Teak Portholes

Discussion in 'Materials' started by Asleep Helmsman, Nov 10, 2018.

  1. Asleep Helmsman
    Joined: Jul 2008
    Posts: 195
    Likes: 4, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 62
    Location: Republic of Texas

    Asleep Helmsman Senior Member

    What do y'all think about making porthole frames out of teak?
     
  2. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
    Posts: 1,246
    Likes: 48, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: usa

    fallguy Senior Member

    It might look good on the right boat.
     
  3. JamesG123
    Joined: Mar 2015
    Posts: 372
    Likes: 45, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Columbus, GA

    JamesG123 Senior Member

    The problem is grain. The parts of the frame where the grain lines are thinnest are its weakest point and as the wood ages and are subject the thermal and humidity cycles, that is where they will fail. That is why porthole frames are made of metal.
     
  4. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
    Posts: 1,246
    Likes: 48, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: usa

    fallguy Senior Member

    An exceptionally wise point.

    The only real way to conquer this problem would be laminating layers of teak or to join the teak and keep grain lines perpendicular to the joins and running the lengths of the components. And then, wood still moves with heat and moisture.
     
  5. Blueknarr
    Joined: Aug 2017
    Posts: 334
    Likes: 32, Points: 28
    Location: Colorado

    Blueknarr Senior Member

    I have refinished several yachts with teak potholes/lights; some solid and some overlayed. Truely enhances the looks of traditional craft.

    Before any of our times, all wood frames would have been common on non-executive vessels. Bronze being too expensive. Plastic frames currently dominate the low end market.

    Teak framework would cost more than most metals but would not last nearly as long with far greater maintenance requirements.

    It's the classic choice between beauty and longevity.
     
    fallguy likes this.
  6. Asleep Helmsman
    Joined: Jul 2008
    Posts: 195
    Likes: 4, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 62
    Location: Republic of Texas

    Asleep Helmsman Senior Member

    It's a Pearson 35.
    I will be coating them with West System 207 Ultra Clear on all surfaces prior to installing, and then many coats of Spar Varnish to UV protect.
    I'll post some sections this week so you can comment on the types of seals to use. I plan on replacing the existing safety glass with acrylic sheets (Plexiglas). The acrylic will be architectural grade UV inhibited as well.
     
  7. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
    Posts: 1,246
    Likes: 48, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: usa

    fallguy Senior Member

    The joinery is the important bit.

    How are you going to avoid perpendicular grain?
     
  8. Asleep Helmsman
    Joined: Jul 2008
    Posts: 195
    Likes: 4, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 62
    Location: Republic of Texas

    Asleep Helmsman Senior Member

    I may create several pieces with small miters and router it out afterwards. I was thinking at one point to dado the back and epoxy in the original aluminum frames.

    This all got started because I don't like the way these port hole frames work. My guess is that every Pearson that has these portholes failed. This boat is 50 years old, but I bet those portholes have been leaking for decades. I figured since I'm building new companionway doors, and the hatches are all teak, I thought it would be nice to make the old girl better than original.
     
  9. JamesG123
    Joined: Mar 2015
    Posts: 372
    Likes: 45, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Columbus, GA

    JamesG123 Senior Member

    By making your porthole frames leak sooner rather than later?
     
  10. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
    Posts: 1,246
    Likes: 48, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: usa

    fallguy Senior Member

    gonna be hard to keep them looking nice and not failing or even cracking on a mitre

    build the outside from something paintable and the insides you can make teak trims and even varnish them

    that way if the joinery is a bust; they still perform and you can repair them on your own schedule - this assumes the trim is not essential of course, or at least a crack inside won't matter
     
  11. Asleep Helmsman
    Joined: Jul 2008
    Posts: 195
    Likes: 4, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 62
    Location: Republic of Texas

    Asleep Helmsman Senior Member

    Why do you think they will leak?
     
  12. JamesG123
    Joined: Mar 2015
    Posts: 372
    Likes: 45, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Columbus, GA

    JamesG123 Senior Member

    Because you are going to make them out of an unoptimum material. Read my and Blueknarr's posts again.
     
  13. Asleep Helmsman
    Joined: Jul 2008
    Posts: 195
    Likes: 4, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 62
    Location: Republic of Texas

    Asleep Helmsman Senior Member

    I have been building boat parts for the last 45 years. I have proven so many naysayers wrong in my time. What's 2 more?

    I was hoping for some ideas, but of course that requires thinking.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018
  14. Asleep Helmsman
    Joined: Jul 2008
    Posts: 195
    Likes: 4, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 62
    Location: Republic of Texas

    Asleep Helmsman Senior Member

    By the way, you don't get any appreciable humidity cycles when you encapsulate wood in epoxy.
     

  15. JamesG123
    Joined: Mar 2015
    Posts: 372
    Likes: 45, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Columbus, GA

    JamesG123 Senior Member

    If you've been building boat parts for 45 yrs. this doesn't require thinking. Perhaps you were thinking that maybe this wasn't a good idea? And when you got confirmation of that, in true Internets fashion you simply ignore it. lol
     
Loading...
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.