View Full Version : Sole Finishing Help...?
05-19-2011, 04:11 PM
I'm in the lengthy process of rehabilitating the interior (to be followed by the exterior) of my 1967 42 Chris Craft Commander.
I purchased 1/4" teak and holly plywood to use for the sole in all areas except the salon and aft cabin. I have made templates, and cut everything out... the last piece... finishing it and installing it. I've been told that varnish will be too soft, and that a polyurethane is my best bet. So a few questions:
1. What would be the best way to adhear the plywood to my existing factory plywood flooring?
2. Is polyurethane the way to go for my interior plywood sole?
3. How many coats of polyurethane should be applied?
4. IS varnish too "soft" to take the abuse of long term foot traffic.
5. Product recommendations?
6. Am I missing anything?
I am still considering whether or not I want to have a gloss finish or a satin finish. I've used Epifanes Clear Gloss, finished with two coats of Epifanes Rubbed effect on all of the other woodwork. Just not sure if I should carry the "satin" finish to the floors or not.
I should probably mention that the boat will do temperature extremes. the boat is moored in northern Iowa... subjected to 120 degree interior temps in the summer (during the week when we are not there), and sub zero temps in the winter. I have two kids that will grow up on this boat, and so the floors need to take some abuse.
Thanks in advance for the advice/experiences...
1967 42 Commander
05-19-2011, 04:26 PM
This is likely to become a longer thread than you might imagine at first blush. In any case,eschewing being a wise guy (for now) if it were me finishing a wooden floor today, I would use a standard floor finish of some sort and not spar varnish. Here, that would probably be something like Daly's FloorFin. That is a non-building, flat finish that is very tough but still leaves some footing. There is some version of this product available to you locally, I'd guess. You could also take the opportunity to research low VOC products, perhaps water based, or the like. The Daly's product is similar to what is generically called a "Swedish" finish. I have heard of some interesting new products in the low VOC category I have yet to try but will be looking into myself in the near future.
This topic is sure to expand so I'll leave you with a question to answer:
What is the existing substrate you will be attaching the T&H veneers to? "They" are going to want to know to finish answering your question.
You might prepare yourself for a more general discussion of using T&H plywood veneers as well though maybe we'll get lucky and people will let that pass. Not likely though.
05-19-2011, 04:51 PM
Thanks for the comments... You posted some great information on my other "refinishing" post a couple of years back. Anyway thanks.
I'm going to be very interested in the replies that come, but here are the answers to your question about the existing substrate... It's the original factory plywood flooring that was put in the boat back in '67. I believe it's either 1/2" or 3/4" plywood. Nothing special.
Why not spar varnish? I would have guessed that would have been a suggestion due to the environment... Again, not second guessing, just asking becuase I really don't know...
05-19-2011, 05:13 PM
I've gotta go along with Lew's thoughts on using a finish made for floors. Son no.1 is a flooring installer/refinisher, specializing in restorations, he refinished a floor for me, and a floor for Dr. Robert Ballard, i.e., the Titanic, with a polyurethane finish called Fabulon. It goes on nice and wears well.
05-19-2011, 08:32 PM
Varnish looks great but can be a little slippery underfoot. At first it will certainly be softer as a finish but in time it will harden up. The idea of keeping scratching and wear off the floor is certainly valid but on a boat with kids, pretty futile! The T&H will probably be pretty either way but I doubt it would need all the bling standard varnish would give it. Otherwise, nothing wrong with it. I would select a good floor finish from among the local choices you have to get a harder finish from the start and to avoid the worst of the footing issues varnish might give. Something from a local source will be fine.
I have not glued teak and holly ply to the soles before; I would use standard veneering techniques. I would either solvent clean the existing ply or key (sand) it to clean it and give it some tooth. A random orbital sander could prove useful. Then, if I were being careful I would log on here and ask somebody what to do! :D
But if I were being bold, I would not ask questions. In that case I would spread glue evenly on the substrate maybe even with a roller, place my ply down and weight it (for those areas that were not removable). Hatches or removable section of the sole would be clamped with cauls to spread the pressure.
I have not used the PL Premium adhesives (on my boat) that a lot of the guys here seem to like, but this might be a very good application for that type of product. I have never laid this type of product; only have experience with rebuilding soles using solid woods.
Edited to add:
Here's a link to the Floor Fin product:
Floor Fin (http://www.dalyspaint.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=3&products_id=12)
And a place to buy it (http://www.fisheriessupply.com/productgroupdetail.aspx?page=2&cid=136303&bid=345). A Gallon is a huge amount.
05-20-2011, 08:26 AM
When I put my new sole in a few years ago I finished it with eight coats of Epiphanes 2-part clear. That stuff sets up hard as stone. After 5 years the sole has developed a sort of semigloss finish in the high traffic area in the galley (my wife shuffles her feet). Other than that the high gloss finish is still perfect. I glued my sole down to a ply substrate with west system thickened with microfibers. If I was doing it again, I would have made the entire sole removeable by attaching it with perimeter screws. That may not work for you. My sole was 3/4" thick cherry with 3/16" hard maple strips.
05-20-2011, 12:40 PM
When I put my new sole in a few years ago I finished it with eight coats of Epiphanes 2-part clear.
Varnishing the soles to eight coats would qualify as a big undertaking on my boat. I'm sure it is beautiful though.
This is what the Daly's product looks like. I'm sorry I don't have something more illustrative. I would hazard a guess and say it requires 10-20% of the labor of varnish.
05-25-2011, 12:56 PM
Well, I think I'll pass on the varnishing. After looking around a bit, a polyurethane coating might work best. Lew your comments about the slipperiness of varnish is leaning me away... didn't even think of that one. Anyone else with product recommendations other than what Lew has suggested? Not that I won't go that direction, but I'd like to see some options to choose from...
A question about adhering the plywood. Not that I'd be wanting to, but at some time in the future the teak and holly plywood might have to be replaced... would there be a way to put them down, but not be permanently down, or is that just a crazy idea? Something like a mild adheasive? I only ask becuase with all of the work I've done, I was thankfull that no adheasives were used in construction (with the exception of the laminate countertops - THREE layers in the galley was not fun to remove). Just thinking ahead for either myself or some future owner...
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