PDA

View Full Version : To caulk or not to caulk?...that is the question.



tomtoledo
08-01-2012, 07:40 PM
I am trying to figure out how much of the bottom I need to recaulk on my cruiser. She's been on the hard for almost 3 years and her seams have opened up and the seam compound is falling out. Several seams are loosing cotton too, those I plan on recaulking now, along with the garboard seam and near the transom...but do I need to do the seams where the cotton is still holding up? I do plan on cleaning out the dried up seam compound from all of the seams, sanding the bottom and re applying Interlux brown seam compound.
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7127/7694706940_dfb39d8547.jpg

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8168/7694708774_28d017d08f.jpg

Tom Robb
08-01-2012, 09:23 PM
I think I'd try to rehydrate the wood before recalking so that it aproximates what it will be in the water. Calking a dry hull will cause more harm to the wood as it rehydrates i the water.
You might want to do a search on the often asked question here.

Lew Barrett
08-01-2012, 09:32 PM
And, if you are going to re-caulk the entire boat, start at the garboard and work your way up from there. Usually you can do this across a couple of seasons (for a boat in passable shape) doing a few seams each year; garboard, then first broad, then the next and so on. It's not unusual for the seam compound to flake out while the cotton beneath is still OK on a boat that has been out for a long time. Tom's advice might be worth heeding. Again, doing an entire boat is often most effectively accomplished by somebody who specializes in the job.

Dannybb55
08-08-2012, 05:35 AM
And, if you are going to re-caulk the entire boat, start at the garboard and work your way up from there. Usually you can do this across a couple of seasons (for a boat in passable shape) doing a few seams each year; garboard, then first broad, then the next and so on. It's not unusual for the seam compound to flake out while the cotton beneath is still OK on a boat that has been out for a long time. Tom's advice might be worth heeding. Again, doing an entire boat is often most effectively accomplished by somebody who specializes in the job.
If you want to get in the water quick then reset the loose cotton and reef the empty seams and put in some new cotton. Paint in some E Bond to hold it in place and lay in your seam compound. Your boat would probably take two days to reef the seams and repair any old damaged planks and another 2 days to caulk and pay the seams. Why stretch it out over years? It is no big deal until you find a broken plank and some rotten frames.
Danny

tomtoledo
08-08-2012, 08:40 AM
Thanks Danny, I sistered 7 cracked frames last week and replaced 2 butt blocks. No rot yet! Probably going to reset some and reef the rest so I can enjoy what's left of the season.

wizbang 13
08-08-2012, 09:45 AM
Two days?!!!!
Dunno what you have there , but that looks like a lotta seams.
reefing and caulking is slow work

Lew Barrett
08-08-2012, 11:36 AM
Two days?!!!!
Dunno what you have there , but that looks like a lotta seams.
reefing and caulking is slow work

We don't even know the size of the boat. No insults intended, but this is what I mean by the casual approach to this job.

Dannybb55
08-08-2012, 03:46 PM
[QUOTE=Lew Barrett;3495482]We don't even know the size of the boat. No insults intended, but this is what I mean by the casual approach to this job.[/QUOTE
I reefed a 34 foot Wheeler and recaulked her in about that time, We put in 16 new Frames, 20 new Planks including complete Garboards, and I put new cotton in her from stem to stern. The last crowd to work on her was completely lost and had epoxy, Bondo, 5200 and Lifecaulk in the seams and the cotton was all short fibered and wadded up. She went in fast. The first rows were loose but stable and after 15 more she was plenty tight http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-LlAta4_di-c/UBB7hKxxEFI/AAAAAAAAHGg/YRdV4B__K8c/s400/ReplicaHemingwaysBoatPilar.jpg Here she is. A Trumpy takes a little longer, but If we had worked on her before, then her seams are usually in good shape and easy to caulk. They usually need the Garboards, Stem, some leaky butt blocks and the Transom gone over. Sometimes the Shaft logs have rattled loose a little and any new planks get the full treatment. With an 65 Ton motor yacht all of the seams can be reefed in a day or two and allowed to dry out until the other work is completed. Is that what you were referring to as a casual approach? I am the Caulker at our yard, there is no one else within 4 counties North or South that can do what I or We do. The proof is in the Sea Trials and I have sat up late with more than a few big yachts watching their Seams swell tight and have spent many an hour with the floors up and the interior opened up while the Captain tried out new props, packing, shaft, diesels and gears and torqued and slammed her seams through short chop and never saw more than a few trickles. We work at our yard, not stand around and drink coffee.
Danny Nye
Beaufort, NC

Lew Barrett
08-08-2012, 06:12 PM
Is that what you were referring to as a casual approach? I am the Caulker at our yard, there is no one else within 4 counties North or South that can do what I or We do. The proof is in the Sea Trials and I have sat up late with more than a few big yachts watching their Seams swell tight and have spent many an hour with the floors up and the interior opened up while the Captain tried out new props, packing, shaft, diesels and gears and torqued and slammed her seams through short chop and never saw more than a few trickles.........

How many new guys here do you suppose can accomplish what a professional caulker can do in a like period of time? Let me answer that for you: none. That's the reason most of the experienced people here recommend hiring out the caulking, with me among the first. I'm sure you are good at what you do and can properly accomplish in one hour what would take a newbie four. Sure it's easy: easy for you.

Maybe I misunderstood you, but to me it sounded like you were suggesting that in an hour or two of easy instruction anybody can get your gist and do what you do. That's curious to me because if that's true, who needs you?

If you spent any time reading here, you would recognize that I, among others, respect your trade and think it's foolish for first time tyros to bother caulking their own boats themselves when they can hire the work out and get it done properly in one quarter of the time it would take them to do a lousy job themselves. Sure, a seam or butt block, maybe, but a real job? It's one of those things best left to pros. But as I said, if you feel differently, have at it. The job you lose will be your own;)

You might want to edit one of your posts because as I read it, it suggests that the supplicant here can easily pound in some cotton and come away with a tight job. As a caulker you know that a boat that has not been caulked in twenty years is going to take some time; not just for the caulking, but as you did say, because of all the problems you are likely to find as you go through her seam by seam.

In retrospect, I think you are probably a great guy to have on the team who is not expressing himself clearly in this regard. Maybe I missed something. In reading your posts elsewhere, and I'd encourage you to read mine on the subject as well, I think you'll see we agree.

nedL
08-08-2012, 07:57 PM
I reefed a 34 foot Wheeler and recaulked her in about that time, We put in 16 new Frames, 20 new Planks including complete Garboards, and I put new cotton in her from stem to stern. The last crowd to work on her was completely lost and had epoxy, Bondo, 5200 and Lifecaulk in the seams and the cotton was all short fibered and wadded up. She went in fast. The first rows were loose but stable and after 15 more she was plenty tight http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-LlAta4_di-c/UBB7hKxxEFI/AAAAAAAAHGg/YRdV4B__K8c/s400/ReplicaHemingwaysBoatPilar.jpg Here she is. A Trumpy takes a little longer, but If we had worked on her before, then her seams are usually in good shape and easy to caulk. They usually need the Garboards, Stem, some leaky butt blocks and the Transom gone over. Sometimes the Shaft logs have rattled loose a little and any new planks get the full treatment. With an 65 Ton motor yacht all of the seams can be reefed in a day or two and allowed to dry out until the other work is completed. Is that what you were referring to as a casual approach? I am the Caulker at our yard, there is no one else within 4 counties North or South that can do what I or We do. The proof is in the Sea Trials and I have sat up late with more than a few big yachts watching their Seams swell tight and have spent many an hour with the floors up and the interior opened up while the Captain tried out new props, packing, shaft, diesels and gears and torqued and slammed her seams through short chop and never saw more than a few trickles. We work at our yard, not stand around and drink coffee.
Danny Nye
Beaufort, NC

:D When i saw some posts of yours a couple of days ago I thought we had something a bit different (special) here. I actually thought of sending you a PM (private message) to find out about you. Welcome! and glad to have someone who knows what they are doing when it comes to caulking around here!

Edit to add - Oops, thank you for pointing that out Lew! (I got it right now) Yes, I think we both agree that it is good to have a real caulker here who knows what he is doing. It 'looks so easy', but is far more than using an old chissel or putty knife to stuff some cotton in a seam.

Lew Barrett
08-08-2012, 08:35 PM
[QUOTE=Dannybb55;3495676]

:D When i saw some posts of yours a couple of days ago I thought we had something a bit different (special) here. I actually thought of sending you a PM (private message) to find out about you. Welcome! and glad to have someone who knows what they are doing when it comes to caulking around here!

Quoting is a bit confusing, isn't it Ned....cause you actually have me saying that!:D I'm returning the favor! I did too, (quoted myself but it was Denny doing the talking) but I caught it and fixed it! I am quite sure I misunderstood Mr. Danny, but maybe he and you can read through and see how that could have happened. Anyway, let me join you in welcoming a pro caulker to the forum. We've needed one here for quite a while, so welcome Danny. And let me say to you, I missed that you were joking on these two threads. I took you to be serious about saying how easy it all was, and the rest was me saying "t'aint so." I got you now.


I'd expect a caulker to say "no big deal" as a function of modesty, but as a trade for wooden boats, it is a big deal. As I have said many times, watching a good caulker go through the moves is one of the best deals an owner will enjoy in hiring on help. They make what is actually a fairy precise set of moves look like a walk in the park. The better they are, the faster they move. Very few people around here do any but the most casual caulking on their own.

Dannybb55
08-12-2012, 07:40 AM
http://i743.photobucket.com/albums/xx72/dannybb55/003.jpg

Dannybb55
08-12-2012, 07:41 AM
Tool bag to port, cotton bag to starboard.

Dannybb55
08-12-2012, 07:42 AM
http://i743.photobucket.com/albums/xx72/dannybb55/004.jpg

Dannybb55
08-12-2012, 07:55 AM
In the denim bag from port to starboard; straight reefing iron, Garboard reefing iron, short reefing iron, 2 No. 0 irons, the short iron is from EBay UK, a bent No. 0 for Garboards mostly, a spike iron for nib ends, butts deck butts and curves. The next two are No. 2s, a bent and a straight for really worn seams. The pencils are for marking where I stopped because of end of dat or more commonly so that I can work on something else real quick. The Driver bits are back ups for the ones in my braces and my tool bags. The razor knife and 5200 tops are for when the seam gets narrow somewhere down the line.
Danny

Dannybb55
08-12-2012, 08:00 AM
In the denim bag from port to starboard; straight reefing iron, Garboard reefing iron, short reefing iron, 2 No. 0 irons, the short iron is from EBay UK, a bent No. 0 for Garboards mostly, a spike iron for nib ends, butts deck butts and curves. The next two are No. 2s, a bent and a straight for really worn seams. The pencils are for marking where I stopped because of end of dayor more commonly so that I can work on something else real quick. The Driver bits are back ups for the ones in my braces and my tool bags. The razor knife and 5200 tops are for when the seam gets narrow somewhere down the line.
Danny

http://i743.photobucket.com/albums/xx72/dannybb55/004.jpg

Dannybb55
08-12-2012, 08:03 AM
I use these most often..........Sorry about the duplicate post.
Danny

http://i743.photobucket.com/albums/xx72/dannybb55/005.jpg

Dannybb55
08-12-2012, 08:22 AM
This is my usual setup for seams. The cotton is rolled in a ball with a 12 foot strand, ( two arm spans is easy to double without getting in the dirt, any longer and the stands get in the way. the cotton is self twisting and stays clean in the empty box. All of the other tools are kept in the tool bag to the side or in my rigger's bag. The brass hammer is easier to swing in tight quarters. We usually stake the end of a new seam with an iron and walk down the seam a few feet and stake it in again. If the seam is a little loose I only twist the cotton a few turns and then tuck it in and hammer her home. When I see a loose spot further down, I twist it some more. Effectively making cord out of strands. If that is not enough I double it. When my helper can hold a magazine up in the engine room and I can tell him who is in the centerfold, then I triple it or repair the plank if their is time to.
About the box: 2 feet long, 11 inches wide and 6 inches high. I use it for sitting and standing, as a saw bench, a tool stand, it keeps my cotton clean and my tools and my transom dry. It is glued with Tightbond 3 and nailed with punched finish nails. I used to use leftover E Bond epoxy on it but now I wipe it down with Linsead oil same as my irons and Beatle.
Danny

http://i743.photobucket.com/albums/xx72/dannybb55/010.jpg

marlenemarlene
08-13-2012, 09:29 AM
Thanks for sharing Danny. Wish you were closer to us. How long did it take you to learn your trade?

Dannybb55
08-13-2012, 03:51 PM
Five Years and there is more to learn. I still get nervous at a launch.
Danny

Dannybb55
08-13-2012, 04:25 PM
http://i743.photobucket.com/albums/xx72/dannybb55/001.jpg?t=1344767885

marlenemarlene
08-14-2012, 09:26 AM
Danny,

I tried to private message you, and I couldn't tell if it sent or not, so it might have sent several times or not at all. Sorry. What is E Bond? and what seam compound do you use over the cotton?

Marlene

Dannybb55
08-14-2012, 06:33 PM
E Bond is an saturating epoxy that is mixed 1 to 1 and has the consistency of water. We use it to establish a stable base for varnish, as a wood stabilizer, to form a barrier coat between old wood and new and for caulking, to paint the cotton and seams so that the cotton stays put until the seams swell shut. We probably get it from Paxton. The Seam compound that we get is Interlux brown Seam Compound. Above the waterline we use the E bond over cotton and then the painters take over. There isn't as much movement in the planking so they probably use something harder.
Danny