I’m a Sole Man

Grungy old sole.

Grungy old sole.

“Good Morning”. Step out of the forward V-Berth on Blue Wing to greet the day. Careful, if you happen to look down, this is the first thing you will see. Quick, pull a floor mat over it and resolve to address it next year! Well, it’s been four years now. Time to fix the cabin floor (or as sailors call it, the cabin sole).

First, unscrew all the panels from the fiberglass sub-flooring. Then store them in a garage all summer so they can dry out.

The flooring is basically 1/4 inch plywood covered by a thin veneer of holly and teak stripes. Now it’s over 30 years old. It could be replaced with new sections, or even with a new rubberized veneer, but both of these options are expensive. We are cheap. And we respect old wood. So we are taking the restoration route instead.

Second step? Get a heat gun. I’m pretty sure we sold a couple to Mario Edwards when we left CTown. Maybe he’ll let us buy one back. (He did.)

Scraper

Scraper and heat gun.

Next. Strip what’s left of the old varnish off. Use the heat gun and a scraper. Careful not to point that gun too long or you’ll burn a spot. After that, sand with a random orbital sander. Then bleach the blacker water stains with oxalic acid.

Sanded

Sanded

There’s a fiberglass supply store in Stuart that’s been very helpful to me. They say that table-top epoxy will fill the dings in the flooring nicely. It can also be used to water-proof the undersides of the flooring panels. The stuff spreads on like motor oil and dries clear.

Epoxy

Epoxy

Work area

Work area

Next, I sand with progressively finer paper until the flooring surfaces are pretty smooth. Then I paint on the clear primer/sealer. It is supposed to fill all the cracks and provide an even surface for the varnish. One quart of primer sealer gives me three full coats. Two quarts of thick varnish gives me four coats.

Varnish

Varnish

Have I mentioned that all the materials used in this process are full of extremely toxic Volatile Organic Compounds? Even though I have an open garage door, and a fan running full blast, I have a perpetual headache. I’m pretty sure two weeks of this is giving me the brain cancer.

P.S. Paul and I listened to a lot of AM 1690 as we painted last summer. I learned that many of the rock songs I enjoyed in my youth were covers of old soul songs. Isaac Hayes and Dave Porter wrote “Soul Man”, which was originally performed by Sam and Dave.

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4 thoughts on “I’m a Sole Man

    • Duwan said:

      Thanks! They look great inside. It almost feels like having a new boat.

  1. Capt. Robert Beringer said:

    Looks like you’re into the thick of it. It’ll be fine when you finish. Buenos Suertas mi amigos

  2. Debbie Knebel said:

    Impressive and with so much more character than new….love it!

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