[E35-3] Companionway Ladder Refinish / Repair

Hagar2sail

Member III
Blogs Author
We are starting to work on refinishing our ladder, the wear in spots is totally through the finish, and it needs help. One of the things mystifying me though is there are grooves with nonskid tape in them. Removing one of these strips, we could see that the finish was perfect, meaning someone had previously varnished then added these, but mysterious part is the edges of the grooves are almost sharp, not contoured as I would expect if varnish was put over a hard edge. Has anyone refinished a ladder like this before? Any tricks to repeating the magic trick?

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Also, one of the top connection pieces had a hole that has partially failed. I have read elsewhere that people have filled these with epoxy, but I can't imagine that takes a screw well? And if I screw it in wet, I am assuming that little bit of hardware would never come off again?? Tips are appreciated, thanks!

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Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
I think the factory varnished first, then just stuck on the standard 1" adhesive nonskid. I've restored the ladders a couple of times, stripping the treds only with a heat gun. Satisfying and pretty easy. I covered the nonskid groves with tape during varnishing.

I think it's common for the hang fittings to work loose in the mahogany. The overdrill trick is to drill out the old hole to make it a bit larger, fill with thickened epoxy, then redrill for screw or bolt. Worth the bother because the fittings get a lot of stress.

Ericson ladders are a thing of beauty, no?
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
Like Christian, I have refinished our ladder, sanding it down some so I had a clean base, removing the tape which is not hard to do, and then adding a few coats of gloss varnish. It has held up really well for many years, though I have replaced the black non skid tape when it got worn down.
As for the hole in yours, you could epoxy and drill, or maybe drill a round hole and glue in an appropriate sized dowel that would take your screws.
Good luck! Refinishing the ladder does make the boat look better!
Frank
 

Kevin A Wright

Member III
I'm about to start refinishing mine on my '86 E35 3. Didn't notice that there were grooves where the non skid went? I have a chunk that has come off and it just looked like the adhesive was left behind. I'll have to look closer when I get to it. Just waiting for warmer weather so I can do it on the boat while I touch up the varnish in other spots.

I'm with Frank. Don't like pouring epoxy in holes. Prefer to drill out and plug the holes. If you have a plug cutter and some scrap mahogany you can make your own plug that will match and keep the grain orientation correct. End grain is not good for holding screws.

Kevin Wright
E35 Hydro Therapy
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
End grain? Anyhow, you don't see the plugs under the fittings, and thickened epoxy is stronger than wood. It was wood that failed the wiggle test over the years.

But sure, plugs will work. .
 

Hagar2sail

Member III
Blogs Author
Didn't notice that there were grooves where the non skid went? I have a chunk that has come off and it just looked like the adhesive was left behind. I'll have to look closer when I get to it. Just waiting for warmer weather so I can do it on the boat while I touch up the varnish in other spots.

yeah here is a good picture of them, though wonder if some have been sanded smooth during their lives.
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Hagar2sail

Member III
Blogs Author
We are excited to get the ladder restored to glory. Varnish does make it gleam and feel like new again. It’s very satisfying.

Christian I had thought of filling the grooves with a few layers of tape, but wondered if I pulled that up after the varnish if I would end up creating an open edge of varnish. If you know what I mean.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Wasn't an issue for me. I just didn't want to fill the grooves with varnish, to prevent the nonskid from standing proud.

ladd with tape2.JPG
 
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