Exterior Teak Repair

Date: April 3, 2002
From: Russell Smith

Hi Paul
I've got longitudinal cracks in the teak toe rail on my 85 Endeavour 35...hull number 195. The previous owner had let the boat deteriorate badly.... I've sanded and refinished all of the exterior teak in Cetol, but some of it has cracks. Wondering if there is an easy way to repair or seal them up.

Date: April 4, 2002
From: Robert Servis

We have tried several different concoctions on the teak (toe rail and other) and have found that the ONLY solution that lasts is epoxy. The West System epoxy with #405 (wood colored) filler works best. Other fillers will fill the cracks, but the epoxy also glues and binds the two parts, thereby strengthening the entire piece of wood.

Once it is sanded and finished, it look very good. Probably stronger than the original, also.

Our boat is in Michigan and we get a lot of expansion and contraction from the hot and cold of our wonderful seasons, so 're-cracking' involving separation of the filler from the wood was a major problem until we started using the epoxy.

In fact, we figure that within another 20 years, Calypso's Ketch (our E43) will have most of her teak replaced with epoxy.

Date: April 5, 2002
From: Aaron White

Paul and Russ,
I use a paste made from teak sawdust and 5 or 10 minute epoxy. Mix it yourself on a piece of cardboard, then force it into the crack with a wooden stick. After its dry, if shrinking occurred, you can add another layer, if necessary. Once the repair is complete, some sanding might be necessary to level things out. The final finish won't penetrate the epoxy, but if you use gloss varnish it won't be too noticeable. If you use anything else it may show as a streak, but it should be waterproof. Hope this helps.

Date: April 5, 2002
From: Phil Cousineau

We refinished ours with cetol also, came out great but we filled all the cracks with a wood filler, hardest part was matching the color, but finally got it to come out ok.

Date: April 5, 2002
From: Frederick VerPlanck

A mixture of teak sawdust and epoxy works.regards.

Date: April 5, 2002
From: Jon Richards

I have no suggestion on filing the cracks other than trying to find a filler like Plastic Wood or a putty that matches the color of the Teak. Some carpenters I've known have added the dust from teak drillings or sanding to help color a putty or a glue. However, if you are inclined to remove and replace those sections I have observed that they are not through bolted to the deck but just screwed into the fiberglass with some bedding on the screw, and under the teak cap.

I had a few similar cracks on my E35 (hull #168, 1984) but consider that they just gave the boat character and suffered no leaks from them. It sounds like you may have more than just the one or two I had, so it might be just as easy to replace the damaged sections. If you have to lift life line stanchion bases, I found that I was able to get to almost every one. The only place where you would have difficulty is adjacent to the head but I don't recall if there was a base located there.

Date: April 5, 2002
From: Carl Hibbard Chgypsy@aol.com

Russ, I don't know how big (acrosss) your teak cracks are, nor really how many. I am also assuming that you have the wide boards that cover the toerail, that are fluted on the ends for the curvature required.

BTW; Be thankful, I have the build up of small boards which gives you a seam every inch +/- in width.

Obviously you want to save the board, so.....drill a small hole ( say 3/16") through the board a hair (1/8 ") after the end of the crack that should stop it from extending any further. If it is a tight crack say 1/8" you might want to taper the top surface a little like a plaster board crack with your Dremel tool or whatever you can manage.

The seam filler that is normally used on teak is basically a butyl rubber compound. I believe it comes in a black or a brown from 3M. In this case you are going to use it for your cracks. At least that is the 3M stuff "They" will recommend a primer.....emmmmm maybe....how bout it only lasts for 8 years and not 10. If you decide to go with a regular black butyl ( firm set, automotive window seal) mines been in since 1999, but no guarantees.

Date: April 7, 2002
From: Lawrence & Linda Mikoloff miklin37@earthlink.net

When I refinished my toe rails they too were in bad disrepair. I had a longitudinal crack just aft of my starboard gate on my 1978 E37. I filled the crack with plastic wood ,let it dry ,sanded and a little stain before the Cetonal. After a couple coats of Cetonal you have to look for the crack to know it is there.