Caulking or fasteners?

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by tongvan, Sep 6, 2007.

  1. tongvan
    Joined: Sep 2007
    Posts: 1
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    Location: Patchogue, NY

    tongvan New Member

    I have a 32' 1969 Chesapeake Bay tong boat (white cedar transverse planked) that leaks (weeps) water along the aft section of the keel. It is not a serious leaking situation, but I'd rather rectify the issue now if possible to prevent more serious issues later. I have access to a travel lift so she is hauled yearly and she seems rather solid. Fasteners are monel and she has a coating of tar over the caulked seam where the hull planks meet the keel. I assume that the caulked seam has oakum beneath it. I'm thinking that the fasteners are not the problem, but rather that the caulking is failing. Should I attempt to recaulk (what's the safest way) and should I reapply tar over the new caulk when done? Also is it important to replace the oakum if it pulls out with the caulking or would it suffice to simply apply more caulking and push it deep into the seam? Any assistance is greatly appreciated.
  2. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    Location: maine

    alan white Senior Member

    The weeping could be due to a lot of things. The construction of your boat... is it a double bottom? How do things go together? Does the deadwood have stop-waters at critical joints? It it possible the transom joint is leaking?

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

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I'm familiar with the boat type and construction method. It'll have a file planked bottom (athwartship bottom planks on a hard chine hull), usually of pretty hefty stock, caulked seams and generally the stout construction necessary for the dredgers.

    Tongvan, if the caulked seams are pretty recent, then you may have an issue trying to rear up. In this case, you should have a boat carpenter or survayor come over and have a look see. If the caulk job has some age on it, then it may very well be, just a small section that has sprung a leak, suggesting you re-caulk her (boats have a way of reminding you to toss some new parts or labor at them from time to time).

    Caulking is an art form and not practiced by many any more. I'm one of the few people in a this are that can do it properly and I don't do much of it any more (I'm just worn out and it a tough job). Finding someone who can do it right is getting tougher, but you may have to. Some use tar over the seams, others use slick seam or other compounds to seal up the caulked seam. I use slick seam, but tar is a traditional and well proven method too.
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