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Old 04-25-2007, 12:45 PM   #1
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I have no experience with wooden boats, or even boats with wooden decks. I've read lots of discussion about varnish vs. oils vs. proprietary treatments. However a topic I have not seen discussed at length is the "daily feeding" of on-board wood. I'm still in the planning/dreaming phase but there is definitely something attractive about nice teak decks and lots of wood below deck but as I look at boats on yachtworld.com and boats.com and a slew of other boat broker sites it seems that a lot of people have let their wood work go to pot which while good for me, as it brings down the price of the boats without compromising the structure (usually) and is something I feel more than capable of replacing/repairing, I simply can't understand...

So maybe that is just it... maybe I don't understand... is there something more required to maintain wood decks and interiors beyond a regular citrus wash and wax feeding?
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Old 04-25-2007, 01:19 PM   #2
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I grew up in a house where EVERYTHING was wood (my father was a builder and loved wood). Each and every room had a different wood on the walls - larch, knotty pine, pecky cyprus, ... you get the idea. Peter and I now own the house and use it as a summer home.

I now understand why I wanted as little woodwork on the interior of our boat - wood is dark and reflects back very little of the light. Living in the confined space of a boat, the dark wood made me feel as if I were a troglodyte*.

Teak decks are hot. Hot on the feet in the sun, they heat up the interior of the boat which is good if you live in Scandinavia or other northern climes, but not so much fun if you are cruising in the tropics.

Interior wood doesn't require a whole lot of maintenance - a little care and feeding and perhaps varnishing every ten years or so and it should look pretty good. Dark, but nice.

As low maintenance as teak decks and brightwork may be, it still requires cleaning and care, and more work than fiberglass. Most cruisers let their decks go gray, "natural" because they don't get to a marina with lots of water available to really keep up the teak decks. Varnish has a short life, perhaps 6 months in the tropics, before it starts to degrade and need a new coat.

Wood that needs to be revarnished because it is badly degraded and peeling must be done well if subsequent care of the wood is to be reasonably efficient. That means cleaning and sanding the old wood, applying many base coats of varnish (7, 8?) before the wood is properly protected, and then a semi-annual light sanding and application of another coat of varnish.

Or you can go with some of the pigmented synthetic varnishes, such as Cetol(tm), which give the wood a slightly artificial color.

Can you tell that wood is not my thing?

*troglodyte = "a prehistoric cave dweller" = just to hammer home my dislike of dark wood in small interior spaces

I agree that wood looks good when well cared-for, but I believe that modern materials are more efficient and suitable to a life afloat.
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Old 04-25-2007, 11:40 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atavist View Post
I have no experience with wooden boats, or even boats with wooden decks. I've read lots of discussion about varnish vs. oils vs. proprietary treatments. However a topic I have not seen discussed at length is the "daily feeding" of on-board wood. I'm still in the planning/dreaming phase but there is definitely something attractive about nice teak decks and lots of wood below deck but as I look at boats on yachtworld.com and boats.com and a slew of other boat broker sites it seems that a lot of people have let their wood work go to pot which while good for me, as it brings down the price of the boats without compromising the structure (usually) and is something I feel more than capable of replacing/repairing, I simply can't understand...

So maybe that is just it... maybe I don't understand... is there something more required to maintain wood decks and interiors beyond a regular citrus wash and wax feeding?
Hi,

Besides the quoted magazines such as YachtWorld, if you have time explore the WoodenBoat magazine which for over 30 years, has provided its readers with subjects that combine emerging technologies with traditional methods of boat design, construction and repair. The magazine is about craftsmanship in wood, and its active boating audience works at all levels of expertise to build, restore, and maintain their boats.

There is an awful lot to understand about wood in a marine environment and even more so if that environment includes being subjected to the hot tropical sun for many hours a day.

So wherever dreams may take one:- If it is for lots of wood - there will be lots of work and then some.
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Old 04-26-2007, 04:28 AM   #4
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I like teak decks also - which is why we have one. Contrary to other opinions, we find it easy to keep it looking good - a cleaner and bightener used maybe twice in each year, and a mop with fresh seawater each week - does us fine. IMHO nothing looks nicer than a blue hull and teak decks.

Also have heard before the commnet that a teak deck is hotter underfoot than glassfibre and have to report we dont find this on our boat. Where teak deck meets off white glass, the deck temperatures feel exactly the same to me.

And finally to confuse you even more.......we've got light maple flooring, high gloss mahogany woodwork, and off white bulkheads below on our yacht. And dark it aint!

Enjoy

JOHN
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Old 04-26-2007, 06:15 AM   #5
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Just a few thots... Brightwork is beautiful and wooden boats are often not only beautiful, but seem to have a life of their own. Unfortunately, the amount of time required to maintain wood, especially in a tropical environment, can be a chronic drain on one's enthusiasm and bank account. So it becomes a matter of what you enjoy doing - sailing or working on your boat. And you may find the amount of non-optional maintenance required, especially if you live aboard and / or do a lot of cruising, to be quite demanding.

I've owned wooden boats and 'plastic' boats, and although I truly enjoy the beauty of wood, on my current boat I've replaced virtually all my topsides brightwork (e.g., handrails) with stainless. It works well for me.

Anyway, fair winds. I wish you all the best.
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