On a rainy day in June I refinished my galley and aft cabin sole floor panels. I brought the panels to my basement, applied a standard varnish/paint remover per can directions and removed the varnish. It took most of the varnish off so the next step was to sand the surface gently with the vibrator sander, being real careful not to stay on one area too long. If you do you will sand thru the veneer. After you have the panel looking like nice unfinished wood, coat it with your choice of Sherman Williams, Satin Polyurethane OR as I did use Minwax, Helmsman, Spar Urethane, Clear Semi Gloss. I prefer this because it is made for the water environment. It came out real sharp after three coats. Makes the rest of the floor panels look real bad. I will get to those after I haul in another month.
If you are good with a belt sander you can cut your sanding time but do NOT practice on these panels if you have not done much sanding.
The stairs leading from galley to cockpit have routed grooves cut into them that collect dirt and end up looking forever dirty. I read in Mainsheet about wood filler for these grooves but did not agree with that solution. After refinishing the galley sole floor, something had to be done with these steps.I first refinished the step as described in the sole floor re-finishing above. Then I filled the grooves with black silicone caulking.
This made the difference from looking only OK to looking GREAT. After the the many coats of varnish was dry on the steps, I taped very carefull around the grooves with painters tape. I could only do every other groove, as they were too close together for this process. The remaining grooves were done after the first was dry (day later). The ends of the grooves can be taped with three small pieces of tape to get close to the curve shape. Next take your caulking gun and fill the grooves, overfull, with black silcone caulk. Now take a single edge razor blade (have a few handy) and drag it on an angle firmly over the wet caulking. Make another pass to make it perfectly flat with the tape and "no ripples" in the caulk.. Carefully tear the tape off before the silicone caulk sets up. Wait a day and tape the remaining groves and complete the step.
Return steps to the boat and stand back and see how nice it looks up against the newly refinished sole floor.
Comments have been made about Urethane being slippery on the steps. Well....the silcone does give you a grip surface and all the "new" boats have varnished steps with grip areas. You always need to be careful.
Al and Michele #55 "Kindred Spirit"
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