Caulking, Sealing, Filling and Painting Seams

Many of our boats still sport their (sometime original) traditional, usually double-planked bottoms. An inner skin is laid in on the diagonal, while the outer planks run lengthwise. An oiled canvas material, or plastic in the case of Penn Yan Striptite hulls, may be laid between the two skins.

Such hulls require soaking in to swell the bottom planking sufficiently that water infiltration shrinks to a minor nuisance.

All such bottoms must be stripped to bare wood and refastened where needed using silicon bronze screws, not stainless steel.

Sealing that raw wood with multiple coats – at least three – of Smith’s Clear penetrating Epoxy Sealer (CPES) is an absolute must. Doing so reduces the wood’s ability to absorb water dramatically.

We’ve seen and anguished over way too many bottoms where 3M5200 was forced into the plank seams in a misguided attempt at caulking them.

Cured 3M5200 is dense and inflexible. It cannot compress as the neighboring planks swell, so the wood is compressed and even damaged beyond repair in the process.

This section introduces you to alternatives that provide a caulking action while not threatening the bottom planking.

1954 penn yan captivator bottom sealing

1954 Penn Yan Captivator Aristocrat Bottom Paint Preservation

Captivator’s bottom challenged us in so many ways. Save for fewer than a dozen, the ...
View & Read More
1954 penn yan captivator transom bottom preservation

1954 Penn Yan Captivator Aristocrat Transom Bottom Preservation

Penn Yan Striptite hulls’ below-waterline plank seams are notoriously difficult to render watertight. We have ...
View & Read More
1954 penn yan captivator seal seams

1954 Penn Yan Captivator: How to Seal Bottom Seams using Thixo Flex

Sorry about the behemoth compressor firing up in the “background.” With five preservation projects fully ...
View & Read More
1938 chris craft sealing bottom plank seams

1938 Chris Craft Runabout Special: How to Seal Bottom Plank Seams

We continue racing against the March 21, 2017, deadline, the day I begin towing my ...
View & Read More
1942 century imperial sportsman 3m5200 not seam filler

1942 Century Imperial Sportsman: Why Filling Seams with 3M5200 Is Forbidden

This morning’s 1942 Century Imperial Sportsman preservation project update is a plea, “Please, please do ...
View & Read More
1952 chris craft how we fill deck seams

1952 Chris Craft Riviera How We Fill Deck Seams

As one of my guys loves to say, “She’s coming into it now.” The 1952 ...
View & Read More
vintage boat caulk seams cotton roving

How to Caulk Seams With Cotton Roving – Palmer Launch Roxanne

Carvel planked construction leaves spaces in the seams between the planks that are traditionally caulked ...
View & Read More