Cockpit Varnished

Arabella has far more wood (teak) visible than most boats that are even built of the stuff.  Although a fibreglass vessel, brightwork abounds everywhere, and it all needs revitalization.  Way back, the exterior teak must have been varnished, but over the years it has been covered with Cetol without removing the residual patches of varnish.

A heat gun and a scraper seemed to do the trick to get the old stuff off in the cockpit.  Slow going, but it worked.  Burned myself frequently too!

Watch that thumb … the heat-gun gets HOT















Lots of sanding followed, first with 100 grit, then 150, followed by a couple of coats of pure bleach brushed on with liberality.

Exposing the latent beauty of teak
Exposing the latent beauty of teak


The decision was finally made to use traditional “spar-varnish” with a modern urethane formulation with UV and weather protection.  Sure, 7 coats are needed, but laying down good varnish is actually quite therepeutic, and the results are startlingly gratifying!  I have discovered over the years that applying the varnish with a foam roller and then “tipping-off” at 90′ with a high quality brush is by far the easiest way to do this job.

Of course, now that the cockpit looks this good, I guess all the rest of the brightwork will have to be treated in a similar fashion. Oh well, it will only take a few hundred hours, and my shop rates are quite low!  Gosh darn!   It does look sharp!

Cockpit surround
Cockpit surround after 3 coats – 4 more to follow

Each season one of the seven coats gets sacrificed to weather, and one more to a very light sanding with 220grit.  That means that two coats will need to be re-applied each season to keep the brightwork in tip-top condition.


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