Homemade Teak Decks, Part Two - SailNet Community

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Old 10-02-2002
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Homemade Teak Decks, Part Two


Steve Gallo tests the flexibility of the new teak decking after finishing the application on Zatara's cabin house.
In the conclusion of our first article about installing your own teak deck (Homemade Teak Decks), we left off where Ken Newell and his partner Steve Gallo had prepared the old deck and were ready to lay the new one. In this article, they'll explain how they installed the new deck. What follows is an excerpt of the chronicle Newell wrote to document the refit of his 50-foot cutter Zatara:

"We decided to start with the cabin house, figuring that weíd have fewer curves to cut there so it would be a good guinea-pig location just in case our technique needed refining. Iíll continue the step by step discussion of what we did to install new teak decking, in this case over a fairly flat and fairly uniform surface with few curves.

"First, begin by applying a heavy layer of thickened epoxy to the wet-out deck surface. You should thicken the resin and hardener mixture to a mayonnaise consistency with a high-density filler. We then added enough 423 Graphite Powder to turn the mixture to an opaque black color. We recommend 10 pumps of resin, 10 pumps of hardener, two tablespoons of graphite and three cups of 404 high-density filler per batch. Apply enough thickened epoxy to bridge the gaps between the strips and the deck and to squeeze up and fill the gap between the planks. We found that an 809 Notched Spreader works well to apply an even layer over the deck, but be sure to leave your reference marks uncovered so that you can use those to get the strips in the right location.

"Position the first set of strips on the deck, bedding them in the epoxy. This is where using the reference marks comes in handy.


Steve applies the new decking after spreading out the epoxy mix. The screw clamps are visible in nearly uniform rows. The authors caution that anyone undertaking a job like this will want to have several hundred pairs of disposable latex gloves on hand, along with numerous rolls of paper towel and lots of trash bags.
"Clamp the strips in place with No. 10 sheet metal screws and large washers. Place the screws and washers between the strips, about eight inches apart. Each row of screws will clamp down the edges of the two adjoining planks and act as spacers as well. Coat the screws and washers with a mold release (cooking non-stick spray) or place a small sheet of plastic under the washers to prevent bonding. Washers may also be cut from stiff plastic, thin wood lath covered with plastic, or similar stock with holes drilled for the screws. Push the adjoining strips tightly against the screws before tightening the screws completely. Tighten the screws enough to hold the strips firmly in place and force some of the epoxy mixture to squeeze up between the strips. Fill any voids between the planks with the epoxy/404/graphite mixture and smooth the excess epoxy flush with the surface of the teak strips. Youíll also want to scrape up the excess epoxy around the outside edges of the set of strips before the epoxy begins to gel.

"Then bond the remaining strips in place, several at time, following the same procedure. Adjust the number of strips or size of the batch of epoxy as necessary. Then, allow the epoxy to fully cure before removing any of the screw clamps.

"Youíll want to remove the screws and washers within 24 hours. Itís best to tighten the screws slightly, say by five degrees, before backing it out. If you have difficulty removing a screw, heat the head with a soldering gun's cutter tip. While the screw is still hot, try to unscrew it again. Repeat until you are successful.


At left, the teak planks are bedded in the epoxy and the screw clamps have been removed, all that's left is the sanding and sealing to attain the finish product, at right. The vacant area on the left was finished out with quarter-inch boarder planks. The authors spent $900 on the materials for the cabin house.

"Then fill the screw holes with epoxy/404/graphite mixture. A syringe loaded with the mixture will speed the process. If the screws penetrated a panel, seal the back of the hole with duct tape before filling the hole.

Lastly, sand to level the surface and remove saw marks from the teak surface. Use a belt sander or disc sander with 50-grit sandpaper for the initial sanding. A commercial floor sander work well for large decks. The floor sanders are also highly recommended for stripping the non-skid off the deck. Finish with 80-grit and then 120-grit paper. The teak surface may be left natural or finished with a marine-grade teak oil, marine varnish or even West System 105 Resin/207 Hardener and a high quality two-part polyurethane varnish.

In the next installment of this series Ken and Steve will reveal how they installed the side decks and the foredeck on Zatara, and how they dealt with the difficult issues of the curves of the sheer and the king plank.




Suggested Reading:

Homemade Teak Decks by SailNet

Techniques for Removing Teak Decks by Sue & Larry

Mounting Deck Hardware by Tom Wood

SailNet Store Section: Deck Hardware and Fasteners


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