Tech Wiki

Remove the Handrails

Q: Has anyone removed the handrails on a 34′ for refinishing? Is it worth the effort?

David #247


  • Ron Hill recommends NOT to remove them. He suggests that you raise them up only just enough to rebed the caulk underneath. I forget whether this was in Mainsheet or on the List. I have a leak at the through bolt at the aft end of my starboard handrail right over the galley and will be doing the “just raise it a little bit, but don’t take it all off” method soon. Stu Jackson, Aquavite

  • I just went through the whole process and I was aware that it was not recommended. I really wanted to clean up all of the old finish sprayed around the base of the handrails, so I took them off and finished them at home. They actually came off fairly easy and I was able to get them off without any help. Getting them back on was another issue due to the fact that the wood still wanted to fight the curve and I had bedding compound spread all around. Still, my wife and I were able to get them back on without too much hassle. Looking back on all of the work involved, I would seriously consider trying to refinish the handrails without taking them off. Yes it is easier to sand and finish at home, but then you have to deal with rebedding everything and you still have the 1/2″ teak bungs to install and finish. Now that I have everything clean, I do not anticipate taking the handrails off again. Scott McPeek, Bitter End #969

  • “…but then you have to deal with rebedding everything and you still have the 1/2″ teak bungs to install and finish.”

  • Scott, unless I’m mistaken, I have no bungs. I have easy access to the screws below. Am I missing something? David #247


  • Could be on your boat… on mine I only had screws on every other handrail base, with bolts at both ends. I am sure that things change on C34 hulls and we have more than 700 sailboats between us. Scott McPeek, Bitter End #969

  • Yes, yes, yes. Definitely worth it and an opportunity to re-seat them. Take the time to do multiple coats and it will last for years. Gary Wiseman, Up Spirits #894

  • When I had an earlier C34 with the teak handrails, I took them off once to refinish. The things unbolted and unscrewed from the inside. The bolt remained with the handrail and the nut came off, so the bungs did not have to be removed. In my case, the bolt did not turn with the nut, so it wasn’t a problem getting the handrail off. I also had no problem putting it back on although I inserted the bolts into the holes before putting the bedding compound on — sort of like Ron’s raise it just a little. At the time, the teak was varnished, so working on the handrails at home was a real plus. Phil Davies #1360