The dorade boxes were in pretty bad shape. I started by giving them a teak scrubbing with the TDS liquid teak cleaner product. They each needed a few plugs replaced. Once the plugs were set I sanded them to ready for a first coat of varnish.

new plugs in the starboard dorade box new plugs in the port dorade box

The mast step base got a similar treatment.

the mast step base sanded and varnished

the mast step base sanded and varnished

Then the dorades got a first coat of varnish and the mast step base a second coat.

the dorades and mast step base the dorade boxes varnished

Then I went on to prepare the forward hatch. I used a heat gun to remove the last of the old varnish. Then I sanded and put on a first coat of varnish.

forward hatch with a coat of varnish

forward hatch with a coat of varnish

I’ve been trying to get at least two coats on each teak surface before moving on. I can get more coats on as the summer progresses.

As I work on this aspect of maintenance I can’t help but reflect on how much Wittman’s treatise on brightwork affected me years ago. I have both her full hard-bound copy of brightwork, and her soft copy of the basics. I had carefully read the books back then, and had found myself feeling hugely intimidated with the process, almost afraid to undertake varnishing. It seemed so complicated, so precise; the weather had to be just so, the wood had to be perfect, the sanding undertaken with the right product, the varnish applied with immense skill. Now I laugh at myself, knowing that I’d have to be a fool to believe anything of the sort. Ms Wittman definitely overcomplicates a process that is actually fun, engaging, rewarding, and pretty simple. But it sold a lot of books for her, I’m sure.