Catalina 34

General Activities => Main Message Board => Topic started by: Steve_in_lex on January 16, 2016, 12:56:35 PM

Title: Companionway Stairs
Post by: Steve_in_lex on January 16, 2016, 12:56:35 PM
I just started refinishing my companionway stairs and have sanded the steps down to the bare wood.  When I test the final appearance by wiping turnpentine on the wood, it looks noticeably darker than the original, covered wood.  In order to be consistent, it seems like I'll have to take the sides of the stairs down to bare wood too...tripling the project.  Any idea why the bare wood would be darker than the original, factory-varnished wood?  Usually it's the other way around.

Thanks
Title: Re: Companionway Stairs
Post by: Ron Hill on January 16, 2016, 01:03:23 PM
Steve : I surely wouldn't put varnish on the steps treads - too slippery when wet!!  I know of a number of accidents that were caused by slipping off a step!

A number of us have put strips of anti-skid (sticky backed) on the treads - for a good footing!  There are Mainsheet tech note pictures of those strips installed - look in WiKi.

A thought
Title: Re: Companionway Stairs
Post by: Steve_in_lex on January 16, 2016, 05:15:34 PM
Thanks Ron, I was wondering about that.  I was thinking semi-gloss varnish with a non-skid strip near the end. Suggestions for a better sealant?
Title: Re: Companionway Stairs
Post by: Ron Hill on January 17, 2016, 12:55:00 PM
Steve : Here's what I did.
I put the antiskid strips on the outside tread, except I used two treads on the top step and two treads on the bottom step.  I used lacquer thinner to clean all the natural oil from the tread before I stuck them in place. 

A thought
Title: Re: Companionway Stairs
Post by: patrice on January 18, 2016, 05:10:27 AM
Hi,

I used teak oil to re-finish mine after a good sanding, cleaning.

And also, filled the grooves in each step with silicone.
Also in the wiki.

Title: Re: Companionway Stairs
Post by: SailingJerry on January 19, 2016, 11:52:17 AM
Hi,

I used teak oil to re-finish mine after a good sanding, cleaning.

And also, filled the grooves in each step with silicone.
Also in the wiki.

i heartily recommend the teak oil approach. Takes dirt and sand punishment better and easy to remedy scratches.
Title: Re: Companionway Stairs
Post by: mregan on January 20, 2016, 12:42:46 PM
I refinished mine with Epifanes Gloss Clear Varnish.  Plus 2 strips of anti skid on each step and filled in the grooves with black sealant.
Title: Re: Companionway Stairs
Post by: Noah on January 20, 2016, 05:08:27 PM
Sounds like a lot of stuff going on with your ladder. How to you touch-up/maintain the gloss varnish with the non-skid strips AND sealant in grooves?
Title: Re: Companionway Stairs
Post by: sailaway on January 20, 2016, 07:12:30 PM
Did it stop them from  making noise my steps squeak I have tried new screws but they still squeak. Glueing them might be the answer but I hate to. Charlie
Title: Re: Companionway Stairs
Post by: Noah on January 20, 2016, 07:21:57 PM
Long running battle...try some plastic shims (teflon ) under the ladder feet. Also some have just delegated a "crew member" who's duty is to just stand on the ladder ALL THE TIME!!  Solves engine vibration issue too! :D
Title: Re: Companionway Stairs
Post by: patrice on January 21, 2016, 04:58:55 AM
Hi,

For the squeacking noise, I put some felt under the lower section, wood rubbing on the floor.  And under the top section.
Solved the issue.

It is the felt that you get to put under home furniture.
Title: Re: Companionway Stairs
Post by: Wayne on January 21, 2016, 05:13:01 PM
Catalina used a water based stain/sealer (I have a 2006) which lightened the wood.  Contact Catalina Direct; they can fix you up with the matching factory product.
Title: Re: Companionway Stairs
Post by: Roc on January 22, 2016, 04:01:16 AM
Catalina uses Target Coatings waterbased sealer for the interior teak.  I know because I've called Target Coatings and they've sent me a quart of the waterbased product that Catalina gets from them.  There are a few waterbased products and I can't remember which one.  If you call them, they can tell you which one to order.  It's about $25 per quart, including the shipping.  Very easy to use.
http://targetcoatings.com/

Title: Re: Companionway Stairs
Post by: Steve_in_lex on January 23, 2016, 09:28:15 AM
Thanks, Wayne and Roc.  I think I'll do that -- replicate the original finish.  It worked well for 10 years, and makes it easier to keep a uniform appearance when I don't have the entire piece stripped down to bare wood.  I like others' ideas about either paste-on strips or the sealant in the grooves.  All very helpful.  Fortunately it's still January so I have some time to trick this baby out.

Steve
Title: Re: Companionway Stairs
Post by: Rortega46 on January 25, 2019, 05:56:05 AM
Steve, Roc & Wayne:

I’m getting ready to refinish my stairs and like your plan of using the sealer Catalina used originally.  I have a few questions for you experienced guys. 

Did you do both horizontal and vertical parts, or just the horizontal stair treads? 
How did you strip and prep the stairs prior to applying sealer?
How did you clean and prep the grooves? 
How many coats of sealer did you apply?
How did the finish hold up over time?

Thanks in advance for your reply.
Title: Re: Companionway Stairs
Post by: Stu Jackson on January 25, 2019, 09:07:17 AM
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
How did you clean and prep the grooves? >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

There was an old tech note on filling the grooves with minwax, a light color that would match the holly in the sole.  We did that in 1998.  Still working.
Title: Re: Companionway Stairs
Post by: Craig Illman on January 25, 2019, 12:59:28 PM
I filled my grooves with leftover black Dow 795 from doing the fixed portlights.

Craig
Title: Re: Companionway Stairs
Post by: Breakin Away on January 26, 2019, 09:48:05 PM
Catalina uses Target Coatings waterbased sealer for the interior teak.  I know because I've called Target Coatings and they've sent me a quart of the waterbased product that Catalina gets from them.  There are a few waterbased products and I can't remember which one.  If you call them, they can tell you which one to order.  It's about $25 per quart, including the shipping.  Very easy to use.
http://targetcoatings.com/
I spoke to Warren at Catalina last May and he essentially said this too. If you have a late model MkII with the lighter wood finishes, it is very important NEVER to use an oil stain (like tung) or any oil-based varnish. Once you do that, the wood will be permanently darkened yielding a poor match. He said that the waterbased Minwax Polycrylic should get a similar finish also, although the Target products are waterbased polyester (not acrylic), so your best match will be achieved with the Target products that CatalinaDirect sells. They have a very thorough writeup the history of Catalina's finishing techniques here:

https://www.catalinadirect.com/index.cfm/feature/192/interior-finish-history.cfm
Title: Re: Companionway Stairs
Post by: Rortega46 on January 27, 2019, 09:06:10 AM
Thanks Breakin Away.  There’s some really good info via the Catalina Direct link you posted.  Good to know what Catalina used historically for wood finishing. I’ve ordered some Target semi-gloss to spruce up companionway stairs.
Title: Re: Companionway Stairs
Post by: Ron Hill on January 27, 2019, 03:21:56 PM
GUYs : Again - what ever you do to your steps, put some water on them and test so they are NOT slippery.

I know of a 1st Mate that took a "header" down those wet steps hitting the buildup around the galley sink.  It wasn't pretty!!
The steps are not a piece of fine furniture, but should be safe and functional!!

A thought
Title: Re: Companionway Stairs
Post by: Steve_in_lex on January 28, 2019, 03:51:57 PM
Totally agree.  Cosmetics are cosmetic, but non-skid strips are safe.
Title: Re: Companionway Stairs
Post by: Breakin Away on February 23, 2019, 08:44:14 PM
I have to refinish my bulkhead panel at the front of the the V-berth (long story - a small leak a year ago - since fixed - caused some water/tannin staining). In addition, my stairs are due for refinishing at some point.

I occurred to me that the bulkhead could be a perfect opportunity to experiment. I much prefer to use a mass market material that could be easily purchased at a local store. The key features of the Target Coatings finish for MkII boats is 1) aqueous material which does not darken the wood like oil based materials and 2) amber finish caused by alkyd content, which can be closely matched by polyurethane. Just about any semigloss aqueous alkyd or polyurethane material should match well, and I'm willing to experiment on my bulkhead because it's far enough out of the way that an imperfect match won't make much difference. I've always had good luck with Minwax products in non-marine and even some marine applications, and they're so huge they'll never go away and their product line is pretty stable so they aren't constantly changing it. Also, the stairs would benefit from a floor-grade formulation for long-term durability. So I'm thinking of getting this:

https://www.minwax.com/wood-products/hardwood-floors/minwax-ultra-fastdrying-polyurethane-for-floors

Floor paints can be pretty bad about sag resistance (since floors are horizontal), so it may take some care in painting the vertical surfaces of the stairs. But the bulkhead is out of the boat, so I can make it horizontal. The biggest problem I'm having is I can only find this in gallon quantities (since floors are generally a large area).

Another option, which isn't floor grade, would be this, which is available in 8, 32, and 128 oz sizes:

https://www.minwax.com/wood-products/clear-protective-finishes/interior/minwax-water-based-oilmodified-polyurethane

Or maybe I'll just stick to the Target Coatings stuff, but I'm just not sure it's necessary because a brand new finish is not going to match anyway even if you use the same manufacturer. The alkyd or polyurethane always gets yellower over time.
Title: Re: Companionway Stairs
Post by: Stu Jackson on February 23, 2019, 09:09:34 PM
BA,

Nice presentation and links.  It could end up being a great tech note or wiki article for Mark II skippers.  Many have asked the proverbial "What finish did the factory use?" question.

Have you considered using the forward side of the bulkhead for a practice range?  Or is that side OK with no H2O damage?
Title: Re: Companionway Stairs
Post by: KWKloeber on February 23, 2019, 09:19:08 PM
BA

I use Minwax Helmsman, which comes on various sheens.  I think the attached is semigloss (2 coats.)
The cubby fronts are varnish over new teak.

Title: Re: Companionway Stairs
Post by: Breakin Away on February 23, 2019, 09:41:19 PM
BA,

Nice presentation and links.  It could end up being a great tech note or wiki article for Mark II skippers.  Many have asked the proverbial "What finish did the factory use?" question.

Have you considered using the forward side of the bulkhead for a practice range?  Or is that side OK with no H2O damage?
Thanks, Stu. I'll wait until I've actually done something before writing it up. lol

The forward side is in great shape, but also totally unsanded, and would take a lot of effort to make it into a meaningful test. I will probably throw a few coats to seal it, but it will be "hidden quality." I'm going to have my hands full trying to strip off the finish on the exposed side, so I need to focus my energy on that.

BA

I use Minwax Helmsman, which comes on various sheens.  I think the attached is semigloss (2 coats.)
The cubby fronts are varnish over new teak.
I used that exact same stuff (Minwax Helmsman Semigloss Polyurethane) on my badly grayed hatch boards, and it looks GREAT, mainly because the oxalic acid treatment I used to remove the gray left the wood extremely light, so the oil based finish restored a rich, medium color. It's held up well for 2 seasons, and I just did another single coat to refresh. Since I would prefer to use up my existing materials than buy new, I tried a test patch with the Helmsman on this bulkhead, and it was way too dark. I immediately doused it with acetone and stripped it off before it cured. The problem is that Catalina switched to waterbased varnishes with the MkII boats (due to CARB regulations), which is why the interior wood on all the MkII boats is a much lighter color. MkII owners need to use a similar waterbased varnish to get a similar finish (either polyester/alkyd, polyurethane, or maybe acrylic). The acrylic may not be yellow enough, so I'm not going to try that.
Title: Re: Companionway Stairs
Post by: Noah on February 23, 2019, 09:53:44 PM
Very personal decision but I take a more holistic approach to wood finish color matching. Each piece of wood has its own unique beauty, ages differently,  is a natural “product”, and every piece doesn’t have to match its neighbor. As long as it has a nice well applied finish, “a close enough color match” works for me. I have a MkI with oiled furniture/interior, matte varnished sole, and high gloss oil based varnished exterior.
Title: Re: Companionway Stairs
Post by: Breakin Away on March 13, 2020, 09:31:57 PM
Back to the original topic of companionway stairs, this winter I refinished mine with the Target Coatings EMTECH EM2000wvx that is the same stuff that Catalina used throughout the interiors of the MkII boats. I used satin (instead of semigloss which Catalina used) to minimize slipperiness, but still wanted additional grip on the stair treads. I found a real nice product to do this on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DP3QCEC/

This is a soft, rubbery textured product that has nice anti-skid properties without the sandy grit that gets all over everything. (I learned that the hard way with my prior boat.) The product is clear, and is practically invisible except when the lighting angle causes a glare. Another nice feature is that it is thin and soft enough that it can be curved around the front edge of the step without unwrapping. Here are two examples that show it from different directions, where you can see how the appearance changed with lighting angle (yes, the non-skid is actually there in the second picture):

Title: Re: Companionway Stairs
Post by: Ron Hill on March 14, 2020, 10:16:45 AM
Guys : A number of years ago I wrote an article in the Mainsheet tech notes with a picture.

I cut White anti-skid strips (sticky backed) and put them on the teak steps.  I cleaned the teak (that would be under the strips) with lacquer thinner to get all the natural oil out before mounting the strips.
I put two strips on the top and bottom steps - easy to see at night and one strip on the outside of the center steps.  They worked great and are still in place years later.  Periodically I clean them so they stayed white!!

A few thoughts   :thumb: