Monday, 20 April 2009

Sanding, Cetol and Stella Artois

For some time now Stella has been the unofficial official beer of Iris. Some of the other guys in the marina get quite excited about other types of malted drinks, but I like Stella, so on Friday after work I took all my teak into the garage, and after cracking a Stella settled in for some epoxying.

Lets back up by a couple hours (at least). Earlier last week (it may have been Thursday or Friday, I've lost track). I headed into town to my favourite chandlery with my mangled teak in hand. They looked at it, and said "So?!?" Apparently many folks have similar outcomes when removing their grab rails, and the typical thing to do is just to glue them up and move along. Since I already had epoxy at home, all I needed was a few basic supplies to be back on track. I got a tube of caulk and some bolts and teak plugs, and headed out.

All the stuff stayed in the back of the van while I continued ruminating, then on Friday night, the Stella was cracked open, the epoxy mixed, and I was in business. The first thing I did was to epoxy the chips that had completely broken off back on to the hand rails. In hindsight, I should have saved these for last and done the splits first, but now I know for next time. Gluing was easy. Paint the wood with the epoxy, put the chip back in place, clamp, have a drink of Stella, move along.

It took about 17 minutes to do both chips, and now it was time for the splits. I did the smaller split first in case something went wrong. I should have done the bigger split first, but hey, I'm on a learning curve. The way to epoxy split wood is to open the split, coat the wood with epoxy, and then tilt the wood so that the epoxy runs down into the split. A friend at work had suggested that he uses drill bits to hold the wood open. just put one across the grain of the wood, and roll it deeper into the split to open it up more. This works really well. I was able to cover the wood with epoxy, and tilt it so the glue ran deep into the crack. Just one problem, the epoxy was starting to harden. It ran slowly. Eventually, I was convinced that the split was OK, and I clamped it and left it for the night. Same with the worst of the splits which had the need for the epoxy to run the most, although by now it was even slower to run in and fill the gaps.

Saturday morning I came down to check my work. Epoxy was all drooly everywhere. Since the garage has a sand floor, I wasn't too concerned about the mess it had made there, but I wondered if I would ever be done sanding all this epoxy off the wood. Plus there were still traces of the old finish on the wood here and there that needed to be sanded down.

After breakfast I ran to the hardware store and bought a few sheets of sandpaper. Then I sat and sanded until after lunch. It was a long process, and I was aware of the good weather I was missing. I could have been doing so many other things! Eventually the wood looked like teak, and was ready for Cetol.

Cetol is a oil based coating that isn't varnish or oil. I don't really know what it is but it lightly colours teak, protects it, and still looks fairly natural. I wanted 4 coats of it on the teak before I put the wood on the boat. I got my last coat on around 10:00 PM.

Today the wood looks good and feels solid. I would post pics but SWMBO has the camera. Maybe I'll put them up once the teak is on the boat.

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