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Cabin Sole
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One thing I forgot to suggest should you use the stripping and finishing method is to use a filler once the wood is stripped.use a wood filler to reduce the sanding.  This will reduce the chances of sanding through the veneer.  I have good luck with Timber Mate on my kitchen cabinets.  I have never uses it in a marine application but if you seal the crap out if the sole after you are done, I think it should work.  the wood for the cabinets is Brazilian Cherry so the tone was not an exact match but the contractor mixed in some sanding dust and got the color pretty close.The checks I am dealing with are huge.  If I can get close enough to hide a 1/16 inch check, you should have no problem if you are just doing a skim coat.

Also for companion way ladders, I like to use non-skid.  3M makes a white rubber product which I am a fan of.  It is difficult to keep clean but it is easy on bare feet and helps with traction.
Hi Karl,

Last summer I did a test refinish on the bilge board and companionway ladder.  See the pictures attached.  The finish was not perfect on the board and there were not enough coats but gave me an idea of what I should expect if I work on the sole.  I tried using peanut butter to remove the non-slip tread adhesive as someone on cruisers forum suggested.  I ended going with the traditional chemical method.

Thanks for the feedback and happy holidays!


thank you for the pictures.  Now I see exactly what you are talking about.  Replacing the existing sole would be tricky because of the compound curves.  On the up side, it doesn't look like there is much material involved so if you make a mistake, redoing it will not cost you much money.  The cost in time and frustration however may be excessive.

May I suggest that rather than simply sanding you use a stripper and once the finish is removed use some kind of cleaning agent.  I can't recommend specific products as I don't have that knowledge base.  Others on this forum may..

Personally I would see if I could lighten up the wood a bit but that's  just personal preference.   I would use the bilge cover piece as a test piece.  If I screwed that up it is would be pretty easy to duplicate.  However, i know if I had to replace it I would have to spend some time matching the tone of the new piece to the existing wood on the sole.

I think if you strip, clean and then sand you will be very happy with the results.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
Hi Karl,

Thanks for your reply.  I have straight teak with no holly, so your stain trick may be even easier.  Please see the photos I have attached.  Thanks for your suggestions!

Hey Tom & Richard x2,

I have never done a sole replacement.  I have a T34-C with the original cork sole so it is on my list but the list is long and it is not near the top right now..

Richard1, I have no idea how your sole is fastened.  My guess is glue.  If you are totally committed my suggestion would be to buy a Fein sander with a cutting tool and cut a small section out around the bilge sump.  You can cut straight down until you are up against the fiberglass.  Once you do this, you will be totally committed but you will know what you are up against.  If they used a really good glue, this will get ugly.

The Tartan 34 C web site has a couple of articles written by people who replaces their soles.  One used a teak and holly veneer and the other went hole hog and did the job using teak and aspen.  I believe the section of the site is for owners only but it may be worth the $25 to join for a year to get access to it.  For full disclosure, I have not looked at the articles closely.

On another note, there is a technique I have heard of which might be applicable to Tom in case you inadvertently sand through the veneer.  The technique is to use stain and line tape to simulate the teak and holly.  The person who did the work used sheets of marine grade plywood, stained it before installing it.  It may be possible to do this in place.  Let's say you sand through in and hope not to commit to a full sole replacement.  You could sand off all the veneer and try the tape and stain technique.  If that doesn't work, you replace the sole.  As soon as you sand through the veneer, you're kind of screwed anyway but this might be an easier out.  I am no suggesting this as a primary option but as a possible bailout .

Personally I like the true teak and holly option but it is a lot of work.  However if I blow a piece it is cheaper than blowing a whole sheet of plywood.and since I am rather fond of the boat I just want to do the right thing by her.
Hi Richard,

I own a T30 and have some of the same questions. On my boat, I beleive the cabin sole is thin teak veneer over plywood. It seems to be glued in place and removal will destroy it. I am considering a few options.

1. Carefully sand the existing sole, followed by epoxy then varnish.
2. Rip up the floor and replace with teak veneer plywood, epoxy and varnish. I would make templates first with paper or cardboard. 
3.  Leave sole in place and cover with artificial teak.

I think I am going to go with option 1 as I have had a hard time sourcing teak veneer plywood.  It’s work I am fairly competent with also. Fine woodworking is not my forte. 

This is a very small forum so the response will be correspondingly small. I suggest you research this question on cruisers forum. You can find my query regarding my sole problems there following this link.  You will see pics and pithy comments.

Good luck and keep us posted!


S/V Servus T30

Hello Richard. I can't help you regarding your cabin sole. But I thought it might be nice to simply get a response. I haven't been so fortunate. Thus far at least, belonging to this forum has not been the best $30 I have ever spent.

I have a 1980 T33 Hull #21...It's time to replace the sole...Done just about everything else in the 18 years I have owned her...
Has anyone out there done this? Does anyone know how it's attached to the boat? ( Epoxy/Screws)
I'm trying to keep the old one whole to use as a template if thats possible...

Any advise is much appreciated
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