Rebuilding and Refinishing a Teak Dorado box (Part 2 of 3)

In this second part of a 3 part series on removing, rebuilding/repairing a dorado box, polishing and prepping the bronze as well as all of the reinstallation, this entry will focus specifically on the preparation for the wooden dorado box and how to improve upon the frame that was there originally as well as refinish the box itself to look great again.

If you haven't read the first of the blog series, please click on "The Link here" to open up a new page with the blog post in it.   After removing the dorado box and mounting slats from the deck, I took a good look at them and realized that he design of how these boxes were mounted was flawed.  There was only one egress point for any rain/green water that may get in the cowl vent to exit the box, and that was aft of the opening to the bunk below.  So even if the water that got in the box was not over the depth of the internal flute/chimney, it was still allowing water to potentially get down between the bronze tube and the deck.

I wanted to improve upon the installation in a few different ways.  The first was that I wanted the new frame to not just be a couple of small slats of spare/scrap wood but rather a deliberate design that would be stronger than the slats were as well as allow me to create additional value and function in the single mounting system.  I started with a piece of 3/4" red oak wood that was cut to fit inside the base of the dorado box.  This will be mounted to the deck of the boat and the dorado box will be screwed into the mounting frame horizontally at the bottom of the dorado box into the side of the hard wood frame.

For me the solution was to improve upon this and build a V-shaped baffle on the mounting plate that would direct the majority of any green/rain water that gets in through the cowl vent to exit the sides of the dorado box before ever getting to the large 4" wide opening that vents air below.  Then if for some reason some water does get past the baffle, then there is still the previous exit from the aft side of the dorado box.

I drew out the pattern on the piece of red oak.  It started with a 3/4" frame all the way around the permitter that would act as the anchor points for the dorado box onto the mounting bracket.   It then required some measurement to ensure that the V-shaped baffle that I am pointing out was positioned correctly so as to allow enough room for the tube that extends down into the bunk below to pass through it.  It also required that the baffles be as far after a possible to allow maximum water to pass out the sides of the Dorado and therefore reduce the chance of it leaking down into the deck though that opening into the bunk.

The next step was to use a drill and circular saw to cut out all of the center areas of the frame to only leave the portion I wanted to remain.
I wanted to keep this entire mounting base in 1 piece so to accommodate the places for the water to pass through, I chose to use a router bit to notch those locations without cutting all the way through the 3/4" red oak which allowed the piece to stay all together.
I then lined up the new egress points from the base and marked the sides of the dorado box and dutifully cut those out as well using the same router bit.  That was a bit nerve racking and I checked 4 and 5 times before making any cuts.

I sanded all of the parts down with 150 grit sandpaper followed by 220 on an orbital palm sander.  This allowed them to all get smooth, take any scratches and imperfection out of the dorado box and then setup to mix the epoxy.  I use West Systems Epoxy and always use the pumps that mount to the top of each can to ensure you have an accurate dispensing of the material for the mixture.  My harder pump was not working today so I eyeballed it, which I think is part of the reason why it took so long for this to harden and firmly setup.  After 24 hours it was still a bit "gummy" where there were drips or runs and they had to be sanded down.

After mixing the epoxy and stirring it for at least 60 seconds (I usually do 90 seconds to be safe) it was time to start painting the epoxy onto the wood.  By covering wood with epoxy you essentially create a plastic encased piece of wood that is water proof and can extend the time it would take to get rot from moisture exposure.

I should have only mixed up about 2 ounces of the mixture and then mixed more if needed.  The time it took to pain the intricate insides and corners of the frame meant that the mixed epoxy was already starting to "kick" or harden prior to me having applied or used it all.  I started on the frame first because if the paining of epoxy was not great, nobody would see this frame that gets completely covered by the dorado box.

After paining the frame, I then moved not to the dorado box itself.  This actually went on fairly nicely and as you can tell from the pictures, a nice wet Teak looks gorgeous and the nice thing is that when the epoxy dries it still has that we look.  The best scenario would be to put several coats of epoxy on with sanding between coats, and then applying a few layers of varnish on top of it to prove a UV protection that Epoxy just doesn't have.  If you have ever seen that yellowish tint to epoxy and it gets "cloudy" that is usually from exposure to UV rays.

I applied this epoxy on a day that was pretty chili (low 50's) and because of that I think that is the other reason that it was a bit slow to harden.  I went back about 5 hours after applying the epoxy and it was still wet, so I decided to leave it alone over night.  I went back the next morning and found that while not sticky any longer, that there were some flaws that were obvious right away, however absolutely fixable.

I also noticed that when I went to sand a light coat over them to prep for the second coat, that the drips or runs that formed on the bottom side of the wood (near the yellow pyramids) they were still soft so it was not completely setup.  I did decide to lightly sand those unfinished sections and get it smooth so the next coats of varnish will look good.

All in all this was a pretty easy set of tasks as it was basic woodworking which is such a relief some days.  The next step will be to prep and reinstall the bronze, fill the deck screw holes from the previous installation of the dorado box and then bed the box, and install all of the bronze fittings both inside the bunk as well as the cowl vent on deck.

Below is a youtube video showing and outlining the steps in a bit more detail if you are interested in viewing it.
If you are receiving this blog via email or on a device that won't play the embedded video, click this link for the video directly on Youtube.  The link is