Caulking a planked boat

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by gonzo, May 15, 2017.

  1. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    This video may answer the question some people have asked about driving cotton into seams. My answer, and that of others, has been that you have to hear it "ring". The audio is quite clear and shows what it sounds when it is driven in planks that are in good shape and well fastened.
     
  2. TANSL
    Joined: Sep 2011
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    TANSL Senior Member

    Interesting video and audio is really amazing. Now I understand what you mean by "... hear it ring".
     
  3. Tiny Turnip
    Joined: Mar 2008
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    Tiny Turnip Senior Member

    I'm not seeing anything that looks like a link/thumbnail/button for the video. Am I missing something on the new forum?

    Attached shows what I see. Cheers.

    Gonzo's video post.jpg
     
  4. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

  5. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Like many things in traditional building techniques, it's much easier to understand if you watch and have a master next to you, as you learn. Pounding caulk is a feel and sound thing. There's a lot more to it, such as the finger positions on his left hand, how he likes to "loop", mallet handling, iron placement to get the caulk to drive properly, etc. It's simply something you have to do and have someone that knows, watch as you learn, because the alternative is a boat that leaks and you have to haul it out and do it again. For example, how deep and how hard do you drive the caulk, how to avoid dinging the plank seam or edge with the iron, practice will teach you how to hit the iron every time, but why use this ridiculously long mallet? There are a lot of subtle things you have to be taught and have to feel or hear, before you can reliably caulk a boat.
     
  6. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    SamSam Senior Member

    I was wondering about the mallet also. Railroad spike drivers were like that too, there must be a reason.
    I would definitely try utilizing my pneumatic hammer for that, somehow. If you can develop the muscles and stamina and feel to do that with a hammer and iron, I can't see why a powered system couldn't be learned.
     

  7. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    A powered setup would take away the most important aspect of driving caulk, the feel. The sound as much as the feel are the "tells" and no machine can bring this out. Now, it might be possible to have a load cell in the machine to tell it when the caulk is sufficiently home, but this would need to be "dialed in" on each boat and likely several times on each caulking job.
     
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