Blue Turtle Cruising

Wood restoration begins

We’ve been planning on repairing the wood rails on the deck and giving them a maintenance coat of varnish this winter, but somehow keep procrastinating. Part of the reason is that Southwest Florida is a paradise this time of year, and living on the beach seems to make us lazy…all we want to do is enjoy the beach and the wonderful weather. The other reason, is it’s tough to coordinate maintenance projects with Randy’s travel schedule and schedule around when we have Corey.

Today is Sunday and even though Randy leaves tomorrow to travel this week, we decided to at least get started on the wood restoration. We figured that once we got started, it would be easier to pick up a week or two later, plus it makes us feel better to make some progress on the boat projects.

We started with filling a few cracks around our bow pulpit with Life Caulk. We have a fairly new windlass that also left some exposed wood that we'll varnish.
We started with filling a few cracks around our bow pulpit with Life Caulk. We have a fairly new windlass that also left some exposed wood that we’ll varnish.

Our exterior wood was last given a maintenance coat of Cetol in February of 2012. I found receipts that the previous owners left that let us know this. While the wood was varnished, there were several areas where the wood was rotting, mostly under the rail stanchions. While I can tape off areas and varnish just fine, I’m no good at the wood repair. Basically, I need Randy to do the repair work first so I can then lightly sand the wood and apply a coat of Cetol. The first big project was to get Randy started on the repair work. We decided to start at the bow pulpit first.

Capt. Tom helps Randy drill out the old Life Caulk
Capt. Tom helps Randy drill out the old Life Caulk

Randy got started inserting Life Caulk in a few small cracks, but quickly found that we had some serious rot going on. While Randy had already gleaned plenty of information about repairing the wood from my parents, we still needed a little guidance from our friend Tom, a sailor from the other end of the docks. It’s all about finding the right products and sealing up the wood so rain water can’t get into the cracks any more. Randy only got one small section of the rails done today, but we feel confident that we’re doing this the right way by taking the time to remove the screws from the stanchions and properly sealing up the holes and cracks.

With the old caulk drilled out and the screws of the stanchion removed, the wood is ready to be filled with epoxy.
With the old caulk drilled out and the screws of the stanchion removed, the wood is ready to be filled with epoxy.
Major wood rot we found after removing the stanchion.
Major wood rot we found after removing the stanchion.
Wood rot hole filled with 610 epoxy. Once this sets, Randy will re-bed the stanchion with butyl tape.
Wood rot hole filled with 610 epoxy. Once this sets, Randy will re-bed the stanchion with butyl tape.

While Randy (helped by Tom and later by his father) filled and sealed the wood, I got started on a few pieces of wood that didn’t need repair, mostly on the covered bridge. The bench seats and hatch doors on the bridge don’t get much weather, but I decided to apply a maintenance coat anyway. I figured it would be good to remove the mildew on the wood anyway, so I cleaned it up, lightly sanded it and applied some Cetol.

Post project: Randy and the wiener dog at the beach
Post project: Randy and the wiener dog at the beach

Today was just the start of a slow process we’ll most likely continue throughout the winter months. We worked in the morning and decided to call it quits in the early afternoon. Around 3pm, I mixed up a few margarita’s while Randy, his Dad and I sat out on the back and enjoyed the fabulous day. Catching a breathless sunset was just the icing on the cake for this day.

Beautiful (and dramatic) end to the day
Beautiful (and dramatic) end to the day

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