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Thread: cabin sole refinishing vs. replacement

  1. #1
    Inactive Member ccorcoran's Avatar
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    Unhappy cabin sole refinishing vs. replacement

    We have an 1987 E34 and, as you might expect, there are more than a few on-going projects to maintain and upgrade our boat. BTW, thanks for all the info on Cetol - I too dislike the orange color and will be refinishing the exterior brightwork in the fall. Another project is replacing/refinishing the cabin sole. I beleive I've read ALL the strings on this site about replacing the sole (great info from all concerned, especially Loren's approach); our intention was to remove the sole, have it striped, refinish and reinstall it. Alas, it's glued down. That said, removal=destruction. Our choices are now more limited. I've read the original Ericson manual that recommends a light sanding (enough to allow the varnish to adhere). However, I'd like to hear from some people who have sanded, cleaned and revarnished the sole - in site - without replacing it. How much sanding is possible before the top layer of the veneer disintigrates? How about the dark stains, are they able to be lighted with Oxalic acid or other teak brightener? What varnish works best? Do you need more than three coats? Is scuff sanding enough and simply "live" with the discoloration/imperfections (it's not REAL dark, only dark in spots with no appearance of "softening" or rot)? Any suggestions or experience would be greatly appreciated. I'd like to anticipate some of the possible mistakes/issues before I encounter them!

    Thanks,

    Chris

  2. #2
    Your Friendly Administrator Sean Engle's Avatar
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    Watch it when you sand...

    Or you'll go right through it. When I first got my boat, the corner in the head (between the head and the shower) was black with mold - so I sanded it with a power sander.

    I was pleased with what I could do - but kept noticing this one little spot that would not come out. I got the sander out and really hit it - and it started growing. It was only then that I realized I had pushed all the way through the vaneer and into the substraight...

    I would like to totally rip mine out and replace it - but will probably just sand it (lightly) and then try to bleach out the mold spots (where they exist) and refinish....we'll see....

    //sse

  3. #3
    Principal Partner
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    I'd rip it all out and replace with solid wood. You can't sand
    that veneer very much without blowing through to the
    substrate and trying to spot bleach veneer plywood often
    results in less than stellar results. Besides, demolition
    is good therapy!

    Martin King

  4. #4
    Fellow Ericson Owner Geoff Johnson's Avatar
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    When I got my 1985 boat in 1996 the PO had done noting to take care of the sole and as far as I could tell, the only finish was ground in dirt. So, not knowing any better, I got soap and water and scrubbed the hell out of it. After letting it dry (water gets under the plywood too), I put down speed varnish, and then some polyurethane (Minwax as I recall). One area didn't come out so well, so I used a water based paint remover and did it again. I am very pleased with the results and have never resorted to sandpaper. However, because the OEM sole is unprotected from the underside, I am a fanatic about keeping water out of the cabin lest water get under the sole to blacken the wood and lift the poly.

  5. #5
    Contributing Member II
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    I'm also going to redo my sole soon. It's not badly stained, but the varnish is peeling up around the edges and the exposed wood is dried out. My plan is to lightly sand the surface and just start laying on coats. What kind of finish do you use? Is Interlux 95 sufficient, or do you need something that is specially made for floors? Is the Minwax polyurethane a marine product? Does it matter?

  6. #6
    Fellow Ericson Owner Geoff Johnson's Avatar
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    The Minwax is just a hardware store finish for floors. I'm not sure it matters all that much, although mixing varnish and poly may not be advisable. But on reflection, I did put the poly over the speed varnish (which is a thinned varnish that penetrates the wood better). As I said, I would use a water based paint remover (to avoid toxic fumes) instead of sanding since there is so little wood to work with (as Sean has pointed out).

  7. #7
    Contributing Member II
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    Does anyone know anything about Bristol Finish? They make some pretty strong claims. Is it OK for the sole?

    http://www.bristolfinish.com/

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