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 had cured:
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 set screws).
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 have prevented.
© 2018 Melissa Goudeseune