REFIT: woodwork

For this second paper dedicated to refit, we are speaking about woodwork – the first was around the painting -> read here -. We interviewed Anthony Avezard, professional for more than 20 years in the teak, now on board on his own company Bois & Boat.
What we have to do to apply teak to a new gelcoat surface?
Anthony Avezard: The first step is sanding and degreasing to obtain a totally smooth surface. Then, we take the measurements and we manufacture in the workshop. We always prefer to work on several panels, and not with one, it’s easier for several reasons. First, the transport of a single panel can be complicated. Moreover if imperfections occur, it will be necessary to make a total intervention. Finally, we stick and we respect the drying time before sanding. This is the final step for a perfect rendering.
Respecting the drying time … Can it take a lot of time? Different depending on the weather?
A. A .: Indeed, between summer and winter the drying time can vary from 10 days. Under 8 degrees, it’s impossible to stick. When it’s hot and especially if we are working with a thin teak, in 24H it can be dry!
The thickness of teak, what are the tips?
A. A .: It’s good to work with a teak with a minimum thickness of 6 millimeters; after, according to the project and the preferences, we can go up to 20 millimeters. It also depends on the kind of the wood blade.
Are there different qualities of teak?
A. A .: Totally.
The biggest difference we find it between teak from Asia and Africa. This last one, no one works with it. Very often green, ie, from plantation, the cost is three times cheaper. In Asia, there is Burmese teak, the best, it’s fat, dense …; then the Laotian, a super quality too.
Depending on the quality and the part of the teak, the price can double. The client will obviously feel this difference. The heart, for example, always costs more. After, it’s possible to find teak 5 or 8 times less expensive … As we will often find on large retail, even where we can find eucalyptus stained teak.
How to recognize the true from the fake?
A. A: The teak is heavy and it will always keep a greasy touch, there is always a film remaining on the fingers. Visually, we see that with time .. the false one crack, dry. Then finally, the price. A Lamborghini will never be at the same price as a Dacia.
And plywood in all this?
A. A .: Sessa and Sunseeker, among others, have plywood backing with a 3-millimeter teak veneer on the backside of the outdoors. They still have the name of teak, because you got it from a milimeter thickness.
Similarly for joints, there are different qualities. Some may be sanded more times than others. The same goes for glue, which plays a very important role.
That’s why teak is a very wide and very specialized area.
It’s essential to take everything into account. For example, on a sailboat, given the design, the installation of teak is blade by blade. A yacht, on the other hand, is straight, so there are fewer cuts. The more rounded, the more wood falls, the more time of work .. and all of this has a cost. So for the same area, the quote can double.
What is the right maintenance? What are the wrong things? The Karcher, for example?
A. A .: For the Karcher, it all depends on the method of application “better to be too far than enough” and especially the force. With a karcher of high power, it’s easier to fluff wood fiber.
The best solution? Water with a soft bristle brush with a degreaser product. The old methods such as salt water are very good too. Generally, it will take more time because aggression is less direct but the result is just as good, as sodium percarbonate, or even oxalic acid. Very effective and natural, with this one, you have to be careful with rubber seals that do not resist. With this type of product, one of the really important things is to know how to prepare the product for use! These aren’t industrial products for direct application … Sodium percarbonate, for example, it must be dissolved in water at a certain temperature.
The other advantage of Grandma’s recipes? In industrial products, it’s impossible to know what is really on it. The percarbonate, it’s chalk ..
When to deal with grey spot?
A. A .: At the beginning and at the end of the season. Everything depends also on the awning, whether it hides totally or partially from the sun. Also depending on if there is wintering or not of the boat.
Speaking about maintenance, what to do with a grease stain .. such as after cutting off some saussison on the table? (lol)
A. A .: Nothing better than the K2r bomb or spray or the “terre de sommières”. These products remove the stain and tannin of the wood .. so, be careful once again! It’s necessary to remove the task as quickly as possible, wait for it to foam then to rinse as soon as it dries. The cleaning with the “terre de sommières”, being a product less aggressive, will take more time.
Varnish or not varnished?
A. A .: I prefer saturators. These products keep the visual appearance of the wood on a short period. Indeed, it isn’t possible to apply a product and claim that it will last a year.
This is the option at the beginning of the season. After, the advantage of the saturator is that it’s possible to stop it at any time.
Varnishes or others products create a thin film. It’s for this reason that with time they flake. The saturator removes very slowly, like tanning. Then, a polished teak that flakes it’s enough to sand it to recover it.
The varnish is most often applied on the handrails. A varnished floor we will find it on the Riva … where they apply 30 layers of vanish. There we come in socks! It’s exceptional to a Riva. Usually, we apply three layers with a guaranty of three to four years, it’s not huge …
Is the maintenance the same for outdoor woodwork?
A. A .: The horizontal ages faster than the vertical. A horizontal surface takes more UV radiation, the same happen with less protected parts.
How long is it necessary to equalize the rendering of a new teak in front of an old one?
A. A .: In the spring, it can take two to three months, much less in the summer. Obviously, it will take more at winter.
What can be green stain on teak?
A. A .: It’s moisture, stagnant water. If it penetrates the wood, it becomes black … as for all, the teak requires maintenance, annual as daily.
What should we do with the maintenance of the joint?
A. A .: Nothing! If there are stains on joints it’s a manufacturing defect … according to the brand. It’s not a question of seniority.
After, some stains may appear as a result of the application of a product, such as paint solvents. Although everything will also depend on the quality of the joints and the manufacture … Some joints last 20 years, others 5 years. The solution facing a damaged joint is to change it. However, this can only be done on a thick teak surface.
How do you proceed when applying new teak on top of another one?
A.A.: It depends on what’s underneath and it’s very complicated to see it .. it can be perceived if there are some flexibility in some places, but usually as long as the teak isn’t removed it’s impossible to know what’s underneath and in what state. The plywood is damaged 10 times faster than the teak so if the structure is made of plywood under 2 cm of teak it isn’t only this one that must be changed, it’s also the structure . It’s delicate … And that’s why it’s important to ask what are the steps taken into the quote to avoid surprises.
For interiors,  is it teak?
A. A .: Usually it isn’t teak, it’s more like laminate. It can also be vinyl, coconut or synthetic fibers. These materials allow a modern effect.
At the past, the interiors boat were made of wood. Now, for the cost and the maintenance, we usually use these materials. To damage a laminate, you really have to want it! The trend is changing … As in the near future, there will surely be no more carpets in the cabins.
For indoor furniture, what type of material is it?
A. A .: It is mostly plywood. The top can be in cherry, in American oak, in aspect teak … in any wood! There is more and more laminate too. It’s even used the painting for a metal effect … The used wood, really depends on the range of the boat.
The glossy varnished woods are still outdated. More and more boats, out of a total refit show raw material, it’s more trendy. On a partial refit, it must adapt to the materials present to not denaturalize the space.
The craziest project?
A. A .: The craziest? Working on a charter catamaran with 5 cabins and 5 bathrooms moving it on an owner version with 2 cabins, a bathroom, a dressing room and a library. It was 6 complete months on this catamaran of 65 feet.
The longest? A Princess V65, for a total outdoor refit of teaks.
The most common project are about teak and take most of the time 15-day projects. Then, depending on the season, the work is different. Right now, during spring and summer, it’s a lot about exteriors and small details. It’s logical, owners want a nice boat especially outdoors for sunny days … during the winter the project can be longuer and it’s more about indoors. For us, it’s more pleasant this rhythm;)
We see more and more laminate … what about the flexiteek?
A. A: Flexiteek is welded termo plastic. It’s easy to work with: we take the measures and we send it to produce at the manufacture. It’s a single piece. While as we said before with teak we normally work blade by blade.
Thus, if a corner or a small part is damaged, there is nothing to do, it must change everything .. it’s not like with teak where there, if a corner is damaged, just change the blades in question.
The big advantage? The impermeability that will win the boat. Then zero maintenance! In contrary, wood remains a living material …
Another disadvantage? It is a very, very hot material … because of the big absorption of UV. The least absorbent material is cork, teak and finally synthetic like flexiteek. Not to mention the white anti-slip that absorbs the least.
At equal quality, synthetic is not cheaper than teak, far from it … after, the advantages and disadvantages of each are often commercial arguments such as “using synthetic you don’t cut down a forest “… Also, the flexiteek is a monopoly so for us there is almost no range for negotiation on purchase prices.
Finally, we involve other profesionals so the quote goes up … Plus, the guarantee is for us.
What happen with the cork?
A. A .: The cork is bought in rolls, there are different thicknesses. It can be in individual blades although most often they assemble panels to save time.
According to the manufacturer, it will be 90% crushed cork and then polyurethane glue to assemble the grains. In others, it is 50%/50%.
The quality, the elasticity and the price are not the same … it’s like for the wine stoppers;)
Refit projects are case by case. The trends change too.
Before, the manufacturers were drying the wood before selling it during 2 to 3 years after the cut … now, you can have a delivery 3 months after the cut.
On the other hand, it’s different a table made with teak than with plywood. First, it’s not the same price. Then the advantage of plywood is that there will be less deformation. For each project, one material, on way to work.
How to calculate the quote?
A. A .: It’s an estimation of working hours. Then the experience helps a lot… For two boats of the same shape and size, the work should be the same.
Then, the labor can also be calculated on the footage, only if the boat is straight.
Finally, bigger is the project, the more the price decreases …
Thank you Anthony! Before leaving, what about your experience?
A. A .: I started at Catana, a very good experience. The projects go from the empty hull to the inside of the boat … you participate in all stages of construction: from the technical part to the design part of the furniture … After 12 years there, I started my own business 8 years ago.

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