Restoring the Cap-rail

Once the teak cap-rail was off the boat I brought it home to refinish in the air conditioning.  Its been oppressively hot lately and I honestly was starting to worry about the dangers of working outside in the heat on the farm alone.  I was drinking plenty of fluids but there were still several times that I was dizzy and felt like my heart was about to come through my chest!

The teak has been sitting outside for over ten years, uncovered and untreated.  Not only is it silver but the grain is very pronounced and there is actually lichen growing on it in several places.  The first step was removing all the sealant (and lichen!).  This was quite difficult but a razor scraper made it somewhat easier.

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I then sanded everything down starting with 80 grit (yes that is how bad it was!!) and working my way up to 220.  The teak really started to glow and I was pleasantly surprised that we didn’t loose too much with the sanding.  I was really careful just to knock the peaks off and once we got down into the valleys of the grain I stopped.  I’m worried because its already thin and its going to be very hard to bung the screw and bolt holes once re-installed.  Here’s a before and after:

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After sanding down a bit more and cleaning with acetone the wood was ready for its first coat of varnish.  I used a 50:50 mix of Awlgrip M3131 varnish and Awlgrip T0016.  This really allows the wood to soak up the varnish and creates a great base coat.

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And then the varnishing began.  My process is two coats a day then a good sand with very fine grit paper and another two coats.  I’m about halfway done right now with four coats plus the first reduced coat.  I’m going to stop at 8  coats.

Here is a before and after as the first two coats were applied:

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Then I hand sanded with a very fine paper:

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And added two more coats.  The coat after coat the grain really starts looking more and more beautiful.


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