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Author Topic:   Refinishing wood gunnales
MikeC posted 01-13-2001 08:40 PM ET (US)   Profile for MikeC   Send Email to MikeC  
I just finished sanding all the teak trim inside my 20 Revenge and now I have to do the Gunnales,Is it a major job to take these off or should I do them on the boat?
Peter posted 01-15-2001 09:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
I'd do them on the boat. Also, what condition are they in? Very grey or dark? If so, try a 2 part teak cleaner first. That should bring the color back.
tarbaby posted 01-15-2001 10:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for tarbaby  Send Email to tarbaby     
If you do them on the boat, the undersides of the wood don't get coated. In my experience, if the teak is sealed on all sides the job will last about twice as long.Yes it might take longer to do but you won't drip varnish on the gelcoat.
Peter posted 01-15-2001 11:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Although it might look nice, I wouldn't varnish the teak gunnels for at least two reasons. One, even sealed, they'll eventually peel because teak is a relatively oily wood. Two, with a smooth varnished surface, you create a slick surface when wet which is something you don't want if you have to walk on them for ingress or egress to the boat. Bare, and even oiled, teak is not very slippery when wet.
dfmcintyre posted 01-15-2001 04:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Mike -

If they are mounted the same way the gunnels on the 25's were, trying to take them off would be a pain. I found in my old Revenge, that they had been caulked in place, and if I remember right, the rubrail might even need to be moved.

Anyways, I ended up stripping all the hardware off of them, i.e. grab rails, canvas snaps, a little stainless steel strip along the top, etc.

Then stripped it with teak cleaner, and power sanded. Got down to I believe 220 paper then applied multiple coats of a good teak oil. Didn't even think about varnish (did the arnish routine on everything else... engine hatches, doorway frame and door, pocket doors, etc) because it can get pretty slippery, and everyone wanted to put a shoe on that surface.

Only did it about every three years.


hauptjm posted 01-17-2001 10:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
Been there, done that!!! Seriously, I have an 18 that I refinished last year. All of my teak was in horrible condition. If you have the time, take the gunnels off. It's not too difficult, and will make the stripping/sanding that much easier. If you're not inclined to put the time and patience into it, you can still do a good job with them on. Just be patient, and careful of your fiberglass. I agree, no varnish. I oil mine twice a year (boat lives under a cover when not in use). Be careful not to use teak cleaner too often. It does degrade the wood surface. You'll find yourself sanding again, and that just reduces your wood thickness everytime you sand. Another consideration, if you live in a warm, damp climate (I'm in New Orleans) you have to be careful of a mildew that can build in over-oiled teak. It has a green hue to it, and can usually be cleaned with simple dish washing detergent and a firm brush (not stiff). When you're done, forward some pictures to jimh, we'd love to see your results.
JB posted 01-17-2001 02:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for JB  Send Email to JB     
ONE of the secrets in keeping "brightwork" nice is to revarnish before it starts peeling. This depends on what type of exposure it gets, i.e., sunlight, salt, etc. If you go over it with some light BRONZE wool or 220-320 grit sandpaper before it really needs it (say every two years in this case) the work will be much easier then total refinishing.
MikeC posted 01-17-2001 03:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for MikeC  Send Email to MikeC     
Thanks for all the responses,I think I would like to take them off and do it.I just have to wait till the weather warms up.

Mike C

Peter posted 01-17-2001 09:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     

Are they varnished or just dry and dirty?

matt posted 01-17-2001 09:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for matt  Send Email to matt     
I thought teak gunnels were oiled not sealed.I have A 30' PURSUIT and never varnished.never dawned on me.guess i'm just dumb in alabama.
ps., yes we have toilets
MikeC posted 01-19-2001 03:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for MikeC  Send Email to MikeC     
I am not really sure what is on them,They just look kinda nasty.
QBrennan posted 01-19-2001 04:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for QBrennan  Send Email to QBrennan     
I leave mine on and do them every other year. They look awesome, but I understand how taking them off would be better.
I like Teak Oil , not varnish.
Peter posted 01-19-2001 05:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     

If it doesn't look like the gun'l boards are varnished, try a good two part teak cleaner first when the weather warms up. Follow the directions carefully and keep the fiberglass wet and rinsed all the time. Do about a 2 to 3 foot section at a time. Sounds like they have been left au naturale for sometime. The first part of the teak cleaner will get the dirt out of the wood and actually make it darker looking. The second part will lighten up the wood. Oil will put some nice color on it. Last time I oiled my wood gun'l boards with the Starbrite brand which seemed to hold up much better than West's golden teak oil. I usually strip once and apply oil several times a season since my boat is stored outdoors.

george nagy posted 01-19-2001 07:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for george nagy  Send Email to george nagy     
I use Sikkens Cetol marine penetrating stain on my 18's gunnels. It holds up good in the south Florida climate. I recoat without sanding about two times per year. When I first did it I left the gunnels on but took off the cleats, ss trim, rod holders, etc.. and sanded. My teak was in bad shape prior. The stain lasts longer than oil and doesn't have the characteristics of varnish. Good luck!

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