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Old 29-01-2012, 13:22   #1
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Wood Interior Looks Old - Help !

Starting on Monday, Im cleaning the inside of my C&C 27. The wood looks old and I want to bring it back to life. should I sand it all re-stain and then varnish? If I have to sand what grain of sand paper should I use? Thanks
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Old 29-01-2012, 13:27   #2
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Re: wood interior looks old Help!

What's the state of the varnish? "Strip it down and build back up" is the easiest answer, but it's also an incredible amount of work and renders the interior a mess for a long time with dust and fumes.

Maybe start with a small area, and see if you can just 220 the varnish a bit, and then lay on 5 new coats. Even that will take you a week (letting it dry between coats) and turn the place into a gas chamber. But it will show you what you can accomplish without needing to heat gun all the old stuff off and get down to bare wood.
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Old 29-01-2012, 13:42   #3
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Re: wood interior looks old Help!

I bought the boat from someone who rented it to divers. There is hardly any varnish that I can see on most of the wood areas. I dont mind spending the time to do it.

Someone said that I have to be careful sanding because most of the older boats have mohagony interior and its not really 100% Mohoganoy. I prefer the cherry look and was thinking of sanding it all down re-staining then varnish everything. what do you think?
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Old 29-01-2012, 14:00   #4
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Re: wood interior looks old Help!

Could be veneer - and that comes in various thicknesses - and even "solid" plywood sands through (eventually!).

My recomendation would be............paint.

Covers a multiple of sins, including water staining (never really comes out unless sanded through) and brightens up the interior.

Not to say that can't keep some wood trim to break things up a bit visually.
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Old 29-01-2012, 14:08   #5
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Re: wood interior looks old Help!

I think sanding will be my choice. I love the wood look and I really dont mind the work. Im thinking 3 weeks to complete everything with this cold weather also.. Thank you everyone
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Old 29-01-2012, 14:56   #6
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Re: wood interior looks old Help!

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Originally Posted by NaturalMystic View Post
I think sanding will be my choice. I love the wood look and I really dont mind the work. Im thinking 3 weeks to complete everything with this cold weather also.. Thank you everyone
David steered you right, most woodwork on boat interiors are plywood, trim may or may not be solid. The veneer can be as thin as tissue paper and the inexperienced will sand through to the substrate in short order.
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Old 29-01-2012, 15:02   #7
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Wow!!! Have to think it over well thanks guys!!! Great advice
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Old 29-01-2012, 15:04   #8
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Re: wood interior looks old Help!

If you get serious about refinishing there is a meathod that works well for removing the old finish with out destroying the veneer. Pictures of the areas you want to restore would be needed.
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Old 29-01-2012, 15:33   #9
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Re: wood interior looks old Help!

Scrape, don;t sand. It's the cabinet makers method.
A square edge blade of thin steel dragged across the timber while held square to the face.
When reasonably clean and the remnants of old varnish are even then apply trebled thinned varnish to soak into everything. (3 parts thinners to one part varnish).
Next is a coat of equal parts, when dry or immediately after the first coat.
If the appearance isn't acceptable then consider painting or stripping down to fresh veneer and starting from scratch.
For stains in dry wood try a little bleach, leave for a couple of days to see how it turns out. I've not done this myself.
Personally I'd accept it's an old boat and do what's needed to make it look cared for rather than recycled.
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Old 29-01-2012, 19:58   #10
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Wow I love this site!!! Getting great ideas thank you all.. Thats method sound much easier. I might try that thank you
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Old 29-01-2012, 20:10   #11
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Re: wood interior looks old Help!

Use my trick -- sand a small test area somewhere out of sight - back in the corner of a quarterberth whatever. Then redo it as you'd like and see what you think. That will give you an idea of what you have, veneer, etc. From there, you can try an entire wall -- again, one that's generally out of sight if possible. I started with redoing the inside of a hatch where there wasn't any varnish left - stripped it, sanded with 80 grit, then 220, then varnished with satin varnish. Turned out OK, so I redid the exterior teak because I'm still overwhelmed about tackling the inside. But I'm now confident I can restore it, it's just a question of SO much work and I'd rather go sailing..... There's a bit about our varnish projects in the blog if you're interested.
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Old 30-01-2012, 02:26   #12
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Re: wood interior looks old Help!

On our boat, areas that suffer(ed) the most wear and tear seem to be around galley and navigation station. On those areas, there are two kinds on parts that require very different kind of treatment. What is solid teak, is very easy to work with. Just sand or scrape off the worn out surface and give it the layers of new varnish. Easy and straightforward, hard to make mistakes. Sime parts, like drawers and cabinet doors, can also easily be taken out and fixed at home garage or some place else not filling the boat with dust and fumes.

The hard part is the plywood sections. On most plywoods, the teak layer is fairly thin. At least for me, it is hard to make judgement, if it is only the varnish that is already gone, or has the teak film worn out, too. Sand it just a bit too much, and you have a new problem - no teak. Sure enough, you can tint your varnish, but it is a longish path of trial and error before the colors will match. However, you and I are certainly not the first persons with this issue, so I think it would be fair to assume, that teak or mahongy tinted varnishes should be available on paint stores and chandleries with a reasonable variety on shades available.

One more hint. Just start with the solid teak sections that look the worst. Every piece that has been fixed makes the the entire boat look better. Sure enough you can do it all at once, but you can also take it slowly. Just every time you leave the boat, do something small. By the next day/time you come back, the fumes are gone and you can keep on sailing.
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Old 30-01-2012, 04:38   #13
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Pictures would help.
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Old 30-01-2012, 05:16   #14
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Re: Wood Interior Looks Old - Help !

Adding to what has been said, couple of things that may be of use to you.

I assume that you have used electric heatguns before, if not keep moving if you leave some behind go back later don't try for perfection 1 st time.

The most difficult areas are those where you are forced to work across the grain regardless of what stripping method you are using. The advice about scarifying the surface with metal blades is good especial if the varnish had broken down and is flaky. What i normally use (where i can) is steel wool instead of sandpaper as it leaves a smother surface. By that i mean that it is less likely to remove the softer wood leaving the grain proud. Also when used near edges it is less likely to round the edges off. When trying to remove flaky pain/varnish some old school cabinet makers used pieces of broken glass. If you are forced to patch in small areas of veneer cut them so that they meet the existing grain at an angle rather than square on. Think diamond shape patches rather than square.

Oh yea, pic please we all love boat porn and seeing that suffering of others
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Old 30-01-2012, 06:48   #15
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Here are some pictures.. Hope this might help. Picture was taken with my phone sorry

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