Custom Teak & Teak Cabin Side Repair for 1964 Rhodes Reliant on Gulf Coast?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by SV_Lutalica, Feb 24, 2021.

  1. SV_Lutalica
    Joined: Feb 2021
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    SV_Lutalica New Member

    I posted the below on Sailing Anarchy and it was suggested I look for a shipwright for help/hire in a wooden boat forum. Thank you for any and all information!

    Six months ago I purchased my first sailboat, a beautiful 1964 Cheoy Lee Rhodes Reliant. While she was already considerably restored and updated, her extensive teak was starting to show its age and was a problem I knew I would have to deal with soon. About six to seven fasteners on the cabin sides are now exposed and flush with the teak indicating that the wood may be at the end of its lifespan--something the previous owner let me know about prior to purchasing. I plan on removing one of these screws to see if there is any chance of countersinking them further and adding another bung but I doubt that will be the case--and since I don't want screws expanding and contracting in direct sunlight creating voids underneath all the coats of fresh varnish I was planning on applying here's the question:

    Since this apparently is a veneer bonded to the cabin by fiberglass mat and polyester resin according to several other owners, can I simply get away with filling these random screw holes with epoxy/filler?

    If not...

    Is there any person/vender who specializes in teak repair/fabrication along the Gulf Coast? I realize I may have to travel from my home port of New Orleans but that's not a problem.*I realize I will have probably replace the teak entirely which will be a chunk of change, and will have to be done with several smaller cuts of wood since I seriously doubt there's any place you can get panels of Burmese teak in the size needed--perhaps stacking long strips of teak??

    Pictures attached!

    Thanks guys for ANY direction on this--learning as I go here and very new to the boat owning game. Cheers. - Hunter

    IMG-0732.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  2. bajansailor
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Welcome to the Forum Lutalica.

    If I understand you correctly, the superstructure is a fibreglass moulding, with a thin teak veneer glued on to it?
    But it sounds like it is 'glued' with polyester resin?

    Are there any areas of wood that are delaminated or 'lifting' away from the fibreglass underneath?
    If not, then it would probably be ok to remove the screws that are exposed, and filling the holes with epoxy filler.
    You could use teak sawdust in the epoxy as the filler.
     
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  3. SV_Lutalica
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    SV_Lutalica New Member

    bajansailor,

    From what I've been told/read it is a veneer, however it doesn't seem too thin to me--maybe after pulling one of those screws I'll have a better idea. Thankfully I don't think I have any delamination with the exception of one small area where there is a slight bulge in the wood. Thanks for the input!
     
  4. Rumars
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    Rumars Senior Member

    I don't know how your cabin house is constructed, so I can offer only general advice. The way to verify cabin construction material is to remove whatever interior paneling you have on the inside and take a look.
    If the cabin house is actually a fiberglass molding and the teak is glued and screwed to it from the outside, then yes, you can simply remove the screw, cut a new bunghole down to the fiberglass, fill the hole in the fiberglass with thickened resin and glue a new wood plug in the new hole. This only works if the original glue still holds the wood to the glass, if not, it's more involved.

    There are many solutions for different problems, but the wood only needs to be replaced if it has rot, otherwise it can be saved. Of course some of this methods are as expensive as new teak, so not always appropriate.
     
  5. bajansailor
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    The Rhodes Reliant is a very pretty yacht - she featured in the first edition of Arthur Beiser's book 'The Proper Yacht'.
    I have scanned the pages where Mr Beiser describes her, and will attach them below.

    Rhodes Reliant P 1.jpg
    Rhodes Reliant P 2.jpg
    Rhodes Reliant P 3.jpg
    Rhodes Reliant P 4.jpg
     
  6. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    On the simple question, not sure I follow you. A screw that is exposed can be sealed
    over with varnish. It won't be pretty, but you can mask the surrounding and seal the screw. Epoxy, like you mentioned, is not UV stable. For a prettier job, why can't you just continue to varnish? If you have screw holes to fill; then make some teak sawdust epoxy glue like Bajan said. But the mechanical fastener is probably needed; so eliminating the screw seems off.

    Also, on your delam; you can get a syringe with a blunt nose about 1/16" and drill two 1/16" holes at the top of the delam and inject epoxy. Go slow and let it seep down. The other hole is a vent and required. Once the epoxy flows from the vent instead of air; quickly tape over both holes with masking tape and pull the tape after gelation.

    On the larger question, I would think you could laminate a new teak veneer on there or find a pro capable.

    It would require vacuum for about 6 hours to be done really well.

    There are some professional veneer people near me; not sure what they use for bonding, but I believe they told me epoxy is an option. Also, I think they said veneers come in different thicknesses; you'd want something a bit thicker. A trick would be dealing with the substrate; trims, and hardwares. That would likely require some elaborate templates or parlor tricks. I would think someone GC or Florida does it.
     
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  7. wet feet
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    wet feet Senior Member

    It looks like an interesting challenge.I can understand the concern it would cause a new owner.I would think that if the veneer is thick enough to swallow a screw its thick enough to be structural veneer rather than the furniture covering type which is a great deal thinner.I would also think the screws were originally used to apply enough force to hold the veneer in place while the bonding adhesive cured.I doubt they would have been so closely spaced that they would hold the teak in place if the bond broke down and if it hasn't broken by now it was probably done well.Which would give me the impetus to try taking a screw out.There is a strong possibility that the screw will be held by the adhesive resin and you might find holding a hot soldering iron on the head will encourage it to come loose.If its really stuck just varnish over it and go sailing.If it can be removed then I would go with the advice to create a recess for a bung and varnish over that.
    I would suspect the mouldings around the portlights were added after the veneer was initially applied and that a plywood ring was used as a pressure pad for clamping the veneer.Which would mean either destroying them to add more veneer or working with extreme care to fit veneer round them.Neither is a particularly appealing prospect and I would make a big effort to conserve what is in place.One clincher for doing so would be seeing a picture of the forward corners of the coachroof to determine whether the veneer has to wrap round a corner.

    On a totally unrelated note;the boat has lots of ventilation and that is always a good thing,but those huge cowl vents near the mast look like an invitation for the jib sheets to get snagged when tacking-have you considered lower vents and a guard over them?
     
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  8. Will Gilmore
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    Will Gilmore Senior Member

    I second wet feet's sentiments.

    She is a beautiful boat, by the way. I envy your luck in acquiring her.

    She is a solid glass hull underneath. If the choice is to replace, because you're afraid of comprising the bond if you just do a cosmetic repair, I'd suggest doing the cosmetic repair and keep an eye on it. You can't hurt it. If there is water intrusion, it will simply undermine the join and slowly rot the wood you were thinking of replacing anyhow. You'll see it before it becomes a problem and can replace as needed. On the other hand, if it works out, no need to replace prematurely.
     
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  9. bajansailor
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Hunter, do you have any 'close up' photos of the areas that you are concerned about?

    And as this is 'your' thread, you wouldn't be hijacking it if you posted some photos of the interior as well - I for one would love to see what she looks like down below.
     
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  10. SV_Lutalica
    Joined: Feb 2021
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    SV_Lutalica New Member

    THANKS EVERYONE!

    I really appreciate all the input.

    So I got curious today and took some better photos of my areas of concern and backed out a screw to determine the thickness of the veneer—it’s 1/4”—pictures attached.

    bajansailor—I’ll upload some interior shots shortly.
     

    Attached Files:

  11. SV_Lutalica
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    SV_Lutalica New Member

    bajansailor here’s the interior:
     

    Attached Files:

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  12. bajansailor
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Thank you for all the photos Hunter - your Reliant looks very fine indeed.
    In your final photo above (post #11) of the cockpit, it looks like you have very neat canvas covers on the bulwarks and cockpit coamings to keep the sun off the varnish?
    Just a word of caution re the main sheet when you go sailing, and you are tacking (or especially so if you are gybing) - be careful that the helmsman does not get tangled in the sheet, as it is not far behind the helm.
    Re how the teak on the cabin sides is approx 1/4" / 6 mm - do you know how thick the fibreglass is behind it? There appears to be panelling on the inside - is this also timber? Re the screws that you remove, I am thinking that if you fill the hole completely with epoxy filler, then it will act as a dowel or rivet, as epoxy has some strength in tension?
    I am no expert on varnish, and I am wondering how feasible it would be to use stripper to take all the old varnish off, and then some dilute oxalic acid solution (?) to bleach the black areas before lightly sanding and starting to build up coats of varnish again?
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021
  13. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    Personally, I'd live with the old stuff.

    it needs varnish to be heat gunned off; detail sanded; probably rebunged here n there; lotta work, but if you have 6mm teak...money...repairable, unless someone sanded it down too far?

    wonder why the screws are showing
     
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  14. Rumars
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    Rumars Senior Member

    Man, somebody really did a number on those cabin sides. Those black spots, that's not only cosmetic, it's the onset of rot. It still can be saved with some dutchmens, and the repair can be grain matched to be mostly invisible.
    Resanding the boards flat will be a chore, it might be better to take it all off and run them through a thickness sander, and glue them back on with epoxy.
     
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  15. wet feet
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    wet feet Senior Member

    If the teak is bonded on you will find yourself with a box of firewood if you attempt removal and the initially appealing idea of skimming it down won't be feasible.It does look as though remedial action is necessary very soon to stop the slide into full blown rot.The discolouration might be fairly shallow if you are lucky,but to find out the wood will need stripping.The advice to use a heat gun is something I would only recommend to an experienced heat gun user as it is much too easy to scorch the wood with one and that creates a lot more work as a result of using what is supposed to be a labour saving device.A sharp scraper would be my tool of choice and needs to be used carefully.Either a Skarsten scraper or a flat scraper would do the job and you need to be careful not to dig the corners in.Once the varnish is off you can sand/scrape to see if the discolouration is deep enough for eradication to be possible.If any of the teak is soft or shows signs of rot,you need to get a new section grafted in and this would need great care.If its only dark wood,a wipe with stain might hide the blemish and it would b wise to have a section of similar wood to use as an indicator of what colour the stained wood would show under varnish.We wouldn't want a piebald cabin side.

    With only 1/4" of wood there is scarcely enough depth for sinking the screws and adding bungs.It can be done but you really need a special bit to avoid both snatching and splintering and the raised head screws would need to be switched for flat countersunk.Alternatively just re-use the existing screws after varnishing and then add a dab of varnish to them-which you wipe off after a few seconds.
     
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