Ask Sail: The Right Cabin Sole Finish

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A good, strong polyurethane finish works best on a cabin sole

A good, strong polyurethane finish works best on a cabin sole

Q: I am working on refinishing my cabin floorboards. I have brought them home and sanded the old finish off and would appreciate comments on using varnish or polyurethane for the sole.

— Danny Love, Grand Rivers, KY

DON CASEY REPLIES

Polyurethane is the better choice for a cabin sole. Oil-based varnishes are too soft. Keep in mind that any gloss finish on the sole can compromise footing, particularly if the sole becomes wet. That said, the beauty of a varnished sole has for me trumped traction reduction for four decades without consequence. That is not due to good luck, but rather to good handholds and a perpetual appreciation of the risk.

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