Friday, April 06, 2012


Well, the off season projects are starting to back up. One project I've put near the top of the list is to re-varnish the boats cockpit table.

 It's been over ten years since I last varnished the folding cockpit table on BIANKA. The eight or nine coats I put on at the time have held up pretty good. But, sun and weather have finally taken their toll on some parts of it.

So it's time to strip it down and re varnish it.  Like painting most of the work is in the preparation. A small folding table for a boat is no exception. After removing it from the boat one needs to remove all the hardware and screws:

Once the hardware has been removed it's time to strip off the old varnish. There are a number of ways to do this. You can use various liquid varnish strippers.  I found it is faster and easier just using a hand scraper and a heat gun:

Here is a video of how quick and easy this method really is:

Once you get started the stripping goes very fast and there is no drying time like with the chemical strippers. I had the whole table stripped in about a half hour.


Dan said...

Thanks for the video. I've wondered how this method works out. I'm in need of redoing the teak on the toe rail of the boat I just got. Helpful!

Capt. Mike said...


Glad the video helped. I've found this method to be the easiest and least messy way to strip the varnish.

Steve said...

You know its spring time when varnish is in the air. Just put the second coat on my rudder. I also use the heat gun technique. My son plays hockey, so I use the same heat gun he uses to change blades and melt tape to strip varnish. Like you said the mess is just that much easier to clean up, plus once you find your rhythm I feel its pretty fast as well. I will be back, Thanks Capt. Mike. The site I gave has good info on winterizing your boat motor, hope everyone finds it useful, see you on the big blue.

Dan said...

I ended up getting a scraper for cleaning up the teak on my boat but there's no power nearby for a heat gun. The scraper does make things a little easier by itself.

Capt. Mike said...


Yeah the heat does make things go faster. Glad you enjoy the blog. I'm currently finishing up a work assignment and will be back at the boatyard soon. One of the reasons for the sparse postings recently.

Capt. Mike said...


You can also use a handheld propane torch if you don't have elctricity nearby to use a heat gun. But, you do have to be more careful you don't apply to much heat and burn the wood. But, it can be done if you are careful.