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latestcaper 09-01-2008 04:44 PM

teak seats
I'm looking to redo my teak cockpit seats. Is there more to it than removing the old caulk, sanding and recaulking? Any advice would be appreciated.

Gary1 09-01-2008 06:24 PM


Why are you planning on removing the caulking? Is it dried out, separated, etc? Or just to make it look neater?

If neat is what you're after, and the caulking isn't separated from the wood. Then DON'T start cutting the caulking out. I did the whole deck on Island Breeze, a 56 footer, and let me tell you, it is a lot of hard work.

If all you're trying to do is get the teak smooth again, just sand it and the existing caulking. For cockpit seating, I'd use 80-100 grit and then hit it a second time with 220 grit using a DA sander. Just remember to tape around the wood so the sander doesn't hit your gelcoat, paint, or whatever.

In the event you do need to remove the caulking, it's a tough job. Tedious, boring, and labor intensive. You have to get all of the old caulk off the wood, not just most, but all of it. I used a Dremel tool with a router adapter and a straight 1/8" carbide burr that I intentionally dulled on a piece of stainless. That made it dull enough so it would still cut the rubber on the edges of the wood, but it wasn't sharp enough to really damage the teak. It takes a light touch and a lot of patience. (And I'm just a little short on the latter.)

Next thing, after the seams are completely clean of old caulking, you need to lay a layer of 'Klean-Edge' tape in each seam. This is so the caulking doesn't stick to the fiberglass deck itself. You want the new caulking to stick to the sides of the seam, but not the bottom. (It'll heat/cool/stretch/pull and tear itself loose from the wood if it's attached to the fiberglass).

I've heard pros and cons as to whether you should strip the caulking out, sand the teak first, then apply new caulking, or strip the old stuff, put in the new stuff and just sand the whole thing at one time.

I used the latter method. I stripped the caulking out, used the Dremel to get the last of it off the wood, vacuumed everything two or three times, wiped everything down with acetone (necessary step to help leech out some of the oil in the teak--it helps the new caulk to bond.) Then I put the tape in the seams--a hassle, for sure, and applied the new caulking. BTW, I used Teak Deck Systems caulk. It's a little pricey, but it works. The original stuff got gooey when it got hot. It was made by Sika company, and I don't think it was meant to be used in the tropics. The Teak Deck Systems stuff didn't seem to care how hot it got outside. It was easy to use, sanded well and left a beautiful finish.

Good luck, and I hope this helped. ;)

1970Columbia34 09-02-2008 09:28 AM

Gary1 09-02-2008 03:17 PM

Huh? You filled the seams up with epoxy?

I'm confused.

1970Columbia34 09-02-2008 03:22 PM

yeah its thickened west system epoxy with graphite powder to turn it a black color.


Robby Barlow 09-02-2008 03:32 PM

Columbia, must say I agree with Gary1, but then again the finished thing does look good. On the other hand, is the 'most' complicated way to do things necessarily the best?

1970Columbia34 09-02-2008 03:54 PM

seems to work great mine seats have been in for 3 years and the floor for one season, both are in the same condition as day 1. i can say that its problay the more expensive way of doing it but its solid as a rock and looks great. plus in my situation it was all new teak so in my method there are no screws and plugs to mess with.


PorFin 09-02-2008 04:18 PM


As others have said earlier -- beautiful job there! Your solution will undoubtedly last for many, many years. However, it's not the way to go if Randy wants to keep his teak "naked" as a non-skid surface.

Randy -- I am also going to tackle this headache this winter. There are a few pretty useful threads from earlier in the year on how others have elected to go. Don Casey's got an opinion (I can't remember if it's posted on the BoatUS on-line library or not, but you might want to look there.) Good Old Boat has info on-line as well.

I'm seriously considering buying a Fein MultiMaster tool with the right blades -- but will see just how onerous the job is simply using a utility knife and a bent screwdriver first.

Best of luck,

1970Columbia34 09-03-2008 07:17 AM

why would the eopxy not work on a non-finsihed deck? same install sand the epoxy smooth and just don't finish it. What advantage does the caulk have over black eopxy?


sailingdog 09-03-2008 07:50 AM


Need to finish the epoxy, since it isn't UV-resistant and needs some protection from the UV.

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