E32-3: Brightwork, Remove the Handrails?


Sustaining Member
I recently took a heat-gun to all my on-deck screwed-down teak. I decided to bail on re-varnishing and decided to refinish just with Star-Brite Teak Sealer:
After the heat-gun/paint-scraper routine, I used a mid-grade Star brite pad to smooth the surfaces a bit:
and then used teak cleaner (recommended as prep before the sealer):

My taffrail was quite worn down compared to the relative high-points at each hardware attachment point - apparently from sanding and varnishing over the many past years by POs. I'd guess that it's now about 2/3 of it's original thickness(?). Yeah, a new piece of teak back there would look really nice but something about porcine facial decoration springs to mind. Plus, removing all the push-pit and stern cleat hardware, and getting it all back on again later, dropped that project so far down the to-do list that not even the next owner will find it.

Martin King

Sustaining Member
After some success on the grab rails (post #17 above) I'm taking on the teak stern trim too. Precious finish was Cetol, which is taking a good sanding to remove.

There is some heavier staining around some of the fittings. Would this be a good candidate for Te-Ka (or other cleaner) or should I just keep sanding?

Seems like the long-term fix is to rebed the fittings and make sure water can't get under the Cetol in the future.

View attachment 40213
That staining isn't too bad. It should respond to bleaching. You might try a couple of applications of oxalic acid, and yes you should pull the hardware.



E32-3 / San Francisco
Blue Tape Trauma

Has it really been that long since I started this? Sadly, yes. And I may never look at blue tape the same again. Here's what happened after 7 coats of Pettit Flagship Varnish 2015 went on and I attempted to take off the blue tape...


After removing a couple pockets-worth and experimenting with different removal processes, I realized my journey was only 1/6th complete. Remembering that petroleum distillates will stain fiberglass and gelcoat, I found Goof Off is actually safe for fiberglass (or so says the packaging). As I turned up the reggae music and cracked another beer, I worked through my playbook:
  1. Soak the tape in boat soap, just pink boat soap, very little H20, if any
  2. Use a beveled edge metal scraper to gently pry up the blue tape, leaving behind bits of residue and smurfiness
  3. Follow behind with boat soap water and a green scouring pad
  4. Follow a second time with Goof Off on a sponge for any remaining residue

I took a break in the middle and installed the new cowls in the stern rail and mid-deck dorade box. Nice, right?

PXL_20211003_212800280.jpg PXL_20211003_010325684.jpg

Many beers and hours later, I'm done. And, never will I ever... leave blue tape on the exterior of the boat again for more than 48 hours.


Martin King

Sustaining Member
That tape has been on since July?!? Guess you learned that lesson. Never ever leave a boat taped up for more than 4-5 days-especially in the summer months. And 3 coats max is all you get before re-taping. Wood looks great, good job.

Kenneth K

Contributing Partner
Blogs Author
Nice looking teak. I got my handrails done and the stern rail half-sanded before the weather turned wet and cool. I'm afraid I'll have to just let the sanded rail weather over the winter, awaiting refinishing in the spring.

Kenneth K

Contributing Partner
Blogs Author
CETOL blunder:

I applied the last (4th) coat of Cetol to my starboard grab-rails late in the afternoon because the morning had been damp with dew.

The dew must have returned early in the evening, before the Cetol dried, because the surface came out somewhat rough and opaque. It had been glossy and more transparent before this last coat.

Is there an easy fix for this? I can live with as is, but I won't sand it down to bare wood again.