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Old 23-11-2011, 00:56   #1
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Caulking and Teak . . . Do I Need a Barber ?

So I have got more teak on my boat that a Burma rain forest and after 15 years it needs a little work, mainly because the caulking has become proud. I realise that in the end I am going to need some new knee caps and a surgical brace for my back but is there an easier way of taking off excess caulking or is a chisel the best way?

I will no doubt need to renew or replace parts of the caulking with something, probably Sikoflex but using it was described to me as akin to a baby learning to feed. It will end up around your hands, face and hair and not where you want it. Is there any tips for doing it properly or should I book a barber now to cut all my hair off?

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Old 23-11-2011, 04:00   #2
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Re: Caulking and Teak ... Do I need a Barber?

The chisel would need to be nicely sharp...

What about using a power planer set to the height of caulking above teak minus a bit to make sure that teak does not get touched? You'll end up with a small bump of caulking above teak, but that helps not slipping on decks.
[We haven't had to use it ourselves yet - only 1.5 mm above teak so far...]

Home renovation shops usually sell knee pads that make working with teak much nicer. Just don't repeat my mistake of getting the softest knee pads that [here's the error in thinking] had smooth plastic outside. Plastic slides too nicely over teak and caulking...

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Old 23-11-2011, 05:13   #3
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Re: Caulking and Teak ... Do I need a Barber?

I use a single edge razor blade, and put a little bend in it with my thumbs, so that the outer edges don't catch on the teak. I pull it toward me, do what I can reach, and then move forward or backward a couple of feet. It works well, and the blades are cheap. Buy a pack of 100 at the hardware store and throw them away as they get dull. Much faster than a chisel. You'll have to stop and sharpen the chisel more often than you think, and it's easier to gouge the teak with a chisel.

Do a few minutes every day until you finish, or get some knee pads if you're determined to do it all at once. Repeat every few years.

To clean out the old caulking, I once ground a Red Devil scraper to the proper width. I used it until I discovered the Fein tool with the teak deck blades. It works so well that you'll want to recaulk your deck often, just so you can use the tool.

Applying new caulking is messy until you get the hang of it, but if you mask the deck seams and plan carefully, you can learn to do it neatly without much trouble. I recaulked our decks with polysulfide 20 years ago to recover from the "care" lavished on them by a former owner, who had oiled them regularly. Since then, a day or so of maintenance every two or three years is all that's required. Our boat is sailed constantly in the Caribbean, so it gets frequent saltwater washes. That helps, I think.
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Old 23-11-2011, 05:24   #4
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In addition to the Fein multimaster for removing old caulking, use a half potatoe as the tool for smoothing the new sealant and use polysulfite for that.

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Old 23-11-2011, 05:44   #5
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Re: Caulking and Teak ... Do I need a Barber?

Oysters of that era have 12mm teak planks which are screwed down to the deck, if I recall correctly from the time when I was trying hard to buy an Oyster 485 a few years ago. Every single 485 I looked at had deck problems -- leaking through to the interior through screw-holes, screws pulling out, Sikaflex caulking losing its bond, etc.

If all you have is a bit of wear leaving the Sikaflex a bit proud of the teak, count your blessings. I would recommend a thorough inspection for other problems -- which will be easier to correct now than when they get worse.

For anyone contemplating buying a boat with teak decks: They are fantastic, I wouldn't want a boat without them, but try to buy one with glued-down, not screwed down decks!
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Old 23-11-2011, 05:47   #6
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Re: Caulking and Teak ... Do I need a Barber?

Get your sander out and sand the deck. This will lower the caulk and flatten out the grain of the teak. When the grain starts showing this means that the sft parts f the teak have wrn away faster than the harder parts. This is normal. The best maintained boats sand their decks every year or so. In the old days seamen used holy stones (pumice) and sanded their decks regularly. Sikaflex is not a good deck caulk. I have made a lot of money removing Sikaflex deck caulk from new imported yachts. I wuld recommend teak deck caulking frm Teak Decking Systems or Maritime Wd Products. They are very similar and work very well.
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Old 23-11-2011, 06:36   #7
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Re: Caulking and Teak ... Do I need a Barber?

I have produced a video called, "How to caulk Teak Decks" that will answer all your questions and show you how to avoid mistakes and save alot of time. If interested send me a private message.

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