Cockpit Teak Replacement

Note:- To view any image in a higher resolution just click on that image.
Also, there are many other photographs on this subject held on file

  The cockpit timber of ADAT was looking very sad, dirty, dry, lifting, damaged and most importantly for a “First Look” beyond repair.   Teak Oil was soaked up and gave little protection only making the timber darker in colour and attracting air bound "dirt".
  With my Partners approval I thought I had the necessary skills to accomplish a replacement.   During our Winter Refit of 2006/7, I proposed to replace all the timber seating in Cockpit with Burmese quarter cut Teak (the genuine article) at 10mm thick and started the planning stage.  Most of the higher quality teak timbers on yachts are 10mm thick but some are just 6mm so I was aiming high.  The design I had in mind was of 40mm wide timber, edged with 57mm and with the 40mm timber in light & dark shades.  This came about after sourcing different planks of timber from a very large specialist Timber Yard.
My first choice of teak was pre-cut but that became far too expensive with much wastage and also didn’t meet my design criteria.  Having taken advice from experts, spent much time planning and designing (measure twice, cut once) I purchased 3 very large Planks of timber at around £300 from a specialist timber merchant and with a Carpenter (ADAT Partner), his workshop at my disposal and some help from colleagues produced more than enough teak for my project.   This took 3 full days and best of all, I managed to keep the final thickness to 11mm (up from 10mm) which actually helped.  Once started the actual manufacture took around 6 weeks to complete mostly in my home garage although I had spent some 6 months in the Planning stage beforehand.   The overall cost comprising Timber, Sealing, Bonding, Tools, Glues, Tapes, etc. totalled around £600 which of course excluded our labour and machinery but of course was a considerable saving.   The degree of satisfaction gained not only by myself but all those who saw the finished product was enormous, one (one of my Partners) was just speechless.   Now that says it all!

Cutting List for 57mm planks

Cutting List for 40mm planks

Original Cockpit Panel Dimensions

Detail Design for Side Seats (Panels 2 & 3)

  I removed the opening storage Locker seats and the Helm seat moving them to my garage at home (heated and with plenty of light) as I could comfortably work on these to completion cutting my teeth on what I thought was to be the right way of undertaking this task.  The old teak was very easily removed from the side seats where I was very surprised to see the teak was of a very poor quality but cleaning of the GRP base easy hence rapid progress and it was these panels that I learnt all my lessons (and shortcuts).   All went very well and the final result even surprised myself.  It completely transformed the Cockpit bearing no resemblance to the old teak.  It was now very modern, clean and something to be very proud of.  Needless to say it looked very good and I was pleased as I thought my Partners would also be pleased.  All I had to do now was complete all the other panels to the same standard.
The helm seat was indeed a different matter in that the 11mm plank was far too thick to bend through the curve of the seat and thus had to be fabricated in another way. The thickness was built up using 3 pieces of timber glued together in a simple Former to achieve the necessary thickness & bend (4mm + 4mm + 3mm). Progress from then onwards followed as the Side seat panels and fortunately ending with the same high finish.

The Cockpit Teak as was in December 2006 showing how dry, dark, split and certainly not worthy of a "First Look"

Removed Side Seat (as was)

Side Seat (cheap design)

Close-up of Side Seat

Side Seat (at home)
with new timbers

Side Seat awaiting filling. Note the attention to detail

Side Seat being filled

Side Seat Overfilled
with Mastic

Side Seats sanded
and awaiting finishing

Close-up of the finished
Side Seat showing more attention to detail

Helm Seat at home and cleaned

Helm Seat’s 3 layers of strips of reduced thickness teak

Helm Seat planks
(4mm + 4mm + 3mm)

Helm Seat Simple Former for shaped final Planks

Helm Seat Periferal Planks

Helm Seat Weights for bonding

Helm Seat infill planks
(in order of shade)

Helm Seat with a special Bond applied (after cleaning the infill pieces of any oils

The Helm seat intermediate timbers in the light & dark shades bonded with Tile spacers for uniformity

Helm Seat Mastic filling

 The Quarter seats being part of the Cockpit itself (as was the Entrance Panel) presented a very different problem in that I had to work in the ambient temperatures over the Winter. We had already erected our Cockpit Tent and flooded the area we were working in with heating but the mastics and bonds required a minimum of 5ºC (preferably 10ºC) overnight to properly cure.   Even the Sika Ltd Technical advisor stated that this work is not undertaken during these conditions however the precautions I took (mainly overnight), flooding the areas with a blanket of heat kept the areas out of danger (a possible remake) and all cured well.  The old timber came off without too much effort but I was very surprised at the amount of debris, dirt and the odd copper rivet under.   Both sides cleaned up well and I was able to complete the panels without too much difficulty.

Helm Seat finished
awaiting treatment

Quarter Seat (as was)

Quarter Seat being removed

Quarter Seat showing accumulated 'dirt'
over the year

Quarter Seat clean and awaiting new planks

As can be seen, this panel was more complicated in construction

Quarter Seat, Heavy weights & heat for curing of Adhesive (in situ)

Quarter Seat, Heavy weights & heat for curing of Adhesive

Applying the Release Tape to every "slot". This ensures each timber strip is firmly adhered to its neighbour and the GRP allowing for any movement

Quarter Seat Mastic filling

Quarter Seat Finished & awaiting treatment

Entrance Panel (the worst) being forcibly removed (destroyed)

Entrance eventually cleaned

Original Design for Entrance Panel

Final Design for Entrance Panel (revised)

Entrance Panel with
planks fitted

Entrance Panel showing ID (shade) stickers

Entrance Panel showing the attention to detail of spacing

Entrance Panel with filling

Entrance panel abraded awaiting sealing. This shows myself adding the final touches with a Finishing sander

  My first design for the Entrance panel was just plain timber in the light and dark shades matching the rest of the Cockpit but I later built in the letter “A” (ADAT) to give it more character (see photo at start of page). The old timbers were by far the worst of all the panels to remove and I had to resort to a Claw hammer and various Chisels.  The dirt under also took some cleaning as if it was forming part of the substructure however all went well with the full application (matching the other panels) and the “A” stood out full of Character.   What a panel to step on to when entering ADAT.
From the photos below you can see the finished product and how the degree of accuracy and dedication has paid off.  All that time in the earlier months discussing every part of the task with experts in this field, even the timber supplier in choosing the right Plank enabling the right final “cut”.   All that detail in what must have looked as quite unnecessary stages had indeed proven the correct and I feel necessary approach to a job well done and to my knowledge, will last many years giving excellent service.  We will see.

Detail of the Entrance Panel

Entrance Panel awaiting treatment and Looking Good

Finished Locker Panels

Finished Locker Panels

The finished product showing the curved Helm seat and Locker Panels

Finished Helm seat and Aft panels

Side Seat, Finished and treated

Quarter Seat, Finished and treated

  The whole project and a few photographs were submitted and published (in a vastly cut down version) in Practical Boat Owner (PBO) of July 2007.  Should you wish for further details or photographs, please E-mail me via the Links section.
  The above photographs are just a few of the many covering this work.    There is also a full write-up covering in detail all the stages.  To have published all of the photos and the full write-up would have made this item far to uninteresting to the casual reader so needless to say it has had to be severely reduced (especially the detail work involved).
I should reiterate that I am not a skilled Carpenter.   I gained the necessary skills for detail through my Engineering background and experiences in making furniture and household items when I couldn’t purchase the quality I wanted at the price I was prepared to pay (or afford).   Those skills then developed and after discussing all matters of this task (and more) I gained the confidence to proceed.   I for one am very pleased with the final outcome.   I should add that I have also undertaken other tasks on ADAT to improve its appearance whilst maintaining it character.

The Helm seat finished, treated just awaiting installation on board