Cabin Sole finishing with a water based finish

Water based Varathane was what I had to use on my cabin sole because the regular polyurethane is deadly to people with heart disease. I venture to say that the off gas is bad for anyone. Being that my Aloha 28 is small inside, I felt it necessary to look into a safe way that I could finish my cabin sole without giving myself a heart attack. I had always believed that polyurethane was the way to go to get a good shine and a lasting finish.

My wife, first mate, stripped the floor with a water based floor stripper. She applied it and then took a putty knife and scraped the finish off. I was wary of her using a metal putty knife because a slip would inevitably scratch the veneer. After sweeping up the debris, she scrubbed down the floor with soap and water before she stained it lightly with Minwax water based stain. I sat up in the cockpit, and diligently handed her down bottles of water and tea during these exercises.

 We let the stain set for a day before we came back to apply 12 coats of Varathane gloss water based coating. I could not handle being down below while she was applying the Varathane, so I continued to supply the necessary snacks and liquids to keep her working. Whenever she would look up at me, or ask for something I acted like I was intently involved with what she was doing instead of watching my wind generator turn. It was tough work, and I didn’t want her to think I didn’t feel for her!

Needless to say I was impressed with the finish she got with the Varathane. I didn’t expect it to shine so much. She didn’t sand the veneer because 1.) she would have to do it, and 2.) she would have to do it! And, as you can see it turned out with a good shine anyway! Even after a 6 day cruise it still shines!

Written by Bud Elkin