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Old 29-11-2014, 00:06   #1
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Help Me Refinish My Cabin Sole- YouTube

Hey fellow cruisers,

I'm attempting to do something I know nothing about and am willing to put in all the hard work in the world as long I get some guidance. Please take a look at my cabin sole. What do I do? what's wrong here? Now do keep in mind that I beleive that there is no actual water damage/rot as it feels real solid when stepping on it.

I own this boat since Tuesday and figure i would sand this down until i remove this worn bubbly looking finished wood until it brings it's natural color out and then varnish over it..

I'm not sure if this is even a good idea.

I've never done this and would love to know some speculation as to what is actually wrong, what materials to use , how to use them, in a basic step by step format. Any solid help will be rewarded after I upload my results to my youtube channel.
http://youtu.be/_8YRa7G7HF0

www.youtube.com/jorgecornet or www.youtube.com/subwaysailor
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Old 29-11-2014, 00:16   #2
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Re: Help Me Refinish My Cabin Sole- YouTube

Congrats on the boat purchase. Very strange situation with the sole. Now quite sure what to make of it except that it looks like it could possibly have a failed epoxy or polyester coating on it. If you go to the paint department at home cheapo you can get a heat gun for about fifteen bucks.

Something tells me this will be better to remove the old finish than sanding. Best of luck!
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Old 29-11-2014, 00:46   #3
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Re: Help Me Refinish My Cabin Sole- YouTube

Heat gun and do what?


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Old 29-11-2014, 07:08   #4
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Re: Help Me Refinish My Cabin Sole- YouTube

Use the heat gun to soften the bubbly finish and scrape it off with a putty knife or scrapper. Might be easier than trying to sand it off but you need an industrial heat gun, a hair dryer will not get hot enough.

Sanding can be a lot of work and depending on the finish, your sandpaper can get clogged up quick so you end up having to use a lot of sandpaper. The heat gun makes the finish soft and can cause it to lift up from the surface making it much easier to remove.

You will have to be careful to avoid damaging the adjacent finishes but usually you can use a piece of plywood as a shield. Once you are down to bare wood you can sand it smooth with fine sandpaper and apply your varnish. A polyurethane type suitable for wood floors should suffice. Best of luck!
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Old 29-11-2014, 07:17   #5
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Re: Help Me Refinish My Cabin Sole- YouTube

i would use a heat gun or 150 grit in a small section to see what you have. Indeed it looks like a failed costing with water penetration. If it's a solid teak holly sole you shouldn't have a problem. In not, be prepared to replace. Once sanded and looking like you want, use Ultra Sole for a finish. Did mine and it's incredible.. Not to mention it's not slick when wet.
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Old 29-11-2014, 07:25   #6
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Re: Help Me Refinish My Cabin Sole- YouTube

Ok..just looked at your video. (Slower with the camera movements.. I'm now dizzy) and she has had a serious amount of water incursion. You can see the runs on the bulkheads. You need to stop any leaks before you do anything. Survey? What did it turn up? Bulkhead rot or anything? If it's all good then tons of sanding and refinishing, after the leaks are stopped.

Gorgeous boat.. I love the southern cross line (and own a double ender myself).
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Old 29-11-2014, 07:32   #7
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Re: Help Me Refinish My Cabin Sole- YouTube

if the floor is solid wood then you are good to go. eventually you will need to sand the floor smooth. hopefully the water stains will dissappear at this point. there will be a huge mess with dust everywhere. before varnish you will need to remove as much dust as you can with vacuum. in new york you need to be concerned about the cold temps and how they will affect the varnish. read the instructions carefully. take your time and good luck.
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Old 29-11-2014, 07:43   #8
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Re: Help Me Refinish My Cabin Sole- YouTube

"...If it's a solid teak holly sole you shouldn't have a problem." Agreed

"If not, be prepared to replace." Not necessarily, we were on a friend's yacht a few days ago and due to old age/wear & tear, they had 'lost the top' of several areas of veneered ply flooring. Having discovered the cost of replacement boards, they instead coarse-sanded the whole floor and then covered each panel/hatch with a timber-effect cushioned & non-slip vinyl sheet flooring. Admittedly the job has yet to pass the 'test of time', but it looks great and the owners report that the floor's both noticeably warmer and less slippery when damp, than the original veneered ply; I'll wait twelve months to see how theirs lasts, but it's certainly got us thinking about doing the same thing.
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Old 29-11-2014, 07:51   #9
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Re: Help Me Refinish My Cabin Sole- YouTube

Pirate999, I'm also looking at refinishing our teak and holly sole. I tried to find "Ultra Sole" online with no luck. Do you have a manufacturer or other source for that product? To the OP, best of luck on your project.
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Old 29-11-2014, 07:57   #10
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Re: Help Me Refinish My Cabin Sole- YouTube

Anne, I'll be at the boat today and get the manufacturer for you. It's been 6 years so I don't remember off hand.
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Old 29-11-2014, 08:02   #11
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Re: Help Me Refinish My Cabin Sole- YouTube

Anne.. It's actually called "ultimate sole".. Not ultra sole. hell getting old. Lol.
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Old 29-11-2014, 08:14   #12
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Re: Help Me Refinish My Cabin Sole- YouTube

Well, looks like ultimate sole is out of business. What a shame. After 6 years of fairly regular use my sole is as nice as the day I refinished it. The non skid aspect is what attracted me too.
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Old 29-11-2014, 08:36   #13
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Re: Help Me Refinish My Cabin Sole- YouTube

If you go the way of the heat gun, be very careful. It is extremely easy to scorch the wood and those char marks will never come out. See if you can find a u-tube video on it. Otherwise aim the heat gun at a small area until you start to see the old finish just start to bubble. Remove the heat but be careful where you point the heat gun, you don't want to damage something else or burn the boat down. After removing the heat, use a paint scraper on the bubbled area to remove the old finish. Repeat until you are sick of it or the job is done. Once finished I would go over it with something like 180 grit to get a smooth even finish. Then apply whatever you want.

Since you are doing this in an enclosed space, get plenty of ventilation you might even find a respirator useful, not a dust mask. Finally, as others have noted if the existing surface is a veneer, it's probably shot and delaminated or you will sand right through it and have to replace it. Good Old Boat magazine earlier this year had an article showing how one owner did that step-by-step.

Good luck,
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Old 29-11-2014, 10:55   #14
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Re: Help Me Refinish My Cabin Sole- YouTube

I agree with all that's been said. As regards a heat gun (recommend Bosch) and lots of sanding. For this I'd get a good quality orbital sander. This is something that you'll use many times over the years and I'd get a good one (Makita; Bosch, etc - as they say you get what you pay for). Getting epoxy off a cabin sole can be a bear of a job and the only way to do it is with a heat gun and flat scraper. Once you get in the right plane sometimes you can elevate large portions of epoxy/old varnish using a flat spatula and heat gun.

The wood in your boat seems very stained and may not be salvageable (you could try bleach here). What you may consider, if this is the case, is to use the old cabin sole as a template, get some good quality marine plywood (3/4") and make a new cabin sole. In most sailboats the cabin sole is beveled and I would use a saber or reciprocating saw (rent one or buy one). Then I would order some teak and holly laminate; Maine Coast lumber (York - Maine Coast Lumber, 35 Birch Hill Rd, 03909 800/899 1664) and epoxy this to the marine ply (West System 105/205). And then give it a good sanding and then about 8 coats of two-pack Epiphanes sanding between each coats using 400 grit sandpaper between the last few coats. A power orbital sander on a nice flat surface makes this an easy job.

I did this to create a cabin sole in my anchor locker on my Hinckley 50 yawl. After a few coats of Epiphanes Two-pack and gloss, I swear that it looked better than the teak and holly cabin sole in the focs'l and main cabin (some of the guys at Hinckley agreed).

Good luck and have fun.
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Old 29-11-2014, 11:45   #15
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Re: Help Me Refinish My Cabin Sole- YouTube

I will add when using a heat gun I use a large metal drywall knife (12" wide) to shield the heat from adjacent wood that I don't want to remove the varnish from.
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