Removing Teak Deck Bedding Compound

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  • May 29, 2018 6:23 AM
    Message # 6270999

    We have removed the teak decking from our WS42 Ketch, Harmony, and are now confronted with removing the bedding compound that remains.  If anyone has done this, what did you use to remove the bedding compound from the deck?

    After removing the decking, which was less of a chore than anticipated, I have residual bedding compound in various stages of life.  Some areas peels up like old tape.  Other areas are relatively fresh.  The old areas are stained brown from water flowing under the teak.  Additionally, there is a black caulk all around the edges.

    I have used an oscillating scraper to some initial success.  I have also used a 3/8" chisel to remove the residue from the areas where the anti-skid pattern is absent.

    I have used the Boat-Life degreaser/remover to limited success:  it does remove the black caulk after an excessive amount of elbow grease.  I have also used Xylene, which is about 85% of the Boat-Life product, but the results have not been great, either.

    My plan is to remove the bedding compound residue, and use the existing anti-skid patterns as a guide to applying Kiwi-Grip.  However, I do need to repair gel-coat cracks and faire the numerous screw holes.  (Heck, they are only small holes....)

    So, I would appreciate any counsel or real-life success stories.  I do not want to grind away the existing anti-skid in order to prepare a proper surface.  Thanks!

    Fair Winds from Doug on WS42 Harmony

  • May 30, 2018 7:55 AM
    Reply # 6273122 on 6270999

    Doug -  While we haven't removed a wooden deck thankfully we have removed the bowsprit, boomkin, cockpit coming, and dorade boxes from our deck.  In each case we found that pinkish red boat life caulking in some stage of deterioration.  After scrapping off the bulk of the material with putty knife we used an extremely course (almost scarey course) brillo pad we purchased from our local boatyard.  This with acetone or lacquer thinner (LT better) we found to be highly effective in removing the final layers of residue. 

    Unfortunately it still requires a lot of elbow grease but we were well satisfied with final result - ready for the new non-skid surface.

    Hope this is helpful, best of luck with rest of your project.  Don  

  • May 30, 2018 8:05 AM
    Reply # 6273148 on 6270999

    Don, thanks for your reply!  On Harmony, we have 7 dorado boxes that had to be rebuilt.  I, too, encountered that pink compound.  I was able to remove that a paint scraper and acetone.

    However, what was under the teak deck was slightly different.  Some was dried up and literally peeled up.  However, other residue is more like 5200, although thankfully is not 5200. While this stuff peels up with a sharp chisel on a smooth surfaces, the amount that is spread over the "diamond" anti-skid pattern is more challenging.

    Anyway, I will try lacquer thinner to see if it dissolves or softens the residue enough to scour off with an strong abrasive pad.  BTW, I just sourced a great supply of "elbow grease" in gallon containers online:  I hope it isn't out of date!!!

    Thanks again for your thoughts!


  • May 30, 2018 5:46 PM
    Reply # 6274326 on 6270999

    What about , soak with L T , mount a stout wire wheel in a Makita  angle grinder ? And get someone to hold a  box to catch the rooster tail .

  • May 31, 2018 4:44 AM
    Reply # 6275082 on 6270999

    i removed most of the teak from my deck over the past couple of years.  the bedding compound had failed, so that water had penetrated between the teak and the deck and into several screw holes soaking some of the plywood core inside the deck lamination.  the bedding either stuck to the teak or to the deck.  i sanded the bedding off the teak and used toluol (toluene) to soften the rubber bedding that stuck to the gelcoat..i then used a fiberous wheel in a drill to abrade  most, but not all, of the softened bedding.  i used a thin diamond multi-tool attachment to remove the rest.

    toluol is a solvent that you can smell when you use contact cement.  i have used it for over 30 years to soften and destroy rubber, mostly in the roofing trade.  it takes a while to work. if you apply it to rubber, the rubber will eventually (several minutes) sort of curdle up and go soft and loose its tenacity.  toluol evaporates rapidly similar to acetone, so you may need to keep applying it to the surface. i found a supply at a paint shop. 

    i tried a fiberous wheel (similar to a wire wheel, but made of tough plastic fibers) in a grinder, but found that too difficult to handle.  the drill was satisfactory.

    the diamond multi-tool attachment disk that i used, was made for cutting ceramic tiles or concrete. it is about 2.5" in diameter and perhaps 1/16" thick with the perimeter encrusted with industrial diamonds.  by holding it in my gloved hand, at an angle of about 45 degrees to the deck, i was able to remove the last of the bedding stuck in the crevices and tiny cracks of the nonskid surface. i used this both in the fore and aft and athwartships directions. this also abraded the gelcoat somewhat providing a certain amount of tooth for whatever gets applied next.

    in places where there was no non-skid, the cracking in the gelcoat was so deep that i ground down as much as 1/4" and then patched  with laminated fiberglass.

    i drilled out the screw holes a little and filled them with west system's g-flex.epoxy. g-flex cures in damp conditions, such as was found in the plywood core.

    i recycled as much of the teak as i could and glued it down with g-flex without fasteners, ...but that's another story.

    boating is fun...  james

    Last modified: May 31, 2018 4:50 AM | Anonymous member
  • May 31, 2018 7:38 AM
    Reply # 6275976 on 6270999

    James, thanks so much for the suggestions!  I had not considered toluene, but I will certainly pick some up to use the next time I am down on the boat.

    I had considered a light wire wheel in the drill, but will look for the plastic type.  While I want to get the bedding compound off the deck, I don't want to destroy the deck in the process!

    Like you, I have seen significant cracking and chipping of the deck gelcoat, particularly in the smooth areas between the anti skid.  Harmony was built in 1976, so I am not surprised.  Like you I have been and will continue to "clean" out those areas, patch with new glass where necessary, and repair the other cracks before repainting.

    Harmony's deck was the original, and it was is relatively good shape.  However, the side decks had significant water flow under the teak:  the brown stain from the teak was a common theme.  Portions of the side decks lifted up in long swathes of teak.  Yet, the bow area was pristine white with no water infiltration.

    Thankfully, there were very few leaking screws once I removed all of the decking.  The screws that showed leakage required only minimal repair other than the G-flex fill.  I ran a moisture meter over all of the deck and found no wet or saturated core.  Given that the lazerette hole on the stern of the WS42 was never sealed, I was surprised to see very little water infiltration:  phew!

    I count myself lucky in that regard.  Yes, I was reluctant to remove the teak deck, but did so to eliminate certain future leaks, and to eliminate a recurring leak at the lazerette hole: Harmony has no lazerette, and the "Admiral" was the one getting dripped on in the aft cabin!

    Thanks again, for the advice.  I have anticipated a lot of fine scraping to clean out the grooves in the anti-skid, but I wanted to make the process as easy and as quick as possible.  Yes, maintaining our Westsail requires time and effort, but, dang, the destination is so well worth the journey!


  • June 01, 2018 5:22 AM
    Reply # 6279433 on 6270999


    be sure to use use some care with the toluene.  read the safety label.  

    i think you are on the right track in not wanting to destroy the gelcoat.  it is probably the best defence against water penetration into the laminate.

    in order to deal with the fine hair cracks between the peaks of the non-skid, i coated the entire surface with warm epoxy immediately before applying the g-flex.   hopefully this penetrated the cracks and sealed them..

    i suspect that the reason for the more significant cracking in the no-non-skid areas is that the nonskid has forced a much finer cracking pattern. (some can be seen only with a lens.)  instead of having closely spaced fine cracks the no-non-skid area has fewer, but larger cracks.  these larger cracks have allowed more water penetration leading to more degradation in the laminate and lifting of the edges of the cracks.  my boat (W28) was built in 1978.

    some time ago, i removed the headliner from inside the boat and found internal leaks out in the field of the laminate.  these were from tiny pin holes in the final fiberglass layer below the plywood core.  several small, wart like, piles of residue clung to the fiberglass like stalactites.. these were easily soluble in water and had an aroma similar to tar.  my conclusion was that water penetrating the deck through screw holes had dissolved some resin from the laminate, the plywood and the plywood glue and found its way out leaving the solute behind.

    i too, found that the bow area was least affected.  most of the teak on the bow came up in chisel chip sized pieces pulling considerable non-ski along with it.  i ground the rest of the  non-skid off, made new sheets of non-skid and epoxied them to the deck.  

    the side deck teak was easy to remove.  there was a layer of mud in places where failure was complete.

    thank you for bringing my attention to a moisture meter. i should get one, but somehow i don't think it would give accurate readings through the top of the deck.  from the top down my deck is about 3/8" fiberglass, 1/2" plywood and then a single final layer of very course woven cloth.  readings from inside the boat would probably provide some useful information on the moisture still in the plywood core. 


    Last modified: June 01, 2018 5:26 AM | Anonymous member
  • June 01, 2018 10:08 AM
    Reply # 6280138 on 6270999

    James, I appreciate your mention of safety dealing with the toluene.  Many DIY boaters often neglect appropriate safety measures because the rush of the dream is so strong.  However, I have industrial strength gloves and respirators.

    The bow area was really clean with no under teak leaks, but my teak came up in whole pieces once I used an oscillating tool under the teak.  After that, I just need to tap a small trim pry tool under and slowly apply pressure.  Once the bond began to break, the bedding mostly stripped from the teak.

    The side decks were the area for under teak water flow.  This sections came up in almost full panels up to 20 feet long.  The residue there was no longer adhering.

    However, the stern area on our WS42, was like your bow area.  The bedding compound was tenacious and the decking came up in pieces.  After the ease of the bow and side deck areas, I thought I needed a few more Wheaties!

    I understand your comments about cracking of the deck gel coat.  I agree.  Yet, on Harmony, the cracking of gel coat was between the diamond pattern anti skid.  From what I have seen so far, the presence of hairline cracks in the anti skid is almost a null set.  My repair regimen will include epoxy fairing and new glass where appropriate.

    My intention is to repaint the deck and cabin house after reaping the gel coat cracks.  The deck will be painted with Kiwi grip type paint, as I don't expect to be able to reuse the existing anti skid pattern completely.

    While I love the look and nostalgia of the teak deck, it is too much effort and cost to replace with a proper teak deck.  To add a veneer of teak or a facsimile laminate seems like heresy on a Westsail.  The Kiwi grip type coating at least retains a somewhat traditional deck look.

    During my gutting and rebuilding the interior, I removed the head liners from from all deck areas.  I was astonished to not find the 'stalagtites" you mentioned.  I had expected copious signs of deck leakage.  

    Surprisingly, I found none!  Before I purchased Harmony in its dilapidated state, I had a surveyor run a moisture meter over the entire deck and hull.  I also repeated the test.  Given that the boat had been stored outside and uncovered for several years, I expected a soggy mess. The meter showed acceptable dryness!  The "rivers" flowing under the deck were measured as only minor wetness.  I count myself lucky after my test confirmed what the surveyor said.

    Ah, but yes, I had leakage!  The mid-ships cap rails leak due to the working of the sheet metal screws holding the teak to the bulwark joint.  I will fix this this summer - there is a GREAT treatise on how to do this fix on this site.  The absent lazerette hatch in the stern has provided an entry point for rain, but that will patched in the coming days.

    Thanks again for both your counsel and proper concern for safety.


  • June 02, 2018 4:20 AM
    Reply # 6281884 on 6270999

    greetings doug

    i did the bow on my boat before i found the usefulness of the multi-tool.  i suspect it is the same as what you call an oscillating tool.

    thank you for bringing kiwigrip to my attention.  i looked it up and perhaps it will be a suitable product to refinish my cabin top.

    i removed and replaced my port side cap rail last winter, including replacement of the bolts holding the deck and hull together.  the multi-tool really paid for itself on that job. the starboard side will have to wait a while.  i did the whole job single handed.  even made a tool to hold the countersunk philips heads of the bolts while i unscrewed the nuts from inside. 

    this has been a pleasant conversation, doug.  good luck with the rest of the project.


  • June 03, 2018 6:10 AM
    Reply # 6283375 on 6270999

    James, you are correct, it is a multi-tool! At a loss for the proper name I have evolved from vibrating-thingy to oscillating tool.  So, thanks, I can now use multi-tool and be understood by all!

    I will also start at the bow when removing the old bedding material, as the down slope to mid side deck should allow some gravity to help.  I will probably then go to the stern for the same reason.

    Regarding the cap rails, I am going to try to do both while on the hard this summer.  The worse case of leaking is on the starboard side.  When I had the interior open, I noticed water dripping from the screws holding the cap rail in place.  The deck/hull bolts were dry and in good shape.  Hopefully, it will be just a quick cutting the screws holding the cap rail, a gentle lifting of the teak, and then a proper repair of the holes.

    I will then re-attach the teak by tapping machine screws into the fiberglass flange at the bulwarks.  Fingers crossed that I don't find more than that.

    Thanks for the chat!  It is helpful to know that someone else has gone through similar efforts.


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