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Seam Caulk Advice

The Captain

Total Posts: 20
Joined: February 13, 2015

Question: I have restored a 1955 18’ Chris Craft Continental and I am having problems with the live seams in the deck. I used 3M 5200 and probably that was not the wisest choice because some of the seam caulk is separating from one side of the plank. I looked at one article that said to use BoatLife white caulk. I am just wondering why a premium grade of Latex with Silicone would not work. It is very flexible, won’t mildew and the silicone will help with adhesion. Deck is fine and has 10 coats of varnish on hull and deck. 5200 bottom and mostly refastened with silicone bronze.

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Posted on February 13, 2015 at 5:16 PM
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The Captain

Total Posts: 20
Joined: February 13, 2015

Re: Seam Caulk Advice

Answer: Silicone caulk is like the plague to a wood boat. The silicone will forever cause fish eyes in all the marine finishes that would be applied as maintenance coats. The use of silicone is never appropriate on a wood boat for any application. That being said, live seams do move and do need to be touched up periodically. We have always used BoatLife for the color, with varnish over it the color looks great with the stained mahogany. The deck seams we always paint as a last stop in the finish process. Chris Craft did use a white caulk, when you varnish the boat the white goes yellow and you end up painting the seams for the bright white look. The 5200 is a tough removal, great product, hard to service, to do a great job we would use a laminate trimmer with a 1/8” bit and remove the live seams freehand, BE CAREFUL, practice on another piece of wood. The 5200 will gum up, a friend with a shop vac as you cut will help. Mask the fill joints with BoatLife, you can seal the joints if you want, use your finger or spoon to make the joint slightly concave, remove the masking immediately. Let the BoatLife dry, sand the deck with 320 or 400 and recoat the decks, 2 coats, stripe the new and old seams and it will look brand new. If the seams are a problem in small areas you can just do small areas with the varnish and buff the repair to blend. Try a small area first.

Posted on February 13, 2015 at 5:16 PM