For those of you in these forums
that manage to build beautiful 60-foot bluewater
boats out of nothing more than a bent paperclip, duct tape and belly-button lint (you know who you are) this post will be of zero value beyond its capacity to cement in you an unshakable sense of superiority. However, for those of you who have teak
decks, whose technical skills are limited to pivot tables and a decent Manhattan, and who are as intimidated by as I was at the prospect of taking on a deck
, read on...
I have a teak deck
. I have leaks
. I love my deck
. I hate my leaks
I need to re-caulk the deck, at least in places. This is an immutable fact. However, before I hunt-and-peck my way across the expanse of teak
, I decided to learn my lessons on a rather beaten cockpit hatch
cover. It is finite. It is self-contained. If everything went inevitably pear-shaped, I could just start again, and my capacity to damage something critical was limited...
Here's what I started with:
, for good or ill, is right beside the gate and gets a lot of foot traffic. As you can see, some yard work
this year managed to deposit the holy trinity of annoyances on the innocent teak - varnish
The caulking was well past its best-before, detached almost everywhere ... and missing in places...
A quick trip to Home Depot and $30 later... here are the tools I started with - the Klingon-looking thing is a "six-way-tool" - no idea what it's for, but it had lots of sharp pokey-bits, so I assumed would be handy for scraping the caulking from the hatch. The nasty-looking curved blade is a laminate trimmer - again, excellent dollar-to-nasty-sharp-blade ratio. I also bought a tube of Life-Cauk one-part-teak deck caulking, which is not to be mistaken for its sister-product that apparently requires priming. I also didn't use break-away tape, since the hatch cover won't be flexing as a deck would - this is certainly something I would, however, use on the deck itself.
STEP 1 - THE UTILITY KNIFE
This step was surprisingly simple. I ran the blade along the seam between the caulk and the teak, trying to keep the blade as tight to the wood
as possible, vertical, and trying to pierce through to the bottom of the channel.
Run the knife as cleanly as possible along both edges, and if you can get a grip on the caulking, I found that I could peel entire strips out by hand...
... This is surprisingly satisfying... brought back childhood memories of trying to peel an orange in once piece...
Unfortunately, I did not manage to keep the knife perfectly vertical or aligned during the initial cuts, so in a couple of places the caulking would adhere, like this:
STEP 2 - REMOVE RESIDUAL CAULKING
After some experimenting, I found that the laminate cutter
did the best job.
Patience is your friend - do not get distracted! ... lest you suffer my fate:
The brass wire brush does a spectacular job of removing the wee tenacious bits:
STEP 2 - CLEAN AND PREP
I cleaned the grooves with acetone, but now I was faced with the damage, staining and wear...
I hesitated before this next step. I had resolved to lose as little teak as possible, but the boards were highly corrugated. So, with 220-grit, I made the gentlest pass I could manage. The advantage of this was that it sharpened the edges of the grooves.
And then a brightener...
And finally tape. I used 3M blue painters tape. LESSON - leave enough tape at the end of a run, or create a little fold in the tape along a run. It looks all nice and neat right now, but trying to get ahold of the tape to remove it when it's covered with wet caulking that is intent on covering every surface within a 10m radius is a bear. Trust me.
STEP 3 - OK, HERE WE GO!
Now the caulking. First of all, a couple of idiot-mistakes to avoid. Firstly, when you cut the opening in the tube itself (not the nozzle), cut as low as possible without removing the nozzle threads - the larger the hole, the better. My first cut did not create a large enough hole, so squeezing the caulking was quite difficult as I unwittingly tried to force it through a fairly small hole. Lesson learned.
Push the caulking into the groove - don't draw it towards you. This will ensure that the caulking is pushed deeply into the groove. It makes a mess. Accept this fact.
After squeezing the caulking into the groove with the scraper, I then re-ran a smaller, neater bead along each. This allowed me to be sure that the caulking was well-bedded, but on the second pass I could be more precise, making sure the surface was smooth and neat.
Remove the tape IMMEDIATELY. The lines are wonderfully neat - unlike paint
, the caulking is viscous enough that there's essentially no bleed.
STEP 4 - REMOVE TAPE AND FINISH
Like I said, when you're laying the tape, try to ensure that you have a place to 'grab' on removal
. If you're patient enough when fairing the caulking, I don't think it even needs to be sanded:
... but, because I'd used a brightener and the grain lifted slightly, I gave it a very quick pass 24 hours later by hand in the direction of the grain with 320 grit.
Finally - and I wrestled with this - I gave it a coat of teak-oil. I've never done this before, and I would not do it on my deck, but my cockpit
is small and I would *consider* it there. So, I figured I try it and see how it holds up over the next few months and then make a call in the spring. Truthfully, I probably won't bother, but I like to have first-hand experiences to go by. Besides, I kinda like the grey...
So, here's the final result...
Total working time was probably 2 1/2 hours. Total elapsed time - 72 hrs.
So, lots of trial and error, and mistakes
and lessons along the way, but have at it!
Where did I go wrong? I want to be sure I have a process dialed in before taking on the deck... I'd not bother with the oil
on the deck, and would be sure I used break-away tape, but other than that, please let me know what you'd suggest I do differently next time ... don't hold back...