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Old 09-12-2011, 09:56   #1
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Repair of Teak Toe Rail

Hi, I was caught in a storm off Point Conception in California and a piece of my cargo on deck came loose and smashed into my toe rail. She is a Hardin 44, and the toe rail appears to be solid teak and is about 6in wide or so. I could probably fix it with some West epoxy, but I would prefer to just replace the damaged section, which is about 2 feet long. I've never worked on this part of the vessel. The rail is screwed in and bunged. I assume there is going to be some sort of epoxy holding it to the hull. The damaged section is fairly straight, although I am curious how the curved part of wood that thick was bent to shape.

Thank you for any help,

Bryan
San Francisco
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Old 09-12-2011, 10:09   #2
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Re: Repair of Teak Toe Rail

Maybe it wasn't bent, but rather cut from a larger piece from a curved pattern.

The grain should indicate if this the case.
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Old 09-12-2011, 14:36   #3
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Re: Repair of Teak Toe Rail

If it is bent it would have been steam-bent, but that is unlikely for a 6" wide rail to say the least. You should have some visible joints if you look carefully. If the whole rail is one or two pieces then it was bent, but that doesn't mean your repair needs to be as well. This is a simple and common repair, for a marine carpenter. If you are not one, you should probably hire this job out. A decent carpenter will have all the right tools and knowledge to grave in a new piece easily, and it should be pretty much invisible afterword. If you want to save money by doing something yourself, do some prep work by stripping back the surrounding teak a bit first and then doing all the varnishing after the repair is complete yourself. If it's a varnished teak rail there will be way more hours in refinishing it than repairing it anyway. This job requires specialized tools and experience that most people just don't have. You could do it yourself, but unless you are experienced and equipped you will just waste a bunch of time and end up with an inferior repair, IMHO.
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Old 09-12-2011, 15:17   #4
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Re: Repair of Teak Toe Rail

More than likely it is a plank that was forced into position, using clamps, manpower, etc. Probably screwed or bolted through the deck, and/or hull to deck joint. There is probably a bedding compound under the toe rail, and that could be butyl, or caulk, but just hope it isn't something like 3M 5200. There are several ways to repair it, cutting a small piece out and fitting a new piece in just the damaged area, taking out a section from joint to joint, or anything in between. Teak really can't be steam bent, and it would be highly unlikely that they used a slab of teak 6" thick by 12-24 inches wide to saw out an individual piece. A lot of boat building is convincing wood it should bend the way you want it.

I saw a teak toe rail removed that went back to nearly straight as soon as the fasteners where removed, and that was on a 15 year old boat.
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Old 09-12-2011, 15:24   #5
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Re: Repair of Teak Toe Rail

Sorry, just re-read the original post with glasses on. 6" wide, not high. That would be sawn. If a piece can be cut out and removed, it could be used as a template to rough cut a new piece. It will take some skill to cut in a scarf (angle cut) on each end, but it can be done with some care. It will still probably be screwed or bolted down. If you can look at the cap rail on a Pacific Seacraft, you can see how they use "dog bones" to hold joints together. Spend some time looking for teak that matches.
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Old 10-12-2011, 07:00   #6
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Re: Repair of Teak Toe Rail

Can you post a photo of the injury? Different types of damage require different solutions.
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Old 10-12-2011, 07:10   #7
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Re: Repair of Teak Toe Rail

If the piece of teak is that big, you might want to look at Iroko wood as a possible replacement. It's about a third the cost of teak these days. I just rebuilt an old cockpit grate with some Iroko next to the old teak. After sanding, I can't tell the difference between the old and the new wood.
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Old 11-12-2011, 16:50   #8
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Re: Repair of Teak Toe Rail

Got a router? By clamping a set of rails for the router to ride on to the toe rail you can remove the damaged portion, not the whole cross section. Then install a new piece on a the perfectly flat and stair stepped cutout. Sand any excess off to match the external contour.
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Old 17-01-2012, 11:27   #9
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Re: Repair of Teak Toe Rail

Thanks for the replies, and especially the gentleman who recommended using a router with guide rails. That is what I will try when I start next week. I've attached the before photo. The damage crosses the serpentine joint by about 2 inches. Fortunately that damage is superficial. The other end of the bite is damaged down nearly to the glass. The piece of rigging is a port wire on the dolphin strike, which I will also replace. I'll post a shot or two of the repair attempt and result.

I haven't attached a photo before so if it isn't there I'll try again.

Bryan Kemler
San Francisco, CA
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