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Thread: Richardson Planking Caulking

  1. #1
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    Default Richardson Planking Caulking

    The Richardson we have inherited is carvel planked. The cotton caulking appears to be in decent shape;however the rubberized caulking that has been applied to the cotton caulked seems is in need of replacement. Do any of you recommend a a good below waterline caulk that comes in a caulking tube?

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    This is a sort of big subject.
    “Rubberized goo”.... most folks who have had em for awhile tend to keep em traditional. No goo.

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    I have used Slick Seam with success. It does not come in a tube, but it probably can be warmed and put in an empty one. It does apply easily with a putty knife.

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    Quote Originally Posted by johngsandusky View Post
    I have used Slick Seam with success. It does not come in a tube, but it probably can be warmed and put in an empty one. It does apply easily with a putty knife.
    I'm not a boatbuilder, but I can say that paint sticks to SlickSeam for about 15 minutes, or until the boat moves - whichever comes first. It's great for a temp repair though. Yes, they say it's "ready for paint in 30 minutes"...

    This is what I use on my boat: https://interlux.com/en/us/boat-pain...compound-brown

    It's not in a tube though. Once you get the rhythm down, it goes fairly quickly with a 3" or so putty knife. You want to work it in pretty well - which you can do with the knife. When a seam is done, go back over it with a rounded tool to make it concave - particularly if the planks are dry.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    That brown, below the waterline seam compound by Interlux is the stuff to use. I've used it on literally hundreds of boats and it works. Push it into the seam so that a little squeezes out on either side of the 3" putty knife. That way you know you got the stuff all the way to the back of the seam. Some of it will invariably get on to either side of the plank so just put a good amount of paint thinner on a soft rag and GENTLY rub the seam fore and aft. It will clean up the planks and flatten the seam compound. Change the rag when it gets too full of compound then use your favorite tool to make the seam concave if you wish. Looks good that way, too.

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    What jamo said...

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    I'm not a boatbuilder, but I can say that paint sticks to SlickSeam for about 15 minutes, or until the boat moves - whichever comes first. It's great for a temp repair though. Yes, they say it's "ready for paint in 30 minutes"...
    My experience was different, paint stuck to it for ten years. It may still be sticking, I don't own that boat anymore.

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    Quote Originally Posted by johngsandusky View Post
    My experience was different, paint stuck to it for ten years. It may still be sticking, I don't own that boat anymore.
    I wonder if we had different formulations? While I was exaggerating for effect - the slickseam I've applied wouldn't hold paint well at all. Maybe it's speed? I put some on my CC, took it out for a 1.5 hr spin (mostly at 20 or so MPH, but a few bursts to 35) & when I put the boat back on the trailer, the paint was gone from all the spots where I'd used slickseam. Gotta say it slowed the water intake right down!
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    The Interlux is the stuff, brown below waterline and white for topsides. You'll need to reef the old compound out carefully to not pull the fiber caulking. I use the tang of an old file carefully ground to just a hair less than the seam width on the sides and a chisel point on the face. On an older boat there can be a lot of swelling so it might make sense to mix the underwater compound with 30%-50% roofing "tar". Much easier to handle. In fact, if you have an old time grease gun - the sort designed to be loaded with the grease, not to hold a cartridge - you can load it up and make squeezing into the seam a little more efficient. You still need the spatula and thinner soaked rags.

    Davis Slick Seam is really great for hitting existing seams after a winter on the hard. I know folk who use it for covering the fiber but I'm not quite so sure.

    On new seams in new construction stuff like SikaFlex may be an alternative, but not on old.

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    Great information from all of you...Thanks!

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    I have heard that one does not need to buy cotton caulking from a marine supply house. Cotton bags from a retailer like Jennifer Fabrics can be used. Has anyone had any experience with their cotton?

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    Cotton cloth is not the same a cotton caulking.
    That said, I know a fella just buy up ALL de cotton mop in Antigua

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    Wondering: I would think this boat era would have batten-seam construction, like Chris-Crafts. Thus the term caulking seems to be used indiscriminately in this discussion.

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    Quote Originally Posted by pcford View Post
    Wondering: I would think this boat era would have batten-seam construction, like Chris-Crafts. Thus the term caulking seems to be used indiscriminately in this discussion.
    I another thread he had a pic & it sure looked like carvel to me.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    One thing to note on using Interlux seam compound. It goes in MUCH more easily if it is heated a bit. Put the can in a pot of water over a hot plate for a few minutes and it will go in like butter - literally. Way easier, in my opinion, than using a caulking gun of any sort. If it gets too warm it will liqueify but it will solidify again when it cools with no harm done.

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    Its not batten seam. I did read somewhere that the cotton caulking could be purchased at a fabric store at a 10th of the price of a marine store.

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    Keep in mind that seam compounds are not traditionally what keeps the water out. The purpose is to fill the seam and keep muck out of the cotton. If the old seam compound isn't loose and falling out, probably all that is required is to fill the cracks caused by plank shrinkage.

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    Interlux bought Pettit some years ago. Pettit was another bulk supplier of oil based seam compounds but for some reason Interlux killed off Pettit's product. That's a shame because the Pettit was an excellent compound and considerably easier to tool into seams due to its "softer" consistency. In any case, we all had to switch to Interlux as Pettit was removed from the shelves.

    I missed Pettit's easy application but was taught a trick by Tim Regan, a shipwright/caulking expert in Seattle area. This can be hard to do in the yard but if you can, heat the whole can in a tub of hot water to make it less viscous. It will pay in much easier. This is especially useful in colder weather when the oils congeal but it' can also be effective in warmer weather if the compound is being a bit difficult. With the compound warmed a bit though, it goes in like buttah.
    One of the most enduring qualities of an old wooden boat is the smell it imparts to your clothing.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    Quote Originally Posted by Lew Barrett View Post
    Interlux bought Pettit some years ago. Pettit was another bulk supplier of oil based seam compounds but for some reason Interlux killed off Pettit's product. That's a shame because the Pettit was an excellent compound and considerably easier to tool into seams due to its "softer" consistency. In any case, we all had to switch to Interlux as Pettit was removed from the shelves.

    I missed Pettit's easy application but was taught a trick by Tim Regan, a shipwright/caulking expert in Seattle area. This can be hard to do in the yard but if you can, heat the whole can in a tub of hot water to make it less viscous. It will pay in much easier. This is especially useful in colder weather when the oils congeal but it' can also be effective in warmer weather if the compound is being a bit difficult. With the compound warmed a bit though, it goes in like buttah.
    I too used Pettit until it went away. Did you see Chris's post #15?
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    The Pettit was a much better seam compound than the Interlux where there was expected plank swelling and seam closing. A real shame they stopped making it.

    This boat is straight carvel construction. The Cotton does not look to be in bad shape and can probably be saved with some careful and knowledgeable “hardening up”. The ‘seam compoind’ Would be better off being replaced with a proper material, but all in all the bottom is not in bad shape.

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    For heating things: While recently fiberglassing on a spring day, I checked the temps of the deck. Shade was the same as air, low 60s. Sunny spots were in the 80s. Sole of the cockpit 104.

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    What about the product BoatLife sold by Hamilton Marine?

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    Quote Originally Posted by Peterduncan View Post
    What about the product BoatLife sold by Hamilton Marine?
    It's not required to be a purist and use old technology to maintain your boat. Boatlife is easy to apply and not impossible to remove. Down the road if a plank requires removal boatlife can be cut with a razor knife to release the edges.

    Do not get boat life on electrical cords. It reacts with plastic, eventually deterioration of the insulation will necessitate cord replacement.

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    Boat life is a silicone caulk and not applicable to this job!
    Jay

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    Boat Life caulk is not silicone. It is thiokol-based polysulfide.

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    Quote Originally Posted by navydog View Post
    Boat Life caulk is not silicone. It is thiokol-based polysulfide.
    BoatLife offers several products. LifeSeal is silicone, LifeCalk is polysulfide.

    http://www.boatlife.com/boat-caulk-sealants/

    Whichever one were to use, it's dramatically more expensive than the Interlux above.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    Quote Originally Posted by navydog View Post
    It's not required to be a purist and use old technology to maintain your boat. Boatlife is easy to apply and not impossible to remove. Down the road if a plank requires removal boatlife can be cut with a razor knife to release the edges.

    Do not get boat life on electrical cords. It reacts with plastic, eventually deterioration of the insulation will necessitate cord replacement.
    Peter, I'm in 100% agreement with navydog that there is no need to be a purist here. In my not-so-expert opinion the important thing is that whatever you put in there needs to be removable without damaging the edge of the seam. That leaves out permanent adhesives like 5200, but other than that pretty much anything you put in there that will squeeze out when the plank swells will probably do fine. That said, some products will work better than others of course. As Jay points out, silicone-based products are not ideal for a number of reasons. I use traditional seam compound because I find that it's easy, it's (relatively) inexpensive, and it works. It's also what every professional shipwright I've ever worked with uses. But if you prefer something from a tube then Boatlife is likely to work as well as anything although I haven't used it for that purpose myself.

    My suggestion is to get a can of Interlux underwater seam compound (the brown stuff, not the white) and a tube of Boatlife caulk and try them both. Heat the seam compound so it goes in easily with a wide putty knife. Do a seam with each and see which you prefer. Then go with that choice. Your boat won't sink with either choice as long as the cotton is in decent shape. The worst thing that can happen is that for some reason you decide you don't like the way it performs after a while. In which case you can remove it and start over. Not the smallest job in the world but in the big picture of wooden boat ownership it's a pretty minor chore.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    Good suggestions navydog & Chris....

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    Quote Originally Posted by navydog View Post
    It's not required to be a purist and use old technology to maintain your boat. Boatlife is easy to apply and not impossible to remove. Down the road if a plank requires removal boatlife can be cut with a razor knife to release the edges.

    Do not get boat life on electrical cords. It reacts with plastic, eventually deterioration of the insulation will necessitate cord replacement.
    You won't have to cut it because it won't be stuck to the planks at all, it'll just pull out like failed caulking around the edge of a bathtub. At least if it is anything like what I found when I did the bottom of my boat.

    Quote Originally Posted by cstevens View Post
    Peter, I'm in 100% agreement with navydog that there is no need to be a purist here. In my not-so-expert opinion the important thing is that whatever you put in there needs to be removable without damaging the edge of the seam. That leaves out permanent adhesives like 5200, but other than that pretty much anything you put in there that will squeeze out when the plank swells will probably do fine. That said, some products will work better than others of course. As Jay points out, silicone-based products are not ideal for a number of reasons. I use traditional seam compound because I find that it's easy, it's (relatively) inexpensive, and it works. It's also what every professional shipwright I've ever worked with uses. But if you prefer something from a tube then Boatlife is likely to work as well as anything although I haven't used it for that purpose myself.

    My suggestion is to get a can of Interlux underwater seam compound (the brown stuff, not the white) and a tube of Boatlife caulk and try them both. Heat the seam compound so it goes in easily with a wide putty knife. Do a seam with each and see which you prefer. Then go with that choice. Your boat won't sink with either choice as long as the cotton is in decent shape. The worst thing that can happen is that for some reason you decide you don't like the way it performs after a while. In which case you can remove it and start over. Not the smallest job in the world but in the big picture of wooden boat ownership it's a pretty minor chore.
    No need to be a purist but every professional shipwright you've worked with uses traditional seam compound. Hmmm...
    -Jim

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    1934 27' Blanchard Cuiser ~ Amazon, Ex. Emalu
    19'6" Caledonia Yawl ~ Sparrow

    Getting into trouble one board at a time.

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    Quote Originally Posted by jsjpd1 View Post
    You won't have to cut it because it won't be stuck to the planks at all, it'll just pull out like failed caulking around the edge of a bathtub. At least if it is anything like what I found when I did the bottom of my boat.



    No need to be a purist but every professional shipwright you've worked with uses traditional seam compound. Hmmm...
    Well, yes... I'm just trying to help Peter find something that works for him without rehashing the entire seam compound debate again. I think that subject has had its day. I know what I would use but others may have a different, and entirely valid, preference.

    But seriously, you could probably stuff toilet wax ring into the seam and it would do the job. I'm not recommending that anyone try that of course, I'm just saying that it's a pretty low performance bar to meet here and there is only so much effort that anyone needs to expend in choosing which goop to use.

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    Fair point, I've heard that concrete and tar mixed together works pretty well too. My biggest issue with looking for the more modern cheaper, better, faster is that it often isn't any of those. Which, IMO, is the case here. But it's not my boat or my money.
    -Jim

    Sucker for a pretty face.
    1934 27' Blanchard Cuiser ~ Amazon, Ex. Emalu
    19'6" Caledonia Yawl ~ Sparrow

    Getting into trouble one board at a time.

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    Quote Originally Posted by jsjpd1 View Post
    Fair point, I've heard that concrete and tar mixed together works pretty well too. My biggest issue with looking for the more modern cheaper, better, faster is that it often isn't any of those. Which, IMO, is the case here. But it's not my boat or my money.
    Yep - that's pretty much my take as well. But the lure of the tube is strong.... I suspect that if Interlux sold their seam compound in a caulking tube they would double their sales overnight.

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    Quote Originally Posted by cstevens View Post
    ....But seriously, you could probably stuff toilet wax ring into the seam and it would do the job. ....
    Yes, in fact you can. Seen it done. OK for a temp. repair - nothing more. Guy would dive under the boat with a ring, rub it hard on a spot, come up for air & his wife would tell him if he'd stopped or moved the seam leak.

    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    Quote Originally Posted by jsjpd1 View Post
    You won't have to cut it because it won't be stuck to the planks at all, it'll just pull out like failed caulking around the edge of a bathtub. At least if it is anything like what I found when I did the bottom of my boat.



    No need to be a purist but every professional shipwright you've worked with uses traditional seam compound. Hmmm...
    Well let's address this issue. Pretty much everything needs to be applied correctly or it will fail. Meaning in this case clean painted surfaces.

    However most anything will stay in a boats seams until the boat dries out like an old nail keg. The ability of polysulfide to adhere is much higher than old seam compounds. If you don't believe me smear some on your forearm and let it cure.

    Anything pushed into new painted cotton is likely to stay in place.

    Many times on old dried out boats the compound and cotton are hanging out of the seams. In either case it isn't a failure of the materials in the seams but a failure of proper boat care.

    As far as what professional boat builders and boatwrights use is often dictated by what the owner of the boat wants to use. When I built boats we used oil based seam compounds because they are inexpensive and as Chris points out the performance threshold is low. I used roofing cement on an old skipjack one time because the ownership, a non profit was out of money for repairs. The only real problem with tar is, it bleeds through paint.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Richardson Planking Caulking

    Well, the seam compound on my boat sure stuck better. But you're right it comes down to prep or starting fresh. At which point what are you gaining? Time saved? Cost? Longevity? Not likely.
    -Jim

    Sucker for a pretty face.
    1934 27' Blanchard Cuiser ~ Amazon, Ex. Emalu
    19'6" Caledonia Yawl ~ Sparrow

    Getting into trouble one board at a time.

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