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Old 24-02-2016, 10:52   #1
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Varnish in place or remove to the workshop?

Hello. The exterior handrails are in need of varnish. I could do it in place and tape like crazy and lay down a lot of drop cloth to prevent an "oops" when (not if) I spill some of the varnish. The alternative is to remove the headliner in the salon and unscrew the handrails and take them home to work on them at my workbench.

I'm interested to hear what others have done along with any tips and traps to avoid. My boat is a 1986 33' Newport.
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Old 24-02-2016, 10:55   #2
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Re: Varnish in place or remove to the workshop?

Leave in place. Usually the rails are both glued/epoxied and screwed in. Its not too difficult to tape.
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Old 24-02-2016, 11:01   #3
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Re: Varnish in place or remove to the workshop?

It might be a good opportunity to renew the bedding compound and seal the core of the deck.

I removed mine, drilled the holes over-size, filled with epoxy, drilled to the bolt size, then rebedded with new compound. No leaks for a long time, hopefully!
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Old 24-02-2016, 11:12   #4
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Re: Varnish in place or remove to the workshop?

Varnish or orange stuff? How is the wood? If it is crappy, usually easier/better to start from scratch. I take a narrow screwdriver and scrape away the nonskid at the base of the wood which allows better taping or even careful freehand varnishing. Usually takes longer to tape than varnish.

Sun covers on handrails are easy. This varnish is three years old and more or less unmaintained in south Florida
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Old 24-02-2016, 11:24   #5
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Re: Varnish in place or remove to the workshop?

sanibel sailor - The wood's in good shape; weathered where the varnish has flaked off. "nonskid at the base of the wood"?

MarkSF Were your handrails glued/epoxied in place? If the were, had did you remove them without damaging the top of the salon?

ZBoss Thanks for your response. I'm inclined the remove them as I could work on them over a few days at home in a controlled environment. You have me concerned though about them being epoxied in place.
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Old 24-02-2016, 11:26   #6
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Re: Varnish in place or remove to the workshop?

You did a beautiful job on them. How many coats?
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Old 24-02-2016, 11:34   #7
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Re: Varnish in place or remove to the workshop?

new wood, 3-4 coats... contrary to the experts
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Old 24-02-2016, 11:59   #8
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Re: Varnish in place or remove to the workshop?

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Originally Posted by daviddiscenza View Post
sanibel sailor - The wood's in good shape; weathered where the varnish has flaked off. "nonskid at the base of the wood"?

MarkSF Were your handrails glued/epoxied in place? If the were, had did you remove them without damaging the top of the salon?

ZBoss Thanks for your response. I'm inclined the remove them as I could work on them over a few days at home in a controlled environment. You have me concerned though about them being epoxied in place.
No, mine were bolted through the roof and bedded with ordinary bedding compound.

No problem removing the rails.

If you look at the top of the rail, are there round plugs every few inches? They should conceal the bolt heads.
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Old 24-02-2016, 14:48   #9
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Re: Varnish in place or remove to the workshop?

Sanibel, did you get my email address?

Sent from my SM-T550 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
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Old 25-02-2016, 08:17   #10
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Re: Varnish in place or remove to the workshop?

taking them home is really the right way. controlled environment, no bugs no dust faster and better drying
its worth the effort
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Old 25-02-2016, 08:35   #11
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Re: Varnish in place or remove to the workshop?

Take them home and take the time to do it right.

Then use the opportunity to rebed them.

Also a good idea to make covers to keep them beautiful longer.
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Old 25-02-2016, 08:36   #12
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Re: Varnish in place or remove to the workshop?

We just sold our 1985 Newport 28 and if your vinyl headliner is the same it would be a nightmare mess to remove then try to reinstall. I saw another Newport whose owner had removed one side to do some work and it convinced me to refinished handrails in situ.
We really loved our Newport "Margaritaville" but the one thing I didn't like was that damn vinyl headliner which prevented me from adding anything to the cabin top without having to remove it.
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Old 25-02-2016, 08:50   #13
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Re: Varnish in place or remove to the workshop?

+1 to Xthewater. If you have to mess with the headliner varnish in place.
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Old 25-02-2016, 08:56   #14
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Re: Varnish in place or remove to the workshop?

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Originally Posted by Xthewater View Post
We just sold out 1985 Newport 28 and if your vinyl headliner is the same it would be a nightmare mess to remove them try to reinstall. I saw another Newport whose owner had removed one side to do some work and it convinced me to refinished handrails in situ.
Well, that settles that. It probably is the same type of headliner and I do not want to make more work for myself that necessary. So, in situ it is.

Thanks to all who replied. I appreciate your sharing your experience.
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Old 25-02-2016, 09:34   #15
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Re: Varnish in place or remove to the workshop?

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If you look at the top of the rail, are there round plugs every few inches? They should conceal the bolt heads.
Do those bungs need to be removed to work the bolts? Or are the heads likely secured in the holes so you can just remove/reinstall with the nuts inside the boat?
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