I first refinished the brightwork on Brave and Crazy during the winter of 2001.
I have no idea what finish was on them originally. However, a heat gun and a
putty knife made short work of the finish without harming the wood. The
left hatchboard is bare wood, the right one is the original finish.
I also found that the heat softened the glue used to assemble the
hatchboards, so I took advantage of this opportunity to reglue them.
Also while I had the brightwork off the boat, I removed the pop-top cover
for cleaning and repairs. This is the inside of the spray hood, where the
companionway cover slides under. In the third photo you see the layer of
fiberglass I applied to strengthen a small crack in the forward edge.
This is the final result, after three coats of Cetol.
I was somewhat surprised to find that the two edges of the companionway
cover were not aligned. I solved this by building up the surface with
thickened epoxy. While the epoxy was still wet, I laid the cover down
on a perfectly flat surface. This is what it looked like after the epoxy
The next step was to lay down a layer of fiberglass for wear resistance.
It was much easier and predictable to wet out the fiberglass on my
workbench and then apply it to the companionway cover, than to try and wet
it out in place.
With all the teak trim removed from the companionway, I also found out that
the liner had partially separated at the companionway. Thickened epoxy
(to keep it from running out) solved this. I'm using Cold Cure epoxy, as
this work was done in April 2001, when it was still too cold for regular
epoxy to cure properly outside.
A few photos of the open companionway, and me mixing epoxy for the
companionway repair above.
All the teak reinstalled. Every piece had been marked with its location
when I removed it, using a Sharpie marker. In the last photo, you can see
me testing for leaks using a garden sprayer.
Not pictured: hatchboard refinishing
In 2004, the Cetol finish on the hatchboards had degraded significantly.
Physical durability is not Cetol's strong point. I refinished the two
hatchboards, first laying down two coats of epoxy as a durable base coat.
After curing for a week, this was followed with two coats of Cetol for
appearance and UV protection.
Handrail removal for refinishing
The only problem with doing something TOO well, is that sometimes you need
to undo it. I found myself in this predicament during the winter of
2004/2005, trying to remove the handrails.
I had installed them in 2001 using 4200 sealant. So, it should be fairly
easy to remove, correct? Well, I removed ALL the screws holding the
handrails down, and they didn't move.
I tried many different options: knives, chisels, chemicals. Nothing could
remove that pad of 4200 underneath every attachment point.
I finally found a wire-style automotive windshield remover at Princess
Auto. It worked, sort of. The problem was that it was designed for
cutting through 1/2" wide sealant. The 4200 was about 1/8" thick and
1.5" x 2". That's a lot of area to cut through. I actually heated the
wire to glowing red by pulling it back and forth. Twice, the wire broke
with frustrating but comical results.
What eventually worked was this Rube Goldberg contraption you see here.
It's an automotive spring compressor working in reverse, acting on the
auto windshield remover (the two gold handles, which hold the wire with
By slowly turning the ratchet, the wire crosses over, cutting the 4200. In
the fourth photo here, you can see the shadow of the crossover highlighted in
the red circle.
Here are photos of the tool in use. The only thing I would do differently is
to make sure to put some carpet under the tool to protect the gelcoat. I
did some minor damage to my gelcoat, which closer attention to this could
© 2018 Melissa Goudeseune