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Thread: Carvel plank caulking

  1. #1
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    Default Carvel plank caulking

    We recently purchased a 27 ft Monk designed cruiser that is carvel planked. We need to do some refastening , caulking and painting. It has been suggested to us to use 5200 for caulking . Is this a good idea or good product for this?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Carvel plank caulking

    If you want to destroy the boat!
    Roger Olson

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    Default Re: Carvel plank caulking

    Read the threads about caulking. Get articles and books. Get irons and a mallet. Reef out the caulk before you refasten, this will allow the planks to pull tight to the frames. Recaulk with cotton and putty, as she was originally. With some study and practice, you'll do fine.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Carvel plank caulking

    I shoud give a better describtion. Use the search engine and see many threads onthe issue. Don't use 5200. Cotton is used to chaulk a seam. You can then use many fillers such as Seam Paying compound or 4200 but not 5200. This is just a filler not chaulking. The name is for land lubbers. It is the same thing as the difference between the sole and the floor.
    Roger Olson

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    Default Re: Carvel plank caulking

    I couldn't agree more and I'll add that it is not as hard as it sounds.

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    Default Re: Carvel plank caulking

    Quote Originally Posted by jrule View Post
    We recently purchased a 27 ft Monk designed cruiser that is carvel planked. We need to do some refastening , caulking and painting. It has been suggested to us to use 5200 for caulking . Is this a good idea or good product for this?
    So.. welcome to the snake pit...er.. forum... where those so intrenched in what was are afraid to use new materials and methods that werent around in the 100 yr old days when they think everything was just hunky dorry.

    3M5200 is a fine material, sugest you call 3M and talk to the people that make it, and do a little testing on some scrap wood yourself.

    A very simular material was used in the 60's by CC and their boats dont leak even 40 yrs later...I used it on the bottom seams of my 1959 Pacemaker in 1975 and last I saw of it 10 yrs ago it was still keeping all the water on the outside of the boat...

    Bottom line is ...it's not "traditional" enough for those who dont like progress.
    Good luck
    Last edited by Gary E; 05-08-2009 at 10:44 AM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Carvel plank caulking

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary E View Post

    Bottom line is ...it's not "traditional" enough for those who dont like progress.
    Good luck
    If "progress" means popping planks off of your boat, absolutely. Polyurethanes (5200) are too hard "hard" for use as a seam compound. If one wants to use a "modern" product, you should use polysulphides.

    Chris Craft used polysuphide, aka Thiokol, as it was know in those days. Supposedly developed by a rocket fuel maker.

    This is really not debatable...one should know what one is talking about before making statements like the above in this regard. Otherwise, one just looks silly.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Carvel plank caulking

    You definately need to do a lot of research and understand what you are doing before you make a choice that is outside the traditional approach. Also understand that every situation is a little different. What worked for Gary might not work for you. Pcford's comment that 5200 is too hard is probably true for some situations, but around here the seam compound of choice below the waterline for workboats is cement, which is even harder than 5200 and works fine.

    The traditional approach is to caulk with cotton, which is covered with seam compound. The cotton is a structural component of the boat and is the part that keeps the water out. It might work in your situation to replace the seam compound with 5200 (I wouldn't recommend it personally), but it probably isn't a good idea to replace both the cotton and seam compound with 5200.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Carvel plank caulking

    Thanks of so for the comments so far. We have done a lot of reading and studying. We understand the process of recaulking and have purchased the cotton and irons and were set to use "traditional" seam compound. Last weekend we spoke with the owner/captain of a replica square rigged ketch. He suggested the 5200 which he uses with great results. He said it stays flexible and doesn't crack and since our boat will be hauled each fall it was a good choice for us. I poked at some of the seams on his boat and after all winter on the hard the 5200 was still flexible and no cracking. Keep the comments coming.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Carvel plank caulking

    3M calls 5200 an adhesive/sealant. In my experience with the stuff, which includes using it for paying seams, it's a far better adhesive than it is a sealant, and as an adhesive, it requires both clean surfaces and gentle clamping pressure to develop a proper, long-lasting bond. And that is precisely the opposite of what you need in a seam compound. A seam compound is applied and cures without pressure, and on an older boat, the surfaces are never clean.

    jrule, I assume you intend to re-caulk traditionally with cotton, and your question is about what to pay over it. Driving the cotton is the hard part - if you get it wrong, it'll leak at best, and break fastenings at worst. Remember that in carvel planking, the cotton is a strength component - it is part of a proven system that stiffens the whole structure of the boat, not just some stuff that keeps the water out. People like Gary don't believe that an old method can be a better method, because they don't stop to think about why such a method evolved in the first place. The fact that it evolved over thousands over years and maybe millions of boats should tell you something.

    IMO, 5200 isn't the right stuff for paying over cotton-caulked plank seams. A good quality old-style seam compound is cheap, easy to apply, forgiving of messy plank edges, and will last for years and years. On bigger seams, where there's room for the material to get some grip, cement has also proven itself, but it's usually a working boat and/or a big boat solution.

    Oh, and John's advice about reefing before you re-fasten is spot on.

    - Norm
    Last edited by outofthenorm; 05-08-2009 at 08:34 PM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Carvel plank caulking

    What's a good old-fashioned mix. Linseed oil putty + red + white lead I heard . but in what quantities?

    Alan

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Carvel plank caulking

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary E View Post
    So.. welcome to the snake pit...er.. forum... where those so intrenched in what was are afraid to use new materials and methods that werent around in the 100 yr old days when they think everything was just hunky dorry.

    3M5200 is a fine material, sugest you call 3M and talk to the people that make it, and do a little testing on some scrap wood yourself.

    A very simular material was used in the 60's by CC and their boats dont leak even 40 yrs later...I used it on the bottom seams of my 1959 Pacemaker in 1975 and last I saw of it 10 yrs ago it was still keeping all the water on the outside of the boat...

    Bottom line is ...it's not "traditional" enough for those who dont like progress.
    Good luck
    Gary E can be replied upon to be a font of misinformation. To wit:

    5200 was never used as a seam compound. 5200 is too "hard" or stiff. There is no doubt a better engineering term.

    Polysulphide was used as a seam compound on Chris Crafts...or as it was known in those years: Thiokol. (byproduct of rocket fuel.)

    Furthermore....Chris Crafts do not have true caulking seam. Planks are square edge....batten seam on topsides and double planked on bottom.

    Your Monk should have proper cotton caulking and oil based seam compound.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Carvel plank caulking

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary E View Post
    Just more BULL SH!T from PC FORD....
    He dont know it all, but he sure tells you as if he does....
    Then you should share with us which facts are not true. Nothing I said was radical...just generally agreed practices.

    But you seem to have a different way of doing things.

    And...I do not know it all...but I know more than some.

    Good luck to jrule.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Carvel plank caulking

    There may be some that can make 5200 work and can argue for its use. I won't pretend to jump into that argument. But I like to think of a wooden boat, especially a carvel planked one, as a collection of replaceable parts. And once you use 5200 on anything, it is much more difficult to replace that part without damaging everything around it. Having said that, I have been told that 5200 will release by applying heat. Maybe that is justification for using it. I probably won't.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Carvel plank caulking

    Quote Originally Posted by ron ll View Post
    There may be some that can make 5200 work and can argue for its use. I won't pretend to jump into that argument. But I like to think of a wooden boat, especially a carvel planked one, as a collection of replaceable parts. And once you use 5200 on anything, it is much more difficult to replace that part without damaging everything around it. Having said that, I have been told that 5200 will release by applying heat. Maybe that is justification for using it. I probably won't.
    5200 certainly has its place...you just have to weigh the positives and negatives.

    I use it to bed the lower transom planks on speedboats. This is a very common area for rot. I figure that if you have to take off the transom plank you are screwed anyway...to coin a phrase...If you have to...one can remove the plank with a router.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Carvel plank caulking

    I am not a so called expert, but I have been reading up on this prior to restoring my boat.

    Here is what I have learned. Carvel planks swell and contract with moisture. When you first put the boat in the water for a season you will get some compression set in the plank edges. This is normal. It is when you keep putting new seam compound in to close up your seasonal cracks that the real damage happens. An article in a series of woodenboat magazines a few years back on restoration suggested using a seam compound that will squeeze out when the planks come back ( some type of tar compound). I don't see 5200 doing this. 5200 may work if you use it initially, but you better not put any more in the next season or you will further compress the plank edges. The polysulfides as mentioned above are compliant and are probably the modern day version of the tar.
    The wife says I can have a mistress as long as she has ribs made of white oak.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Carvel plank caulking

    I agree with the others that 5200 is not the material that you want to use, but not for all the same reasons. First, 5200 does set up a bit hard and may cause some minor crushing of your plank edges when they swell. More important is that 5200 is one of the most tenaceaous adhesives you can find. If you ever want to remove it from the seams you will very much regret having used it.

    If you want to go with a more modern seam compound over the cotton, I would suggest either Boat Life berand Life Caulk which is a polysulfide compound. Alternatively, you can use 3M 101, which is the 3M polysulfide compound. The negatives of these modern compounds are that they stick to the seams more strongly than traditional seam compound (like Petit or Davis Slick seam) and will be correspondingly harder to remove. However, they are excellant sealants and if installed properly, should give you a very dry boat.

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