For this second article dedicated to the refit - the first one was about painting -> more here - We are talking about carpentry. We have interviewed Anthony Avezard, a teak expert aboard his company Bois & Boat.
What should we do to apply teak to a new surface with gelcoat?
Anthony Avezard: The first step is to sand and degrease to obtain a completely smooth surface. So, we take the measurements and launch the fabrication in the workshop. We always prefer to work with several panels and not just one as it is easier for several reasons. First, transporting a single panel can be tricky. In addition, if imperfections occur, a total intervention will be necessary. Finally, we glue and respect the drying time before sanding. This is the final step to a perfect result.
Respecting the drying time ... can it take a long time? Different depending on the weather?
AA: In fact, between summer and winter the drying time can vary from 10 days. Under 8 degrees, it is impossible to glue the teak. In hot weather, and especially if we work with fine teak, it can dry up to 24 hours.
For the thickness of teak, what are the recommendations?
AA: It is good to work with a teak of at least 6 millimeters. Then, according to the project and wishes, we can go up to 20 millimeters. It also depends on the type of teak and the shape of the leaf
Are there different qualities of teak?
AA: Totally. The biggest difference we find is between Asian and African teak. Nobody works the latter. It is usually green in color, that is, plantation; the cost is three times cheaper. In Asia there is Burmese teak, which is the best, which is fatter and denser; then the Laotian, a super quality too. Depending on the quality and part of the teak, the price of the raw material can double. An increase that the end customer also feels. The heart, for example, always costs more. Afterwards, it is possible to find teak 5 or 8 times cheaper ... As we will often find in large distribution garden furniture, where we can even see teak stained with eucalyptus.
How to recognize the true from the false?
AA: For starters, teak is heavy and will always maintain an oily touch, there is always a film left on the fingers. Visually, we see it over time ... fake teak dries out. Then there is also the price; a Lamborghini will never have the same price as a Dacia.
And the plywood in all this?
AA: Sessa and Sunseeker, among others, have a plywood frame with a 3mm teak sheet on the outer rear. Still they carry the teak label, which is gained from the millimeter of thickness. Similarly, for stamps there are different qualities. Some can be sanded more times than others. The same goes for glue, which plays a very important role. That is why teak is a very broad and highly specialized area, and it is essential to take everything into account. For example, on a sailboat, given the design, the installation of teak is sheet by sheet. A yacht, on the other hand, is straight, so there are fewer cuts. The more rounded, the more matter is lost, the more work time ... and all this comes at a cost. So for the same number of surfaces, the budget can be doubled.
What is good maintenance? What are the most frequent mistakes? The Karcher, for example?
AA: For the Karcher, it all depends on the application method "better to be too far than too close" and the force of the machine. With a high potency karcher the teak fiber is more likely to wear out. The best solution? A jet of water, using a soft brush with a degreaser. Grandma's recipes like salt water also work great. In general, it will take longer because the aggression is less direct but the result is the same. Same with percarbonate of soda or even oxalic acid. Very effective and natural, with the latter, you have to be careful with rubber stamps that do not resist. With this type of product, one of the really important things is knowing how to prepare the product for use. These are not industrial products prepared for direct application… Sodium percarbonate, for example, must be dissolved in water at a certain temperature. The other advantage of these recipes? In industrial products, it is impossible to know what they actually contain. Percarbonate is chalk ...
When to worry about the gray flaw effect?
AA: At the beginning and end of the season. It also depends on the awning, depending on which parts are protected from the sun. The same as if the boat is stored dry in winter or not.
Speaking of maintenance, what do you do with a grease stain ... such as after cutting sausage at the table? (laughs)
AA: Nothing better than the K2r pump or spray or the “land of sommières”. These products remove fat and tannin from the wood… so be careful one more time! You need to remove the stain as quickly as possible, wait for it to lather, and then rinse as soon as it dries. Cleaning with the soil of the sommières, being a less aggressive product, will take more time.
Varnished or not?
AA: I am more in favor of saturators. These products maintain the visual appearance of wood in a short period of time. In fact, it is not possible to apply a product and claim that it will last for a year. Manufacturers advocate two coats that will last three to four months - this is the option at the beginning of the season. Afterwards, the advantage of the saturator is that it can be stopped at any time, varnishes and other products create a thin film. That is why it eventually cracks. Saturator wears off very slowly, like tanning. However, a teak that cracks is enough to sand it to recover it. The varnish is applied more frequently in small elements. We will find a varnished floor in the Riva ... To do this, 30 layers of varnish are applied, but here we go up in socks! It is exceptional to a Riva. In general, three coats are usually applied and we have a three to four year guarantee, not much ...
Is the maintenance the same for the exterior carpentry?
AA: Horizontal teak ages faster than vertical teak. A horizontal surface takes in more UV radiation, the same goes for parts less protected than others.
After placing new teak close to an older one, how long does it take for them to visually match?
AA: During spring, it takes two to three months and much less in summer. In winter it takes longer.
What are green spots on teak?
AA: It's damp, stagnant water. If it penetrates into the wood, it turns black ... as for everyone, teak requires maintenance, annually as daily.
What to do for good seal maintenance?
AA: Nothing! In principle, if there are stains on the stamps, it is a manufacturing defect ... depending on the brand. It is not a question of seniority. Later, some stains may appear as a result of applying a product, such as paint thinners. Although everything will also depend on the quality of the seals and the range of the boat… Some seals last 20 years, others 5 years. The solution to a damaged seal is to change it. However, this can only be done on a thick teak surface.
How do you proceed when new teak is applied on top of another?
AA: It depends on what is underneath and that, it is difficult to see it ... You can see if there is some flexibility in some parts, but in principle, until the teak is removed, it is impossible to know what is underneath and in what state. Plywood damages 10 times faster than teak, so if the structure is made of plywood under 2 cm of teak, not only the tec, but the entire structure will be changed. It is delicate ... Therefore, it is important to understand that the budget encompasses to avoid surprises.
For the interiors, do you work with teak?
AA: Interiors are generally not teak, laminate is used more. It can also be vinyl, braided coconut fiber, or synthetic fibers. These materials allow to obtain a modern effect. "In the old days", ship interiors were made of wood. Now, because of the cost and maintenance, these materials are used more. To damage a laminate, you really have to look for it! The trend is changing… As in the near future, surely there will be no more carpets in the cabins.
And for interior furniture, what kind of material is it?
AA: Mostly plywood. That is, a plywood backing with wood. This can be cherry, American oak, teak-look ... any type! More and more work is being done with laminate as well. Paint is even used on wood to obtain a metallic effect… The type of wood depends on the range of the boat. Glossy varnished woods are out of date. A total refit allows working with more modern materials. On the other hand, with a partial refit, we must adapt to the materials present so as not to denature.
What has been your most intense project?
AA: The most intense? Work a charter catamaran with 5 cabins and 5 bathrooms in owner version with 2 cabins, a bathroom, a dressing room and a library. It was a full 6 months on this 65 foot catamaran. The longest? A princess V65, for a total refit of the exterior teak. From the ground to the back beach, the stairs, the cockpit… everything! The most common projects revolve around teak and most of the time they are 15-day projects. Then, depending on the season, the job is different. At this time, in spring and summer, small details such as a shower or the exterior parts are worked on. It is logical, the owners want a perfect exterior for sunny days ... in winters the projects are longer, we work more on the interiors. Also, for us this rhythm is more pleasant;)
We see more and more laminates… What about flexiteek?
A.A: Flexiteek is thermo welded plastic. It is very easy to work: measurements are taken and sent to the factory. It is one piece. While, as we said before with teak, we normally work sheet by sheet, therefore, if a corner or a small part is damaged, there is nothing to do, everything must be changed ... it is not like with teak: if a corner It is damaged, only that part is fixed. The big advantage? The waterproofing that the boat will win. Plus, it's zero maintenance! Instead, wood is still a living material ... Another disadvantage? It is a very, very hot material… due to the great absorption of UV rays. The least absorbent material is cork, teak and finally synthetic material, such as flexiteek. Not to mention the less absorbent white slip resistant. With the same quality, synthetic is not cheaper than teak, far from it… afterwards, the advantages and disadvantages of each are often business arguments such as “using synthetic is not cutting down a forest”… Also, flexiteek is a monopoly, so for us professionals there is very little room for negotiation for purchase prices. Finally, other professionals participate, so the budget also increases ... In addition, the guarantee is for us.
And the cork in all that?
AA: Cork is purchased in rolls and there are different thicknesses. It can be in individual blades, although most of the time they put panels together to save time. According to the manufacturer, it will be 90% crushed cork and then polyurethane glue to bring the grains together. In others, it is 50% / 50%. Quality, elasticity and price are not the same… it is like with wine stoppers. Refit projects are case by case. The trends also change. Before, manufacturers allowed the wood to dry before selling it for 2 to 3 years after cutting… Now, it is delivered 3 months after cutting. On the other hand, a teak cockpit table has nothing to do with one in plywood. First, it is not the same price. Afterwards, there will be more deformation with the teak. For each project, a material, a way of working.
How to calculate the budget?
AA: It is an estimate of working hours. Experience helps a lot too… In principle, for two boats of the same shape and size, the work will be similar. Then the labor can also be calculated with the surface, only if the ship is straight. Finally, the bigger the project, the more the budget decreases ...
Thanks Anthony! Finally, a brushstroke of your experience?
AA: I started in Catana, excellent experience. The projects range from the empty hull to the inside of the ship… you participate in all the construction stages: from the technical part to the furniture design part… After 12 years there, I started my own business 8 years ago.