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January 15, 2009


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Oh is this timely: I have an old Angleman Sea Spirit Ketch with a teak deck laid over the original ply. I am planning on pulling the teak (bronze screw fastened) and replacing the plywood deck underneath, with hopes of salvaging the expensive teak. Somewhat suicidal, yes, but money is limited. Any other feedback from folks is MOST appreciated & emails welcome: [email protected]

The best of luck with that. It is a big project and most definitely worth saving the teak planks. Take lots of pictures and mark each pank as it comes up so that you can put them back in the same order when the time comes to lay them back down.

Hope all goes well.


I have an old classic wooden schooner that has a beautiful teak deck, but it has many leaks and makes it impossible when trying to restore the interior. Like a house you need a good roof before doing much else inside. The teak is 3/4 inch screwed over 2by2 long leaf yellow. I was thinking about taking up the teak and putting a 1/2 inch layer of marine ply down an glassing it for a base. I was hoping to to lay the teak in a bed of liquid rubber and then screwing it back down. My only concern would be the screws penetrating the plywood. Do you think the bedding would be sufficient to prevent this. I am not sure I want to epoxy the old teak to the plywood. (wooden boat mentality- you could never take it apart) Do you have any suggestions? Joe


It is most definitely worth saving the teak. Laying a ply deck would most certainly cure the leaks and make living below much more pleasant. I once worked on an old powerboat boat where there was so much water coming through the deck in rough seas that the owners had put up canvas dodgers on the inside!
After removing the original decking cut the ply to fit, scarf any joins and glue them together with epoxy making sure that joins are on top of the deck beams. Coat both sides of the ply with epoxy to seal the ply and prevent water saturation problems later. Glue the ply to the deck beams and fasten with bronze screws.
If you do not want to glue the teak down then my advice would be to lay it into a bedding compound such as Dolphinite, made by Petit, which has some elasticity and would be ideal for your application.


Dolphinite link


HI, I appreciate your detailed work.
I would like to curve the teak decking as you have done, to follow up the curved shape of the boat. Do you have any advice?


Pierre Gohl
(France, Cornish Crabber 24)

The best advice I can give as regards bending the strips is to practice. Start off by making them to your ideal dimensions and try to go with that. In the case of the Cornish Crabber 24 you should use strips about 45 mm wide and no more than 6mm thick. Start st the back of the boat where the bend is less and work forward towards the bow. Use staples as I have done and don't worry too much about the holes which are very small and once the staples are pulled will disappear.
Like i show in the pictures start at the outside edge and work inwards that way the inner strips with the spacers have something to press against.
I hope this helps. let me know if you need any more advice and the best of luck with your project.


Any advise on how best to approach nibbing the kingplank (cutting the deckplank tapers as well as the kingplank notches to "proper" proportions)? Straight laid would seem easier to notch the coverboards, but I definitely prefer the curved deck look.

I have this project in my future -- 44' Swan 1973 hull with original decks that are just beyond their limit. Bungs popping everywhere & not enough thickness left for re bunging or moving screws. Solid laminate glass deck underneath, so no structural core problems.

Any good sources for long lengths of teak at prices that won't have me eating only rice for the next 5 years?

Also, while the West systems approach recommends thin veneers to minimize movement with epoxy adhesives, the original decking is 1/2 inch thickness & I'm leaning towards maintaining that over 5200 (with seam compound yet to be determined -- so far testing has only shown me what not to use) for trim, longevity, as well as possible resale impacts after the mandatory extended bluewater cruise. I recognize that my approach will require screws & bungs with their related problems, but the original construction seemed to last fine, & had a previous owner been more careful with his scrubbing technique, recaulking seams would seem to be the only thing I'd need to be considering now.

What do you use to fill all the little holes left by the staples; so that water doesn't run into them and rot the core of the plywood?


I never bother to fill the holes which are very small. Timber like teak will swell up when it gets wet and the holes in the surface will close. I would not worry I can tell you from personal experience that the ply will be fine. I have been using the technique I described for 30 years and I have never had a problem with the sub deck.


Mark, Any thoughts / experience with the cork decking like is found at http://www.stazo.nl/html/marinedeck_2000.html I am in Florida so I would like something that does not get as hot. I have heard this is a problem with Flexiteek and I know from experience it can be a problem with real teak. From my reading the cork has different thermal properties. Any thoughts would be appreciated as I will likely kick off this project in a week or two.


There is no reason why cork would not make a good deck surface. However it is far softer than teak or any of the other synthetics so my main concern would be that it may wear rather quickly. Because it is soft it would be nice to walk on with bare feet however and it certainly would not get as hot as teak or Flexiteek for that matter.
My advice would be to have a go at making up a test panel, a hatch cover perhaps before commiting to the whole deck. You will gain experience and you can also see if you like the finished look and and feel.
Best of luck, let me know how it goes.



You talk about stapling, which seems a sound way of making a teporary fastening to a wooden substrate, but how about GRP?

I shall shortly relay the cockpit seating and then lay fresh teak on the cockpit sole of my Beneteau First 42s7, and this is my one unanswered question (apart from wondering about working temperatures here in the British winter - but I guess I ask the epoxy folk about that unless you have thoughts about working teak in 0 to 5 Celsius).

In particular, I have two small angled treads to do behind the helm (the footrests the helmsman uses when the boat is heeled), where using weight will be problematic. Any advice?

Many thanks for a very informative website!

Tim, Hampshire, UK.

Looks great! I'm ready to replace the teak in the cockpit of our 32' Grand Banks. Is it necessary to have a border around the planks? We've seen what is called "New York" style decks which are just planking with no border and we like this very simple look.Will the strips check and break with no border?


There is no reason why you have to have the margin boards. The decking will work fine without them, it's just that most folks prefer the look of the margin. I might add that the lack of a margin often gives away the straight laid panel products that can be laid as decking of which i am no big fan but the deck as you suggest in the cockpit of the GB 32 should look fine and dandy. Send me a pic when you have it finished I'd love to see it.


Can you advise,? The edging at the gunwale should be the same thickness as the teak is that correct?

Yes it should. Often called margin boards these planks may often be a wider but are always the same thickness.

Can you put a teak deck right over the top of the exsisting deck?
The exsisting one is sound, just thin. That would save me lots of work...........................

If you already have an existing teak deck, then no I would not reccomend it. The old stuff should come up first as there is a very good chance that the new deck will pull up the old stuff. My advice would be to bite the bullet, remove the old teak clean down the deck and make a start anew.

Thanks for the input Mark. I'll bite the bullet and remove the old deck. Thanks. PCK

I am day dreaming about using a wood called Meranti over the grp decks of my 27 foot C.L. Cadet. any thoughts ..... Lance

Meranti is one of the less durable types of hardwoods. It orginates from the far east most notably Malaysia, it has a rather coarse open grain and is not all that durable when left untreated and exposed to the weather. It will go black if left outdoors untreated. In short it is unsuitable for decks and I would not recomend it.

Mark- I have a 1981 Formosa 51 with teak deacks due to the expense I am looking at replacing the teak with oak. These decks were put down with screws thru the teak into the plywood. I guess this method has been replaced using epoxy and gluing the teak down, Should I gel coat the plywood then glue?


I have two comments. The first of which is not to use oak which will go black in short order and look very unatractive. Oak is a poor choice for decking and either stick with teak or go with something like a good quality yellow pine with vertical grain. The second is your mention of gel coat. Seal the ply wood with a couple of coats of epoxy and then bed the deck down into some epoxy as I have shown in the photos. Gel coat on plywood will crack and is far less durable than an epoxy coating.

Teak as always been the material of choice for boat decks. It requires some maintenance but done the correct way with the right products it's the best!

Hi, I have a job to extend some teak over an existing fibreglass gamefish cockpit sole. The transom's been moved aft and there's about a half metre of sole without teak.
I was going with an 8 mm deck, following Gougeon Bros best practice but the owner wants me to use 13mm to match existing teak work that, admittedly, hasn't yet let go of its glass substrate. I'm worried about using thicker Teak, which may move beyond the abilities of epoxy to hold it as it gets wet and dry. I read in the Q&A above that sometimes it's advisable to use a polysulphide (Sika, for instance) and screw fasten, but bungs always get knocked out, the deck wears away, and the screws become exposed. Especially in high use areas...
Also, or maybe alternatively, I could add some black ochre to the epoxy, and fill the deck-grooves with that to lock in the teak. I'm loath to screw it down, as the structure is a foam cored laminate, and the surface laminate isn't very thick

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