View Full Version : Wood filler versus caulk

01-30-2010, 09:22 AM
I am restoring the interior of an older boat and some of the joints of the teak trim have voids. At what point do you use caulk, filler or scarfs? What is a good rule of thumb to follow?


Dale Genther
01-30-2010, 10:59 AM
Can you post a few photos of the voids are you talking about?

Peter Malcolm Jardine
01-30-2010, 12:26 PM
If by using the word 'void' you are talking about gaps in trim, then for the most part using wood fillers, or teak or mahogany sawdust fillers, will work just fine.

Try to look at the interior of the boat from the point of view of a living thing. Does it appear that the pieces you are talking about will flex with the boat some? For instance, trying to get two longitudinal pieces of flooring to glue together with a simple joint is not likely. If these are pieces that have naturally developed gaps because of shrinkage, glue failure, the boat moving somewhat over time, then taking them apart and putting them back together might be more work than is necessary. I typically use a waterproof cabinet glue with sawdust, and use an artists oil knife to push it into small gaps. I sand it, touch up the stain if I need to, then finish.

If these are pieces that have developed unnaturally large gaps, that appear to have pulled apart for some reason, then you may have some greater problems.... a bulkhead that starts to shift or deteriorate where it joints the hull will also start to shift trim on doors and attached shelving or storage lockers.

Caulking is typically paintable, but using a sandust filler usually looks better. Sometimes a small spline can be used as well, carefully cut, then glued into the gap.

Tell us more about your boat. We like old boats :D

01-30-2010, 04:55 PM
The gaps in my teak trim pieces are caused by me being in a rush at the start of the project about 5 years ago and not allowing for the width of the saw blade; or were caused by mis cuts made by assuming all of the corners were a perfect 90 degrees on the boat. So most the gaps are a sliver of a triangle with the base no larger than 1/8th of an inch.

Now that I am retired I can devote a lot more time to doing it correctly. No one else seems to notice these defects but they are driving me nuts.


02-02-2010, 10:22 AM
Hi there my brother.
When i retired I relined the staircase i my house with good looking oak.
However the christmas was coming and I wanted to show off for my nears and dears. Hurry Hurry!
Now I am in the same situation as You are.
This is what I intend to do.
I tape everywhere so that I get a nice gap of ca 3-4 millimeters.
The triangles arenīt wider than that at the worst.
Then I buy a tube of elastic putty in a dark colour, apply it and take away the tape.
Hopefully it will work.
Greetings! PER