Laying new teak deck – Part 3
Final preparations are being made before laying new teak deck. Today we will look at:
- Countersinking holes and epoxy
- Tools needed
- Sanding prior to laying teak.
- Marking out
- Laying the first planks
Once all the old fixing holes have been countersunk they will be filled with epoxy to seal the deck.
There were many hundreds of old holes that were epoxy filled to provide a watertight new deck. The old deck didn’t actually leak which is a testament to the quality of the work done by Hallberg Rassy 33 years ago. The new deck will be held in place by Sikaflex 298 adhesive, which has become the norm in recent years.
The photos of the deck being laid disguises the amount of actual work involved. There are five carpenters working every day. The process is completely hand made, except now of course electric hand tools are used. The carpenters will take up to four weeks to craft the new deck plus two weeks for the caulking to dry, we’ll come to that later.
The first part of laying the new planks is the outside edge of the deck. here a 60mm wide plank 5 metres long is used. The outside planks are made as long as possible to provide a secure base for subsequent planks which will be 35mm wide, as per the previous deck. The inside edge is also being worked on at the same time, which will also have a 60mm wide plank.
The first plank is laid and then cramped in position by short lengths of wood screwed into the deck. These holes will have to be filled again, part of what makes it laborious I suppose. Later they will be glued into place.
Another ingenious and ancient clamping method is the wedge. Two triangular wedges are placed facing each other. Pressure is then applied by hammer to increase the overall thickness of the wedge, producing a consistent clamping force that needs no glue to hold it in place.
It takes about 12 hours for the deck adhesive to cure. The following morning any adhesive that has squeezed out is removed with a chisel ready for the next plank to be laid.
As few parts of a yacht have straight lines, most pieces of the deck will be hand crafted by eye. I watched this corner being cut from a straight, wide teak board and then sanded for a perfect fit. It took more than half an hour for just this piece.
Corners and other shaped areas have their positions marked as the basis for the whole design. Small blocks are glued to the surface which will keep them in position, (which can be easily removed with a sharp hammer blow) until they are ready to be glued down.
Finally the corner is complete. Straight lengths are now prepared to run along the length of the deck.
Slowly the outside edge is completed, each piece very carefully shaped. It seems very slow to watch but hugely reassuring that we will get a perfect looking deck. Any piece that is not right cannot simply be removed and replaced as like a jigsaw every other piece is based on this. If you were building a wall with bricks, any flaw would get magnified as the wall developed.
In part four we will see more of the specially shaped pieces being crafted and the first of the narrow planks being laid alongside the wide outer planks. We will also meet another very useful but heavy device.