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Old 20-05-2020, 15:06   #1
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Is there life left in this teak deck?

Do you think this teak deck can be resuscitated? If so, how should it be done?

(I am contemplating the purchase of this 1966 Cheoy Lee. All boat systems seem solid but the wood has not been maintained. My goal is to get another decade of life before a more drastic solution must be put into play. All input is truly appreciated.)
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Old 21-05-2020, 05:01   #2
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Re: Is there life left in this teak deck?

I don't know anything about teak decks but maybe there's something here that could help?

natural Teak Deck repair -www.cruisersforum.com › forums › natural-teak-deck-repair-212413

Jan 9, 2019 - Please!!! to ALL who have a boat < 1990. Do NOT remove the good old naturally grown teak with 15mm which is usually grinded down by some ...Teak deck leak repair - Cruisers & Sailing Forums
31 Oct 2016

Cost of Fixing Teak Decking? - Cruisers & Sailing Forums
10 Jul 2019

Cost of Fixing Teak Decking? - Cruisers Forum
11 Jul 2019

Remediating Old Teak Decks - Cruisers & Sailing Forums
3 Jun 2017

More results from www.cruisersforum.com


There are a few video clips on YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...ing+on+a+boat+
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Old 21-05-2020, 05:17   #3
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Re: Is there life left in this teak deck?

Not seeing the boat in person, will doubt you will get 10 yrs out of her before you need to do major deck work. You've already indicated that the decks have not been maintained, so the probability is high there is moisture in the balsa deck core or balsa mush. If there isn't water in the core yet, you will not want to wait even a few years to do some deck work.

If this is the boat for you and the price is right, taking all the teak off yourself, filling screw holes and glassing over can be done reasonably (cost and time) if you do the work yourself. Most of the work will be in the removal of the teak and making certain you fill all the screw holes.

Are the masts the original wood or have they been replaced? How about chain plates, have they been replaced? New motor? (other things to consider buying an older boat).
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Old 21-05-2020, 05:27   #4
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Re: Is there life left in this teak deck?

My concern would be deck below the teak. That teak was installed with screws. Most 50 year old screws, no matter what they are made, will be significantly degraded. Those screws are certainly leaking water into the underlying deck. If the deck is solid glass, it won't be affected, but whatever is underneath the deck will be. If the deck is balsa cored, it will have turned to mush. I would spend a lot of time inspecting inside cabin roof. You have to be able to see the underside of the deck. Maybe the screws don't go all the way through and all is fine, but maybe not. Water leaking into the boat for 30-40 years could have caused considerable damage. The cost to fix the damage could be considerable. Maybe you don't care and just want to sail the boat. My experience with used boats is if the prior owner didn't maintain one aspect of the boat, he didn't maintain any thing else. Be careful.
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Old 21-05-2020, 06:20   #5
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Re: Is there life left in this teak deck?

There are three issues here. I speak from having had two boats with teak decks and helping two other people "fix" their decks. Issue one is the teak itself. It may look bad, but thatís just cosmetic. Making it look "decent" may require sanding it to the point where itís so thin that the plugs fall out, which will mean removing and resetting all the screws and replacing the plugs. Then recaulking. I wouldnít do that on an old teak deck.

Two, trying to replace it with a new teak deck will probably cost more than the boat is worth.

Removing the old teak isnít all that big a job, except that you have to dismount everything on the deck. That means getting access to ALL the underside of the deck. On my current boat, removing the interior liners would take several days.

The screws holding the teak to the deck will be a pain. Some will be gone from corrosion, some will break off, some will pull out. Thereís 3-5 thousand of them. Each can be an adventure.

Now youíre down to the structure. If youíre very lucky, you have a solid fiberglass deck, so you can just fill the old holes and recover the deck, then remount everything. More likely is a cored deck with some amount of water intrusion over the years. That can mean cutting out damaged coring, replacing old wooden backing blocks, etc. You wonít know for sure until you take things apart. Maybe youíll need new backing blocks and plates, new chainplates, etc. Once you start, youíre committed.

My specific example from last year. While I was hauled out, I was going to repaint chain markings. Dropped chain on the ground and repainted. While pulling it back up, the windlass solenoid Control box failed. While replacing that, the plywood backing plate for the windlass was found to be delaminated. Removing the windlass broke all the mounting bolts. Open coring had to be fixed. Then discovered that the forward cleats and anchor bitt had the same problems. Then old screws holding the pulpit rail bases. Take them loose to find the 40-year-old bases are cracked. Taking the bases off the pulpit tubing revealed that the pulpit rails had corroded on the inside and the rails broke.

The teak deck is just the tip of this iceberg.
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Old 21-05-2020, 06:38   #6
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Re: Is there life left in this teak deck?

Hose the deck and watch it dry.

Any areas that stay wet are problematic.
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Old 21-05-2020, 06:41   #7
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Re: Is there life left in this teak deck?

Decks look pretty sprung to me. What does she look like belowdecks? Visible patterns of seepage down the walls?

I would pass on that boat if it was me...

(Sorry, because I agree classic Cheoy Lees are really beautiful)

<Sigh>
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Old 21-05-2020, 06:48   #8
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Re: Is there life left in this teak deck?

Nah - DEFinitely pass on that boat. The whole starboard side deck looks really dodgy and from what I can see in the pics, a number of stanchions need to be rebedded...

I dunno - maybe you are looking for a project boat that needs a major refit...?

(Sorry)
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Old 21-05-2020, 09:00   #9
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Re: Is there life left in this teak deck?

That boat is 54 years old. If that teak is original, it is completely worthless.

We re-caulked the entire original teak deck on our 1988 Norseman 400 when it was 26 years old, five years ago, thinking the there was still life in the teak. A hell of a job removing the old caulking, replacing a few teak strips, installing new plugs, sanding in between each teak strip, sanding on top of the teak, vacuuming up the dust, cleaning the cracks with solvent, taping, then applying the caulk. $3,000 and three weeks later, the results were stunning. But it didn't last.

Fast forward five years in the Mexico sun. The teak has worn so thin, we will be tearing it off and replacing it with non-skid this coming winter. The "new" rubber caulking is now 1/8" taller than the teak - it was level with the teak after the teak deck project, when we figured we had a solid 1/4" of teak remaining. Maybe because the teak was so old to begin with, it just couldn't withstand any more sun and salt water.

We don't scrub the teak, but every time it gets rinsed off, the water is brown. The teak is disintegrating before our eyes. And, it's hot as hell to the bare feet.

Like the others have mentioned, I'd be highly suspicious of the underlying surface UNDER the teak. The whole thing could be rotten or infested with termites.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old 21-05-2020, 09:14   #10
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Re: Is there life left in this teak deck?

My 41" Cheoy Lee had teak decks. The original owner did 3 upgrades on the boat. Upgrade to 1/2" for the teak, aluminum toe rail and 2 extra coats of varnish below. The teak took work, and any caulking repairs were painstaking, reefing out the old, cleaning, priming, taping and recaulking. My deck never popped bungs. It appears that someone has free handed a caulking tube in these pics. Does the teak 'cup'? Like Rucksta, does the deck stay wet after a wash? These are the easy visual signs. What happens under is another question(s).
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Old 21-05-2020, 09:40   #11
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Re: Is there life left in this teak deck?

Looks like good old teak. If you can avoid DO NOT REPLACE with plantation teak!! This teak is scrap!!!

So: if you have 8-10 mm left then it can be done.
Remove all screws and drill it deeper. Rescrew
Remove all chaulk and rechaulk
grind it down until it is plain.(minium possible) Do not grind out any wooden structure - it will turn out soon.

NEVER EVER paint or oil your teakdeck. Only use a mild brush and salt water and you are fine for the next 20 years with your good old teak.

Never grind a teak deck to make it look smooth - you decrease lifetime to much.

Lots of infos on the net how to rebed screws and rechaulk properly.
Only use the best tools you can bug.

Good luck.
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Old 21-05-2020, 09:46   #12
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Re: Is there life left in this teak deck?

Ah, btw. deckhouse and reel. remove all outside paint and let the sun seal it. Else you will have to paint it twice a year. No fun at all.

OK it might look a bit silver coated but it lasts for ever with a rugged surface.
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Old 21-05-2020, 10:00   #13
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Re: Is there life left in this teak deck?

To me, shot.


Replacement time.



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Old 21-05-2020, 10:32   #14
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Re: Is there life left in this teak deck?

I would walk away from that one - for sure.
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Old 21-05-2020, 10:33   #15
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Re: Is there life left in this teak deck?

I would not be too eager to either pass on this or rip up the decks. Previous commenters have expressed concern over a rotten sub deck. And, they are absolutely correct. But....you are in California, from the photos, I guess SoCal. Warm, dry, a Med climate. Less chance of rot than the PNW, So check for softness and evidence of leakage below decks; if none, then reset the screws where necessary, re-bung where necessary, re-caulk and simply clean the decks. I suggest taking a look at the TDS website for materials and suggestions and Rebecca Whittmans book, "Brightwork, the art of finishing wood" is a superb reference.
On a personal note, I owned and cared for a 1967 42 foot wooden ketch with partial teak decks in San Diego. They looked like yours. No rot, no under deck deterioration and refastening and re-caulking is what I did. Recaulking is not easy but beats the alternative.
Finally, Cheoy Lee makes a great boat. It looks like a Lion or Robb 35 some of their better designs. I would respect the original design and try to preserve as much as possible.
Please keep us informed and send more photos and....good luck!
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