Thursday, July 12, 2012

Butcher block takes a lot of sanding

I've been thinking about replacing the floor of the boat with teak and holly. However, since teak and holly is so expensive I began wondering if I could somewhat replicate the look using other hardwoods. The most readily available hard woods at the local hardware stores seem to be red oak and poplin. I decided to grab a couple sheets of each and see what kind of results I could get putting together a cockpit table.

Butcher block cockpit table

One problem I ran into was that unless I remove all the safety mechanisms from my table saw, I can't rip anything smaller than 1". Since the holly stripe in teak and holly floors is usually only 1/4" wide, I don't think I can get quite the same look.

Bonding the wood was easy enough. Once I had the pieces ripped and cut to length, I used wood glue and clamps to put them together. I did my best to keep all the boards lined up, but it took over an hour of sanding with a random orbital sander and 60 grit paper to get this relatively small section smooth and free of all glue residue. I still need to fine sand it before I start finishing.

If this was going to be a cutting board or counter top I'd either use walnut oil, mineral oil, or a non-toxic salad bowl finish to protect it. However, this will be out in the elements 24/7/365, and needs some serious UV protection. I'll probably give it a light stain, and then seven or eight coats of either West Marine Five Star Premium Varnish or Rust-oleum Marine Coating Spar Varnish.

I haven't tried either one of those varnishes yet, but I did use Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane on the boat before. The interior still looks great, but it blistered and disintegrated off the exterior brightwork in less than six months. Very disappointing.

Now I just have to figure out what hardware to use to make the table flip up and down.

Post a Comment