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Thread: Bedding Compound

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Default Bedding Compound

    I've been using a bedding compound made by BoatLife that they call: Life Caulk. This is a polysulfide material. It's non shrinking and remains flexible. I've never had any leakage issues with this stuff. But I find it rather tenacious when it comes to removing a piece of hardware or wooden part. It will eventually give way to persistent prying but it can be an effort. So I'm wondering if another bedding might serve better. Perhaps Dolfinite? I've been doing my annual varnish refresh on Emily Ruth and this year decided to go rather extensive. Many items are removed and will now need re-bedding. So I thought it would be a good time to revisit my choice in compounds. Your opinions will be appreciated.

    Jeff

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
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    St. Helens, Oregon
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    Default Re: Bedding Compound

    Have you tried heat for loosening the Life Caulk? I've had some luck with that on plastic boats, but haven't tried it on wood.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
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    Hyannis, MA, USA
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    Default Re: Bedding Compound

    Dolfinite is the gold standard for bedding things on wooden boats. It's not, by the way a sealant, like Life-Calk. Life-Calk can be be used for bedding but, as you've noticed, can be a bit over-tenacious if you have to take things apart.

    When I was dealing with a bunch of fittings that needed removal, I was blessed with a Fein MultiMaster. I found that the thin flexible blade at high speed essentially knifed/melted right through the Life-Calk.

    G'luck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
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    Concord, NH, USA
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    531

    Default Re: Bedding Compound

    I use Dolfinite on my Haven 12 1/2. Bits come off easily or with a little encouragement from a palate knife.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    Portland, Oregon
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    Default Re: Bedding Compound

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post
    Dolfinite is the gold standard for bedding things on wooden boats. It's not, by the way a sealant, like Life-Calk. Life-Calk can be be used for bedding but, as you've noticed, can be a bit over-tenacious if you have to take things apart.

    When I was dealing with a bunch of fittings that needed removal, I was blessed with a Fein MultiMaster. I found that the thin flexible blade at high speed essentially knifed/melted right through the Life-Calk.

    G'luck
    This.

    Two things to know about Dolfinite (and Boatyard Bedding Compound - a different brand with similar formulation) --

    1. You need to seal the faying surfaces well, or the oils in the bedding can be quickly leached out, compromising the integrity. Not a big deal... unless you skip that step.

    2. It will eventually dry out anyway. Whereas the more modern goops can easily turn into lifetime seals, the Dolfinite will need to be redone periodically. Also not a big deal, but one more thing to keep an eye on.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    https://www.facebook.com/HarborWoodworks/

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  6. #6
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    Apr 1999
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    Default Re: Bedding Compound

    “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs."

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Bainbridge Island WA
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    3,886

    Default Re: Bedding Compound

    The bilge board trunk caps on Marianita are bedded/sealed with Dolfinite. I find it keeps the water out but also a bit of a job getting the caps off, maybe a function of that much surface area? Butyl tape leaked when I tried it.
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
    H.A. Calahan

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
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    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: Bedding Compound

    Butyl Rubber. Excellent stuff. It's still squeezing out on very hot days 2 years later.

  9. #9
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    Jun 2010
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    Default Re: Bedding Compound

    Thanks all. I think I'll give the Dolfinite a go. Butyl sounds like it may leach out on a sunny day. I'm bedding deck and spar hardware as well as two varnished toe boards on the foredeck. It has to stay pretty.

    Jeff

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Texas
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    13,713

    Default Re: Bedding Compound

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hadfield View Post
    Butyl Rubber. Excellent stuff. It's still squeezing out on very hot days 2 years later.
    I have started using Butyl tape on some early hardware installations on the new boat. I hope it lives up to the hype. One thing I have noticed is you have to go back one or two times and retighten fasteners, as the initial tightening ends up pretty loose after a day of it squeezing out.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
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    N.E. Connecticut.
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    Default Re: Bedding Compound

    I know it's not "boaty" and all, but I have found household "Mortite" to work very well for bedding deck hardware. It has just enough tackiness, doesn't dry out, is firm enough to stay put yet squeezes out well, is really cheap and available everywhere. it stays so "unchanged" that I often reuse the same little bits that come off the hardware to re-set it after painting & varnishing.


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