Since I knew there would be days I could work directly on the boat, and times when I
couldn't (primarily because of wind or rain, or both), my first step was to prepare some
sub-projects that I could work on in my workshop/carport.  Sloop Du Jour has a fair
amount of teak trim, so I decided to start with removing the teak pieces that were easily
removable.  This consisted of:

  • swim ladder steps (I removed the entire swim ladder for refurbishment)
  • trim around the mast at the cabin roof
  • trim around the forward dorade vents in the v-berth (more on this later)
  • trim around the cockpit instruments
  • outboard motor bracket
  • winch handle holder

One thing became apparent as soon as I started to remove the trim pieces:  I was
going to end up with a great number of screws, nuts, washers, and other small parts
that would need to be reused when the associated trim pieces were put back on the
boat at some time in the distant future.  So a simple but foolproof system to keep the
parts identified and organized would be essential.
.
Zip-lock bags to the rescue

The solution I came up with is simple, inexpensive, and (so far, at least) foolproof.  For
each part that I disassemble, I identify the assembly on a small piece of note paper and
put this paper into a suitably sized zip-lock bag along with the parts.  For most small
parts, a sandwich size bag is more than big enough.  I then keep all of the bags
together in a secure location -- in my case, an old plastic tackle box that had seen
better days..

The removed trim pieces, then, are the first of my sub-projects.  They filled in the odd
spaces between fair-weather work on the boat.  Over the space of a few months, I
sanded off the old finish and applied ten coats of new finish to each of the pieces.

Choosing a finish

In the past, I've used both varnish and Cetol on my wood trim.  The varnish I found
difficult to apply well, and it did not wear especially well in the Florida sun.  The Cetol
was easy to apply, and fairly easy to touch up when it started to weather, but I was a bit
unhappy with its orangish tint.  This time around I decided to give West Marine's
Woodpro a try.  It is supposed to be "Cetol without the orange", and I have to say I
don't see an orange tint with it..  Time will tell how well it weathers.  It is easy to apply
with no sanding between coats, and I use inexpensive disposable foam brushes (about
ten cents each) so no brush cleanup is required.

You probably have your own preference for wood finishing.  I doubt there is one
perfect finish for all situations (wouldn't that be great?), so go with whatever you find
works for you.

Refinishing trim on the boat

As part of this project the deck of the boat will be repainted.  I plan to replace the toe
rails and the main cabin hatch runners, which are badly weathered and split in places,
with new wood.  However, the grab rails on the cabin top are in good condition and just
need refinishing.  It makes more sense to refinish these before re-doing the deck
around them, so they are also being done as weather allows in this early part of the
project.  This also allows me to get more use out of each disposable brush.
Refurbing - Getting started
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