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Old 16-10-2016, 13:35   #1
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Advice on resealing port lights w/ wood (teak?) trim

Hi Guys!

My port lights are in desperate need of a rebuild. They are leaking water in during hard rains and I have a soft spot on my deck that appears to be caused from water leaking in from the port lights. My deck is fiberglass over a balsa wood core. The port lights are surrounded by wood trim, which i believe is teak but honestly have no idea, i'm assuming because there is teak elsewhere on the vessel though.

I'm worried about a few things. First, getting the wood trim off without damaging any of it. Second, some of the wood appears to be rotting from extended moisture exposure (I'm bought this boat two months ago and it was severely neglected) and I'm not sure if I will be able to reuse it or patch it. And Lastly, would it be better to not use any of the old wood trim and start with new material? Most of it appears to be in good shape, but a couple spots are very bad.

I've attached a few pictures of my set-up, I had to rip the vinyl off the walls of the interior cabin to find the leak as it was hiding some problem spots. I will eventually be removing ALL of this vinyl material as to me it is not necessary and creates more problems by hiding leaks and making repairs and maintenance more difficult.

Please let me know your thoughts, I appreciate any advice that you can give on the subject as I have not worked with wood around the port lights before and want to be prepared before I start removing too much.

Thanks
Ciro

P.S. I know that trim looks nasty, it will be varnished after repairs
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Old 18-10-2016, 12:06   #2
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Re: Advice on resealing port lights w/ wood (teak?) trim

...Anyone?

I knew this wouldn't be an easy project...wondering if it would be easier to replace them completely with new port lights, although the forward port lights have an interesting shape to them that would be hard to work around.
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Old 18-10-2016, 13:52   #3
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Re: Advice on resealing port lights w/ wood (teak?) trim

It's kinda opening the proverbial can of worms.

I recommend making new...some of the old is rotten, some scrubbed down and wavy. When you pull bungs out it is difficult not to inflict damage. You can pull it apart quicker not worrying that you will wreck something, just don't destroy your "templates".
There are better ways to make corners. The upper forward curves will take the time to reproduce.

Straight millwork, mass production on the corners will go quick. Teak "guesstimate" $2-300. If you don't have a table saw, chop saw and a router...get a reputable carpenter to make rough frame bits. Around a day, not including glueing (epoxy) you do final sanding and finish...

Now the can of worms...with the trim removed it's the perfect time repair coach sides from excess teak sanding grooves into gelcoat/glass. Then to paint, at least from the eyebrow to the deck/nonskid before trim install...


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Old 18-10-2016, 19:09   #4
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Re: Advice on resealing port lights w/ wood (teak?) trim

Quote:
Originally Posted by captjcook View Post
It's kinda opening the proverbial can of worms.

I recommend making new...some of the old is rotten, some scrubbed down and wavy. When you pull bungs out it is difficult not to inflict damage. You can pull it apart quicker not worrying that you will wreck something, just don't destroy your "templates".
There are better ways to make corners. The upper forward curves will take the time to reproduce.

Straight millwork, mass production on the corners will go quick. Teak "guesstimate" $2-300. If you don't have a table saw, chop saw and a router...get a reputable carpenter to make rough frame bits. Around a day, not including glueing (epoxy) you do final sanding and finish...

Now the can of worms...with the trim removed it's the perfect time repair coach sides from excess teak sanding grooves into gelcoat/glass. Then to paint, at least from the eyebrow to the deck/nonskid before trim install...


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Thanks for the advice!

...sounds like a much bigger job that I was hoping for. If it was my only project would be no problem, but still, it needs to be done. I know someone who I trust to do the woodwork but might take a different approach, although the teak would look really nice after everything is done and finished...the thought of having to do gel coat at the same time is daunting to say the least, but you are right...it would be a good time to do it. At least in that area.

I hate to take the easy route but putting it off seems like a bad idea since I already have soft spots in the deck. Maybe I can temporary patch the gaps with silicone til I have time to do it right? I learned long ago putting this off can cause more problems later on but I'd rather wait if it's possible.
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Old 19-10-2016, 05:03   #5
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Re: Advice on resealing port lights w/ wood (teak?) trim

Wow, those look just like mine. I had to re-make one of the outside frames. Of course, not one corner was square. Aft Port-light | Sailing Vessel Vigah
As I only had to do one, it took the better part of a day added up over a week. I used a table saw, dado and router for the job. Although the came off in pieces do to being glued in with the devil's caulk (5200), I had to glue the pieces enough to use as rough patterns. Good luck.

BTW, like most boat projects, not hard, just time consuming. Measure twice, (maybe thrice), cut once. Teak is pricey. A lot of my teak comes from Exotic Lumber in Annapolis, Md
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Old 19-10-2016, 05:14   #6
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Re: Advice on resealing port lights w/ wood (teak?) trim

For another option, eliminate the exterior wood altogether and use 3m vhb tape and structural glazing silicone to mount smoked acrylic over the openings, the wood trim can stay inside safe from the sun.


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Old 19-10-2016, 05:43   #7
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Re: Advice on resealing port lights w/ wood (teak?) trim

The most probable reason for water leaks is the portlights are poorly bedded in the fiberglass. You probably need to remove and re-install all of them. Might want to consider replacing them with new. New found metals (New Found Metals, Inc.) has nice product cheap. Removing the wood will be tricky and you want to be careful to not break the old pieces so you can use them for a template to make new. Silicone will not stop the leaks as the water will migrate somewhere else and find a way inside anyway.
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Old 19-10-2016, 06:41   #8
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Re: Advice on resealing port lights w/ wood (teak?) trim

I think your best course of action is to pull one out entirely and see what you've got. When you have them entirely out you'll be in better position to assess the situation and engineer their replacements. Save what would you can during removal, either for reuse or use as templates.

It's obviously going to be new acrylic lenses (why do all this work and put the old crazed/scratched/whatever plastic back in?) bedded into a renovated opening. You'll want to dig out any compromised core and ideally a bit more all the way around the opening and fill with thickened epoxy.

As far as getting the old frames off, they likely have bungs hiding screws. Get those out and a couple of sharp stiff putty knives should get them off. Piano wire can work wonders in getting things off gelcoat, even stuff adhered with 5200, which your boat thankfully predates.

When replacing the interior vinyl, you'd be well served to make templates (either soft or hard) first given the irregular shape of the cabin sides. Seems like an extra step but will make the project much easier.

As suggestion you might want to replace the wood with something else, like Starboard, which you can mill essentially like wood. It would be more expensive, but it would be much lower maintenance going forward. Others may have suggestions for an appropriate material.

I think the key thing is if you're going to do this you want to do it right. It's time consuming and it's illogical to invest all that labor and undermine your result with corner-cutting.

I replaced the nine port lights on boat a couple of winters ago. They were old Bomars that were shot, bedded completely in 5200, and I needed to cut out part of the opening to make it wider and fill with epoxy to make them slightly less tall. Off hand I think about 12 hours of work went into each one.

FYI when I was growing up, I thought Columbia 50's were really cool. They had a certain "traditional yet modern" quality and all that level deck seemed like a dream.
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Old 20-10-2016, 04:44   #9
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Re: Advice on resealing port lights w/ wood (teak?) trim

Is anyone here familiar with this site's products? Scientific Solutions to Wood Problems
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Old 21-10-2016, 13:31   #10
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Re: Advice on resealing port lights w/ wood (teak?) trim

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Originally Posted by bletso View Post
Wow, those look just like mine. I had to re-make one of the outside frames. Of course, not one corner was square. Aft Port-light | Sailing Vessel Vigah
As I only had to do one, it took the better part of a day added up over a week. I used a table saw, dado and router for the job. Although the came off in pieces do to being glued in with the devil's caulk (5200), I had to glue the pieces enough to use as rough patterns. Good luck.

BTW, like most boat projects, not hard, just time consuming. Measure twice, (maybe thrice), cut once. Teak is pricey. A lot of my teak comes from Exotic Lumber in Annapolis, Md
Thanks! It's good to see what yours looks like taken apart, so I know what to expect when I get mine in pieces. When I have the time, I'll rip out the worst one and start there, I haven't looked into the price of teak here on Kauai, but since everything is more expensive, I don't expect it will be cheap. Ideally I'd like to have everything I need ready to go before I rip open my port lights at the start of Winter in the wettest spot on earth (Quite literally) but would be good to get started before the rains come and make everything worse. I'll post updates when I get started for future reference to others. For now, I'm working on mounting my solar panels and installing my upgraded electrical system. Then Port lights after i've recovered from the financial wounds of the electrical project.
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Old 21-10-2016, 13:41   #11
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Re: Advice on resealing port lights w/ wood (teak?) trim

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Originally Posted by Suijin View Post

"It's obviously going to be new acrylic lenses (why do all this work and put the old crazed/scratched/whatever plastic back in?) bedded into a renovated opening. You'll want to dig out any compromised core and ideally a bit more all the way around the opening and fill with thickened epoxy.

"As far as getting the old frames off, they likely have bungs hiding screws. Get those out and a couple of sharp stiff putty knives should get them off. Piano wire can work wonders in getting things off gelcoat, even stuff adhered with 5200, which your boat thankfully predates."
Piano wire! thats a great idea! I'll be sure to remember that when I'm ready to tear it apart. I might have some old guitar string somewhere too that would work the same I think...I'll have to look into the cost of new acrylic lenses, the current condition of those installed are not too bad, but it would be a shame to re-use old stuff when everything else will be new...i'm sure i'd regret not replacing later on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suijin View Post
"When replacing the interior vinyl, you'd be well served to make templates (either soft or hard) first given the irregular shape of the cabin sides. Seems like an extra step but will make the project much easier."
I won't be replacing the old vinyl...I'll actually be ripping out all of it. I hate the stuff. My first boat had mold throughout the whole vessel that I didnt see til after ripping it out. The mold had formed on the foam and glue in between the vinyl and fiberglass. I ripped that out and spent way too many hours scrubbing the glue/mold off. I think it is a horrible idea to cover everything up, most hardware is covered by my interior cabinetry and wiring will be completely redone soon with LED's anyways so I see no point in replacing it. I like to see when things are leaking rather than them dripping behind the vinyl and coming out elsewhere causing more problems. I will have to paint the interior after removing it as there are noticable markings from the builders left behind.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Suijin View Post
"FYI when I was growing up, I thought Columbia 50's were really cool. They had a certain "traditional yet modern" quality and all that level deck seemed like a dream.
The level deck is by far my favorite part of this boat...can't wait to get her in better shape, she was neglected for too long so lots of work to do, but she's worth it.
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Old 21-10-2016, 14:13   #12
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Re: Advice on resealing port lights w/ wood (teak?) trim

I agree that on the outside you might be better to replace the teak. It could be removed, glued together etc, but going to be messy. I might use something like Starboard for the outside, but very well may just go without any trim at all. Have plexiglass cut and edges finished to sit flush on the fiberglass.
BTW, an easy way to get old wood plugs out is to take a sheet metal screw and your wireless drill, screw the screw into the center of the plug, when it hits the head of the embedded screw it forces the plug right out cleanly.
Not sure how those are made, as mentioned remove one and see what you are up against. Is it possible you can remove the glass and outer trim without disturbing the inner trim?
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