Step 4: Finishing
Basically, sand every surface smooth, use special care in the grooves, make sure no splinters remain.
The fillets on the hatches and the decking can best be smoothed by hand.
I use 100~120 grit sanding paper for finishing.
If you have any pencil marks left, use the eraser to get rid of most of it, a light sanding will do the rest.
When all is sanded smooth you have some decisions to make:
- Do you want to stain the wood or paint it?
- Do you want the grooves to remain as they are or do you want to fill them?
Staining the wood definitely has my preference, it will bring out the natural grain of the wood. I choose Teak stain, 2~3 coats brings the color close to the natural teak.
I left my grooves as they were, but you could also fill them with caulking to more closely resemble real teak. If you want to do so, first paint or stain the wood including the grooves, if you don't moisture will rot the wood under the caulking.
When the paint has dried, carefully place masking (painters) tape along the edges of the deep grooves. Make sure the tape adheres well, don't do the entire board, just one or two grooves at a time, the tape will come undone otherwise. Make sure you also place some tape at the 'ends' of the groove.
With the tape down, cut the nozzle of the caulking tube to a rather large diameter, you want it big enough to 'fill' the groove in one pass. When you have filled the groove with caulk, use a plastic or wooden tool, covered in water with dishwasher fluid to scrape it flat in the grove, simultaneously removing the excess caulk. You will get the hang of this, maybe make some small test grooves in some spare board before attempting this. The color of the caulk is up to you, but teak uses black (sometimes gray) caulking.
After each groove is done, remove the tape, any small excess caulking can be removed later when it's hardened.
And that's it! All your hard work will have given you a brilliant end result. Put the decking on your boat and boast to your friends!