Cap It – Teak Cap Rail Covers

After you spend a lot of time or a lot of money on teak cap rail brightwork — sanding, varnishing wood — you want to show them off as they shine in the sun.  Folks come by the dock admiring your shiny cap rails and “oh and ah”.  But wait.  You’ve just invested your time or money to get them that bright and shiny.  How long do you want them to stay that way?  A good while, right?  Sun with its UV threat will have its way with your teak.  You might consider canvas covers, at least while the boat is not in use at the dock.  We saw these cap rail covers in a Charleston marina.  Pretty nice, huh?


Notice that Magnolia doesn’t have these covers – yet.

Magnolia’s cap rail update project in the sanding stage.

A few references that might be of help:

— In a Sailrite forum question Matt Grant suggests when making  cap rail covers to use a top piece and two side pieces for fitting around the curves of the boat.

Sailboat Owners forum has some detail on how one sailor made toe rail covers (a bit more like a handrail cover).

“We cut fabric strips wide enough plus 1 and 1/2″ to cover the toe rail. Plus 1″ will also work but seems more difficult to manage as will be described later.
For long toe rails, join strips together with a 1/2″ seam and top sew.
On each end, fold 1/2″ and then a length about 1/2 of the finished cover, and stitch.
Mark a line 3/4′ inch from each edge. Lay webbing inside the line (3/4″ of fabric exposed) and stitch the center side webbing, 1/8″ from the edge.
Fold the exposed 3/4″ of the fabric under the webbing and stitch 1/8″ from the outside edge. Folding under 1/2” is doable but more difficult. Seam tape could be used. However, seam tape seems to gum-up the needle, so to avoid long runs with seam tape, press the folded-under fabric with a roller and staple with a pliers-like stapler. Be sure to remove the staples.
For the ends of the toe rail cover, fold each end inside out, stitch between the webbing 45 degrees across the end.
Cover can be secured via snaps, line, Velcro or a combination. We used a Yosemite bowlines on line, no snaps which seems to hold OK except in high wind. We’re near the boat and adjust after high wind.
Here is a brief slide show.…view=slideshow

– Bristol Rose nbog describing their cap rail cover project –

Brightwork The Art of Finishing Wood by Rebecca Wittman a book about boat wood work mentions the important of canvas covers for maintaining the finished wood work.

Not a covered cap rail, but the Captain’s recently-finished varnish project on Magnolia – step into the cockpit


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