Hey Trey, i find it best to fit and mount everything first, make any modifications necessary then go ahead with the finish. It helps too to get some sealer inside the bolt holes as well sealing up the raw grain in the holes, cheers bud have fun
I like to get everything drilled and fitted before I do any sealing on the wood.
I prefer to bond the two outsides pieces together but the factory left them in two pieces.
I always try to flatten the transom sheeting as much as posable by blunt force trauma, then relive the face of the board enough to make it all fit tight.
That mixture is great for stuff that lives outside for extended periods, like wooden outdoor furniture, as it penetrates really well. I apply it every couple of years on some teak benches and chairs and it works great.
The wooden bits on our boats are typically babied a bit more than that so the stain and spar varnish finish is probably more than sufficient and will ultimately yield a better finish.
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. -Aesop