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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 06 Beneteau 423's toe rails were in terrible shape. While I don't think the PO ever oiled them, they look like they've been cleaned with a stiff brush for years. I decided to sand them smooth, which I finished today. It took a lot of sanding, and I don't want to repeat it anytime soon. I've tried embedding a picture - We'll see if it works...



So now what to do? I was thinking of oiling them, but teak oil doesn't work very well with all of the contaminants in the air here in the Houston/Galveston area.

I'm inclined not to varnish, as it seems that there's no way to avoid water getting under the finish at the edges over time. I'm temped by Cetol, but don't know if it has problems with water getting under the edges too. And it seems to be a bear to remove if it comes to that.

Everyone around me, including my wife is saying "Leave them natural and let them go grey". I really don't mind that look (all of the teak in my cockpit is untreated), but I don't want them to end up in the same shape again. Not sure how many times I can sand off that much material!

All opinions welcomed...
 

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Telstar 28
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Don't bother varnishing toe rails... the varnish or Cetol will just get beaten up when you kick it by accident...and such... so it won't last...
 

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I'll disagree with SD ( dangerous, I know ) I would use cetol, I might go with two base coats and a min of 3 clear.

If you do mare it up, it will most likely be in the top coats, which then can be touched up with just a light sanding and a coat of clear
 

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No, no more than any other finish; I don't know how long your newly sanded toe rail has been exposed to weather, or how lon it will be before you finish it but, hit it some 120 and wipe with actone or a post sand liquid before you start the new finish (This has to do with the natural oil surfacing) and only do what you can get done in a few hours.
 

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Why boat makers insist on using teak for a toe/rub rail on a sailboat is beyond me. I know that it can look good but I find it a very impractical material for this application. We have a teak toe rail on our 1967 Tartan 27' and the teak on our boat is constantly getting dinged and cracked not to mention requiring re-finishing. I have given up on varnish and have started using Cetol natural which looks pretty good. Other folks rave about a product called Teak Guard: TeakGuard Products - Teak Finish and Restoration Superior to Teak Oil
which I have not tried. I love the way Teak Oil makes the wood look but the finish of Teak Oil alone will barely last 1 month in the elements - requiring monthly maintenance (this is not true if the teak is inside your cabin where it will last much longer).
I have heard that there is an oil or wax that you use to keep the silvery/grey finish of teak but I have been unable to find it anywhere.
I wish my boat had a useful toe rail made of metal with the perforations in it that can be used to attach hardware - much more useful but not exactly 'attractive'. I'll take function over form any day on my boat.
Beneteau must offer the teak toe rails as an option as some owners are crazy enough to want to have to maintain it.
Good luck with your teak toe rails whichever finishing option you choose.
 

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moderate?
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No worries on cetol lifting up like varnish will. You CAN get a little very localized lifting if you let it go too long but mostly it just wears off. I like (2 coats cetol natural teak + 2 coats of Cetol gloss) it because you can just lightly scuff up the gloss when it begins to wear and re touch it without needing to sand it down. If you only use CETOL and keep building up layers over time it will look ugly..but using only gloss to touch up prevents this.
 

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I use Epifanes. Started with 6 coats of gloss wood finish which is a fast build that does not require sanding between coats. Finished with two coats of clear high gloss varnish for a total of eight coats. Apply a maintenance coat of two coats high gloss varnish annually after that. I have a total of twelve coats now and the finish is holding up well although I live in a northern climate. Launch in late April and haul in mid Oct.
I used Cetol on my previous boat for over ten years and it stood up well . Three initial coats and then a maintenance coat annually. Does tend to build up over time and get a bit orangy. I used the new Cetol natural on my current cockpit grate and it is very close in color to the varnished wood.

 

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Retired and happy
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Whooo! That looks fantastic! I've been wondering what to do about the teak on my Morgan - now I know - thanks. :D

Stuart
 

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regarding what to do with freshly sanded wood

Dear boater
I have done this task many times, on various different boats. The best advice I can offer you is to apply 3 coats of marine grade CETOL. It is a product made by Sikkens.
Now I realize you have just sanded, but I have to insist that you do a quick sanding with purple scotch brite pad. The reason for this is that wood oxidates. Even in the short time since your sanding the teak has oxidated. This is not the same as the intensely laborious task of sanding. Just rub the wood with a couple of quick swipes with moderate pressure. Just before putting on the cetol wipe the rail down with a jaycloth soaked with methyl hydrate. This will remove a lot of dust. Do not us a sponge brush - they are for amateurs - use a decent quality long bristle brush. Cetol goes on really thin and spatters easily, so be careful. Do the entire job in one go for each coat. Before putting a new coat, if it has hardened, prep the surface lightly with the scotchbrite pad. Three coats will bring an awesome result. Now here is the key to keeping it this way; once a year put a light coat, before it looks like it needs it. Again, go with the scotchbrite, and clean with methyl before the application. This is a great product, and because it is so thin you can put many coats without bubbling or cracking. If anything, you will see it wear where a line crosses, or your hands or feet frequently touch. Just rub with the scotchbrite, and touch it up. It is ten times easier and long wearing than varnish, which in my opinion belongs inside the boat only.
Have fun.
 

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How tall are wood toe rails?
 

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I have tried most everything on the toe rails on my Beneteau 36CC, the latest was cetol. After spending the better part of a week with a scraper removing flaking cetol, I have just let it weather. I don't know why Beneteau puts teak toe rails on some of their boats. I hate it. Give me a nice aluminum toe rail any day.
 

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Telstar 28
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If you dip the toe rail into the water much at all, no finish, whether it is varnish or cetol is going to last very long.
 

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I will have to find out what American Dream T372 uses at the boat is 20 years old and the bright work is perfect toe rails and all


He does have it done buy a women in Mystic and has a stroke if you nudge the toe rail with the spin pole during a race :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
timebandit,

The tow rails are about 3/4" tall and 3 " wide.

I'd rather sail than varnish too, but at the moment, I have the time. We're livaaboards at the moment, and I'm in Galveston bay which means that we're as likely as not to be stuck in the slip due to a lack of water... I've been sitting on the bottom the last 5 days...
 

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If you dip the toe rail into the water much at all, no finish, whether it is varnish or cetol is going to last very long.
Hasn't been an issue with both Cetol and varnish over the years. I sail my boat hard and deal with maintenance issues after. She's no toy and definately not an ornament. During the sailing season she's on the water almost every day. Revarnish two coats every fall and thats it. Don't touch it during the season as I'd rather be sailing. :)
 
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