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The Transformation of Betty's Decks

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There are all sorts of ways a teak deck can be spiffed up. And all sorts of levels to which the spiffed-upness can be taken. I recently opted to exalt my Grand Banks trawler Betty Jane's woodsy pavement (both on her main deck and her flying bridge) to the highest level I could afford, both money-wise and time-wise. Check out the photo above. You can be the judge of how successful the month-long ordeal actually was.

One tool I find especially useful for repairing seams (with missing caulk or caulk that's peeled away from one or both sides of a seam) is The Bosch Colt 1-hp palm-type router I purchased a while back from Home Depot for the sum of $100 (, more or less. What a superb little device!

Here's how it works on Betty's decks. I simply insert a 1/4" bit into the Colt's collet chuck, set the appropriate depth-of-cut using the gauge on the base mechanism, and dial up the most speed possible, and then deepen or refresh the seam (or part of the seam) that needs work.I had to practice with the tool a little first on some scrap wood to gin up my accuracy before I dared descend upon Betty's decks, by the way.

And I soon discovered there's something else that helps with accuracy too--using a short  length of stout maple board (2' x 6"x 3/4") as a guide. I start by making a "plunge cut" down into a spot where the adhesive is still healthy. Then I line the board up with the stretch of unhealthy seam ahead, and gently push the router on and through the unhealthy material with my right hand, all the while guiding the squarish base of the router (see photo below) against the board which I hold down with my left hand. When I've gotten as far as I need to go, I pull the router vertically up and away so I don't sloppily damage the sides of the seam. Pretty slick!


Finishing's done in the conventional manner. I lay a thin strip of release tape (3M makes some pretty good stuff) in the bottom of the seam, tape off the sides with varnishing tape (again 3M makes the good stuff) and apply new caulk. I tend to skip cleaning the insides of a freshly routed seam (or part of a seam) with acetone before this final stage. The router does a really smooth, thorough job. The little devil's my new favorite gizmo.