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Thread: new to teak finishing - damaged handrails

  1. #1
    Contributing Member I
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    new to teak finishing - damaged handrails

    Beginning to refinish my handrails which were neglected for years - - I removed them from the boat, stripped them, cleaned them and I am now in the sanding phase.
    There are some very deep grooves in the grain - I suspect from weather and/or over aggressive cleaning with a two part cleaner. They really look "ok" but on closer inspection there are very tiny "bits" of the old finish deep in these grooves. In the scheme of things to me it seems minor, when I wet it is looks ok, some of the grain just looks a little darker

    My general questions:
    - just how smooth does this need to be before I finish it - - seems unrealistic to me to sand out the grooves ? Anyone else have experience with this ?
    - Other than possibly affecting the adhesion of the new finish are there any other concerns about finishing over this ? (mold, mildew, etc?)

    Appreciate any guidance or experience you could share - - I'm real close to just letting it patina and go grey....

    thanks,

    Dan
    Dan W
    E38 #532
    Magellanes

  2. #2
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    A lot of this gets down to what you think looks acceptable The glossier the finish, the more obvious the uneven surface will be. A low gloss oil type finish will probably show it the least. If the original finish is oil, you can oil or varnish over the remnants of the old finish and it will probably be fine. If the old finish is varnish, the remnants will not blend with an oil as well, but you can probably still get away with it if you use the right oil. One that I think would work is something like Daly's SeaFin. http://www.dalyspaint.com/catalog_seafin.html I have used it with pretty good success both topsides and below. And of course, there is Cetol, and I think it would handle your situation pretty well also. This is one where the heavy pigment of the original types of Cetol would probably work to your advantage. Do be aware that the "original" Cetol has an orange brown tint that some folks aren't crazy about.
    -David
    Independence 31
    Emerald

  3. #3
    Principal Partner mherrcat's Avatar
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    You could try a grain filler before applying your final finish; something like Pore-o-Pac or Crystalac. They can sometimes be difficult to get right if it's not something you do a lot of. Trying to fill the grain with multiple coats of varnish is a fool's errand; if you do manage to accomplish a smooth finish without killing yourself, you will never want to pick up a varnish brush again...
    Mark H.
    1985 Ericson 30+

  4. #4
    Principal Partner mherrcat's Avatar
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    Don't know if grain fillers are something you can use with an oil finish; best to check with the manufacturer.
    Mark H.
    1985 Ericson 30+

  5. #5
    Contributing Member I
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    Thanks !

    Appreciate the feedback - - I do plan on using Cetol if I re-finish, and right now I am inclined to go that way - - I'll take a look at these other products as well - - never
    considered a grain filler and it seems like the right application.

    Yesterday I resigned myself to sand down as much as I possibly could so the condition is much better, but still some areas where I have some deep grooves and bits of old
    finish buried in there - - I think I'm ok with just finishing it - - I'm going to smoother grades today and hope to finish next weekend.
    Dan W
    E38 #532
    Magellanes

  6. #6
    Senior Moderator Loren Beach's Avatar
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    Lightbulb

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan W View Post
    Appreciate the feedback - - I do plan on using Cetol if I re-finish, and right now I am inclined to go that way - - I'll take a look at these other products as well - - never
    considered a grain filler and it seems like the right application.

    Yesterday I resigned myself to sand down as much as I possibly could so the condition is much better, but still some areas where I have some deep grooves and bits of old
    finish buried in there - - I think I'm ok with just finishing it - - I'm going to smoother grades today and hope to finish next weekend.
    One thing to keep in mind is that Cetol comes in four versions. We used to use the original stuff, which has a strong orange cast. Later I went with the "light" version, which looks quite a bit more natural.
    http://www.jamestowndistributors.com...&keyword=cetol

    Note B: whatever version you buy, this stuff is thin and covers a lot of area per can.
    All the cans I bought 15 years ago are still over half full.
    (We have always used hand rail covers, though, since they are the most difficult pieces to refinish.)

    Best,
    Loren
    1988 Olson 34 #8
    Sail # 28400
    Fresh Air
    Portland, OR USA

  7. #7
    Principal Partner mherrcat's Avatar
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    We have always used hand rail covers, though, since they are the most difficult pieces to refinish.
    I just recently had covers made for my hand rails for that very reason. They were not cheap, but if they extend the time between having to re-varnish they will be worth it in the long run. I was even thinking of having a cover made to snap on over the companionway boards. I wish the original owner of my boat had put covers on the hatches...
    Mark H.
    1985 Ericson 30+

  8. #8
    Innocent Bystander tenders's Avatar
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    FWIW, handrail covers are super-easy to sew. I think they were the first canvas project I ever tried, using Don Casey's explanation in This Old Boat.

  9. #9
    Contributing Member III
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    Funtionality

    Don't forget that the primary purpose of handrails is to provide something secure to grab onto so you don't fall overboard. Multiple coats of high gloss varnish look great but can be slippery to hold onto, especially when wet. I used a high-gloss exterior grade polyuruthane on my handrails. They look great, but aren't nearly as slippery as when varnished. Also, I painted just the visible surfaces, the bottom is still bare teak.

    Captain Don
    E26 Gitana

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