Maintenance of
Cabin Sole


Having finished up with replacement of the rear main seal on the Westerbeke, the cabin sole finish was showing signs of wear and tear from the project.

Some fresh coats of varnish were in order so I got out the 320 grit wet or dry sandpaper and began preparing the surface for fresh varnish. When I varnish the sole, I usually do the area at the foot of the companionway (the galley and navstation areas) first. This allows me to be able to step over this area to vacate the boat once the varnish is applied. Once that area is complete, I apply varnish to the rest of the sole starting in the V-berth and working my way aft again allowing me a means of exiting the cabin. This requires a total of 2 days for each coat of varnish.

The sole was wet sanded by hand using the 320 grit paper thus avoiding the possibility of sanding through the teak veneer of the sole. This veneer is VERY thin and can easily be damaged beyond repair if one uses an electric sander.

I use Z-Spar Captain's Varnish for the sole. I applied the first coat and added a bit of Penetrol to the varnish to allow for better brushing as well as leveling of the varnish. This was allowed to dry for two days and the sole was again wet sanded lightly with 320 grit. After wiping down with a tack cloth the second coat was applied.

Below are a couple of photos of the sole after varnishing. Sorry for the areas of glare caused by the sunlight coming through the ports.


Sole after first maintenance coat of varnish

Project complete

Materil required:

Z-Spar Captain's Varnish (On hand)

4 sheets 320 wet or dry sandpaper ($3.00)

Penetrol (On hand)

2 tack rags ($2.00)

Badger hair varnish brush (On hand)


Total cost: $5.00

This project took a total of approximately 4 hours to complete.


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