier to apply than varnish, but you don't need as many coats and its MUCH less susceptible to lifting from water. I first tried Cetol on a piece of trim on the back of my cockpit. I varnished it the first couple of years I had the boat, and had to completely redo it every spring due to lifting from water exposure. Tried Cetol and no lifting problems since. That convinced me to go with Cetol when it was time to strip and redo the toerails.
 

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I don't find Cetol any easier to apply than varnish, but you don't need as many coats and its MUCH less susceptible to lifting from water.
Fewer coats was the easier part. The biggest hassle with real varnish is the number of coats. 4-5 just to seal, it takes 8-10 to get the glossy varnish look. When one considers the necessary weather, plus 24 hr wait times, exterior brightwork is a real chore. I take our cockpit table home over the winter and the cockpit has the only varnish on the boat.

As for CETOL not lifting, that wasn't my experience and explicitly the reason I had it all sanded off. I know CETOL has it's fans and I'm not going to insist otherwise, but it didn't work for me.
 

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I have a Pearson 34 with a wooden toe rail. I’m contemplating changing the toe rail with an aluminum one. My question is, is it difficult to have this done and is it very expensive?? Seams that an Alum toe rail is less to maintain and is more flexible for bumpers etc...... thoughts/comments??
Thank you!
I too have a boat with a wooden toe rail. I’m thinking of letting it go gray. I won’t replace it unless I replace the teak decks which are in excellent condition. We for into a terrible fix a couple of years ago. We have a Substantial wood rub rail which was splintered but saved the boat. It gave me a better appreciation for wood in strategic spots. A wood toerail is a little grippier in wet conditions.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Sounds like we’re in the same boat so to speak. I’m thinking of letting mine go gray too. Thanks for the reply and input.
 

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I use the Cetol Natural Teak. Color is VERY close to varnished teak.
We use the same. I would add that if you go this route, after applying the Natural Teak try putting a few coats of Cetol Marine Gloss on top of a few sections and see what you think. I find that the Marine Gloss puts a very nice shine on the finish, while making it more robust, easier to clean and sand/touch-up as needed. The Gloss is a bit more viscous than the base Cetol. In my experience, the Marine Gloss really needs to 'cure' a bit beyond the label instructions to fully harden. I normally end up with a total of 5-6 coats between the two finishes, but the extra coats of gloss have extended the re-finish intervals and mimic the varnish look more closely. Having said all this, our next boat will have less teak...
 

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A wood toerail is a little grippier in wet conditions.
This is a really good point. We've sailed with our toe rails gray and finished. They have much better grip when left to gray and are almost dangerous when newly finished (but wow do they look nice those first few months).
 
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