To Teak or Not to Teak…

Teak, Teak, and more teak! When originally looking at boats, we wanted one that would be as low maintenance as possible (an oxymoron if there ever was one). We viewed each piece of wood as a potential problem, since every piece of wood on a boat requires an immense amount of work to look good and remain structurally sound. Teak decks are notorious for leaking and needing constant attention and the work they require is not optional. If you treat teak right it can last longer than anything else on your boat, if you abuse or neglect it, it will cost you time and money.

We knew the decks were in need of some love when we bought the boat, but it is one of those things that got pushed to the back of our minds… until now! We started noticing after washing the boat, or after a rain, the wood around certain seams took longer to dry out, water was getting below the teak. Finally, we decided it was either time we fix the splitting seams and cracked/missing bungs or rip out the teak decks completely and expose and reseal the fiberglass deck below.

This was another decision that originally started in our brains, but ended in our hearts. As much as I complain about the teak decks, I really love them! They give the boat so much character and we find them beautiful. The idea of ripping them out was almost too much to bear.

I grinded down a flathead screwdriver and sharpened it to use to scrape out the old caulk and to chip out the old bungs
I ground down a flathead screwdriver, sharpening it to scrape out the old caulk and chip out old bungs.

 

Once again we returned to our to our trusted advisor, Google, watching videos, reading forums, blogs and many how to’s on redoing teak decks. After much research on stripping seams, tapping, rec-caulking, sanding, refastening, counter sinking, epoxying screws and replacing bungs, we decided we were finally ready to tackle a small area on our boat to see if we could salvage our decks.

During our research on maintaining and re-caulking teak decks, we learned most teak decks need to have seams at least 1/8 to 3/16th’s of an inch wide and a minimum of 3/16th’s of an inch deep. It was clear after starting our new project, Agape’s deck was not like most teak decks… Our seams are very shallow and in some places less than 1/16 of an inch wide. After removing the caulking you should be able to see the fiberglass below, but on our boat the groove was so small the wood was pressing against it’s neighboring plank and we were unable to see below the wood. We decided that we would try and re-grove the boards and see how it went. I went to our local wood working store and talked to a very helpful gentlemen and after explaining to him what I wanted to do, he suggested to buy the cheapest and smallest router I could find and buy a quality bit. He sold me the $14.00 1/8″ straight router bit and I headed off to Harbor Freight, land of cheap tools that break after 3 hours. (Thank God for their return policy.) We figured since we still didn’t really know how hard or how long this project would take, we would do a test area and then re-evaluate.

So the process began…

Harbor Freight 3.5 amp routing tool

 

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Shallow grooves
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Padre and I working out the details

Having my dad back from Mexico has been a huge help. It’s been great to bounce ideas off him and get another perspective. Here Padre is scraping out the old caulk and then I route out a new groove after him.

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IMG_0984Here we’ve started one small area to try and get an idea of how much work it would be and how much time and money it would be to do the entire boat. Also if our handy work is up to par…

If anyone has done this and has some input PLEASE let us know 😉 cheers!!!!

 

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