Prism's Blog

Caulking Decks…

So today I stared pretty early and got started on the big project of re-caulking the decks. My plan was to start with the port midship teak pad. its about six foot by three foot. Now I knew this would be a slow process, to have this done would cost 5-8 thousand dollars! I was armed with my new Harbor Freight battery operated circular saw and my TDS reaming tool. To start I needed to take off the staysail track that runs diagonally on the teak decks. This would have been a synch with two people, but with Shannon gone I needed to rig vicegrips to hold onto the nuts while I unscrewed the 15 bolts that thru bolt out coachroof. After struggling with that for over an hour I then could move on to the Sissy bars as we call them. This should have been a synch with the 4 crown nuts holding them on their teak platforms. Now I had already got a glimpse on how this system was done when repairing the diesel heater because the teak access plate is right next to the charlie noble. There are 4 bolts that are glassed into the coachroof sitting upright.

The Idea that the builder must of had is that these bolts would be water tight and would not turn because the epoxy is badass. Well 30 years later the epoxy has gotten a bit more brittle, I’m sure that water has gotten in there and my crown bolts are very rusty and never serviced. Well the fist four nuts came off no problem, the forward four all broke loose and turned. These four just happened to be the four that sit right above our heads in our pullman bed. Now that I had turned these bolts and undoubtedly broke the water tight seal that they may or may not have had I was committed to get the bolts out now. I now had to switch gears, pull out my die grinder, switch bits, drape our bed and belongings with plastic so none of that pesty itchy fiberglass get on it. I came up with the Idea to electrical tape (my dad would be so proud) the vacuum nozzle to the front of the die grinder to help contain the collateral damage.

 Cutting the glass out and exposing the bolts was actually went really smooth and my little vacuum contraption worked marvelously. Then it went to the next step of putting the open end on the top nut and then cranking on the bolt below, breaking it loose, climbing outside and changing nuts and proceeding. I did have an issue with one of the bolts because the builder decided to weld the flat washers to the end of the bolt (no idea why). The slag from the weld had mauled hex fitting and didn’t allow me to put my socket around the head far enough to get a good purchase to break the nut loose. After some more careful die grinding (thank god for really badass bits) I managed to get the slag off and break it loose. All while my neck has some muscle pulled, I think i did it moving two of the old 70lb 6volt batteries out of the boat two days ago. The placement of these four bolts forced me to sit and work from one position. The axis of my head to see what the hell I was doing was the only axis my neck currently was still stubborn about. There was a moment of weakness when dealing with the troubled bolt, trying to break it loose with contorting the socket on the hex head. I literately got so pissed off at my neck I proceeded to punch and cuss out the sore muscle where I imagined its face was. About four hard punches in I then realized the sore muscle wasn’t an arrogant prick, it was a muscle I pulled from straining myself and all I was doing was looking like an idiot throwing profanity and punches with my free arm.

Moving on….

Three hours after starting the day I actually got to cutting out caulk. I was dieing to try out my new circular saw. The great thing about power tools is that they do stuff really quick. The bad thing about power tools is that you can mess up really quick. I started very slow, just setting the blade and cutting the diameter of the blade, then lifting and going two more inches down. After I got a feel for how the saw cut I then stared doing little runs. An hour into cutting I was doing entire lengths.

 Problem with a circle as your blade is that you cant get all the way to the edge without hitting fiberglass. Thats where my die grinder came in. Using the cone tip I managed to rout these areas. I had to be very careful with this, one blink and you can do serious and very bad damage that you will live with forever. taking my sweet time I completed all the little run with the die grinder on messing up in one place. The imperfection is tiny and will probably come out with the final sand. Getting really good with the die grinder, I used it to sand and get all of the left over sealant that the saw missed. I have read in multiple areas that you must be extremely thorough with getting out all remaining caulk.  By the way, this method with these tools is a very very dirty job. I had to shopvac about every 6 inches. IT IS FILTHY. The whole boat is covered with shavings. It also just so happened to be the windiest day since we have show up, spewing these shavings everywhere on the boat and beyond (sorry neighbors!)

I took my time and got everything clean. Even after a hard sand with 60 grit there are still areas where the teak is pitted from misuse and cleaning it with a hard bristle or power washer. I decided to Tape off ( too about 40 minutes) the seams and proceeded to use a metal putty knife and 2 tubes of the TDS caulk. Caulking one seam at a time and then putty knifing it seemed like a good flow (Took about 45 minutes). Lot of that was me getting my mojo down.

At the end I pulled my tape and BOOM i was done! Looks great! At then end of the day I decided to clean up my tools down stars and start of taking the hardware off the starboard side. Knowing what I knew now I got all of it off in about 30 minutes. Only had to cut out two bolts. Ready for tomorrow. Im going to get really ambitious and say I think I can do the patch and all of my decks. I got the mojo now and I dont think Imaging to need to tape the decks because they are in much better shape. We will see!

I think I’m getting the hang of this whole blog thing!


2 thoughts on “Caulking Decks…

  1. Great write up and pictures!! This project is coming up very soon on my list and this is all very helpful. I too had three dang bolts break loose on the sissy bars. I guess it was a good idea at one time.

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