replacing the wood on the cabin side of a classic sailboat - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 42 Old 08-04-2012 Thread Starter
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replacing the wood on the cabin side of a classic sailboat

So my boat had solid 3/8" teak 16" high by 15' long on the cabin sides, after going through 2 or 3 clueless owners it had cracked and rotted beyond repair. Since finding something like that today is nearly impossible, I have been considering scarfing two pieces of teak ply. However finding two pieces of teak ply where the grain matches has turned out to be a difficult task. The guys at exotic lumber told be they cant get an order for two consecutive grain pieces, and all they pieces iv seen there the grain repeats its self every 4 inches or so, that would look pretty cheesy. The guy john at Vienna hardwoods told me yea sure ill order them right up, calling an checking in to see if they had arrived every couple days he keeps saying probably be here in a couple days, today his helper picked up and told me he never actually ordered the pieces, three weeks waiting. soooo now I just want to know what others have done, as I know there are a couple boats out there with teak cabin sides. Please any info on using wood for this application would be greatly appreciated. this is keeping me from taking the tarp off my boat, and being weather proof. Thanks soo much
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post #2 of 42 Old 08-04-2012
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Re: replacing the wood on the cabin side of a classic sailboat

I would not use a veneered product like a plywood for an exterior application like yours.
I doubt you could find 16" wide stock of teak anywhere and if you did it would cost more then your boat.
I do think you should be able to find teak lumber in lengths > 15' though. If you could mill say, 3 pieces that were 3/8" thick by 5-1/2" wide by > 15' that you could join together to make a single piece.
I would use a tool called a biscuit joiner to help hold the edges together and most likely use an epoxy as the glue.
Your only other choice is to scarf shorter segments together as you suggested.

That teak panel on your cabin side could be quite beautiful and striking but it is going to cost you plenty to fabricate out of teak nowadays.

The cheaper and lower maintenance choice would be to replace most of that piece with fiberglass and make teak trim for your ports, or some compromise like that.

Another choice is to just use what you have. You can patch cracks and rotten sections with epoxy mixed with teak saw dust. It would still look good from 50' but would still require constant monitoring and periodic maintenance.

Good luck however you proceed.
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post #3 of 42 Old 08-04-2012
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Re: replacing the wood on the cabin side of a classic sailboat

I had to replace the teak piece below my main sheet runner and found that there are other species that have the characteristics of Teak but are more available and cheaper. The species I used was "canary wood" which looks like, cuts like, and is said to have the same rot resistance of teak. We'll see. Mahogany woods are NOT a good substitute and have nowhere near the density and rot resistance of the teak and rosewood families. As Caleb has said, carefully joining pieces of this (or teak) would probably be a good solution. I would use a full length plywood spline glued w/epoxy. A good carpenter with a shooting block should be able to make pieces blend into each other as one.
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post #4 of 42 Old 08-04-2012
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Re: replacing the wood on the cabin side of a classic sailboat

Why does it have to be solid? Seems to me that 4" teak lumber would give the effect you're looking for. Band-saw 3/4" stock and you're in business.
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post #5 of 42 Old 08-05-2012
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Re: replacing the wood on the cabin side of a classic sailboat

I'd guess that he incredibly wide width of the original piece contributed as much to the cracking as the previous owners did. That's a lot of width to absorb the expansion and contraction over the years. I'm with Caleb when it comes to not using ply; even the best is going to delaminate sooner or later. Making it of three pieces with the center piece being the same width as your portlights will make it look purposeful. Also then, only the top and bottom pieces need to be the full 16 feet. The pieces in-between the port lights can be shorter. I don't think they have to be a dead on color/grain match; the sun will take care of that for you.
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post #6 of 42 Old 08-05-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: replacing the wood on the cabin side of a classic sailboat

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I had to replace the teak piece below my main sheet runner and found that there are other species that have the characteristics of Teak but are more available and cheaper. The species I used was "canary wood" which looks like, cuts like, and is said to have the same rot resistance of teak. We'll see. Mahogany woods are NOT a good substitute and have nowhere near the density and rot resistance of the teak and rosewood families. As Caleb has said, carefully joining pieces of this (or teak) would probably be a good solution. I would use a full length plywood spline glued w/epoxy. A good carpenter with a shooting block should be able to make pieces blend into each other as one.
yea the joining 3 pieces was my second idea, what is this shooting block you speak of to blend the pieces together?
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post #7 of 42 Old 08-05-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: replacing the wood on the cabin side of a classic sailboat

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Why does it have to be solid? Seems to me that 4" teak lumber would give the effect you're looking for. Band-saw 3/4" stock and you're in business.
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Im not so interested in making it solid, Id just want to blend the multiple pieces together so it doesn't look like a patch up job.
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post #8 of 42 Old 08-05-2012
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Re: replacing the wood on the cabin side of a classic sailboat

There are a number of ways to solidly butt-join multiple pieces together. In personal order of preference:

1) Biscuits. Works okay, I would not use it in this application in case of movement/water penetration between biscuits

2) Route the entire length using a specially-designed router, e.g. Router Bit for Glue Joint

3) Using a spline. Basically cut a groove the entire length of both pieces of lumber, maybe 1/4" deep, and then slot a thinner strip of wood the entire length, then glue the pieces together.

There are other methods - e.g. butterflys - but they are not suitable for this application IMHO.

If I were you, I would hand-select the pieces of teak for a good match. I have often spent an hour of so at a lumber mill, piling up wood, putting them side by side, matching to get ones just right. Sometimes I get thicker wood (disclaimer: furniture building not boat building) and split it to have perfect mirror-images!

Good luck.
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post #9 of 42 Old 08-05-2012
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Re: replacing the wood on the cabin side of a classic sailboat

The one photo doesn't look that bad! Can you remove it? You should be able to order it. it will be very $$$ive

The group over here should be able to help/guide you http://forum.woodenboat.com/forum.php

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post #10 of 42 Old 08-05-2012
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Re: replacing the wood on the cabin side of a classic sailboat

I can get Teak that size, just did. Contact Targo Woods, they have a website.

Baggett and Sons Marine Restoration
The Landing at Colony Wharf
Bellingham, WA.

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