[Deck] Oak in the mahogany

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eamelink
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[Deck] Oak in the mahogany

Post by eamelink »

I thought that a pretty easy way to have a mahogany deck with oak lines on my squirt, is to use 6 or 7 mm mahog plywood, and use a router to make lines, like 2 mm deep, and fill that with oak strips.

Is that a common way?

The good things are, I can apply the decking in one part, and I don't thing the routering is too much work. Also the oak can be fitted in really neat, since my router bit really is 6 millimeter all the way, and of course I can make the oak strips 6 millimeter as well :)

The problems/disadvantages I thought of are:
- What to do with the nails? (I think I'd put em in far enough, and fill with round pieces of mahog)
- No nice multiple-planking mahogany border, instead the pattern is continuous (I think i'd prefer the borders)
- I can mess up the whole deck if my router skills fail me ;)

Do you foresee any other problems? Or is it a nice way?

Another possibility is applying 3mm ply first, then take another 3 millimeter, and router for 1.8 millimeter or so. That way I get rid off the nails, but I still don't have to saw every little plank :)

Problem is, I'm not sure if I can get a whole deck (2nd layer), nicely glued on the first one :)

And of course the third option would be something like 4 millimeter decking first, and then mahogany and oak planks, 2 millimeter. But that would recuire some serious cutting compared to the first two options :)

Any suggestions?

Since I usually decide what I do, when I'm in the shop (I decided to paint my boat red, walking to the polyurethane coat section :P), I'd like to have any suggestions and recommendations :)
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Graham Knight
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Post by Graham Knight »

<What to do with the nails? >

What nails? You don't need any, epoxy and clamps are all you need. Admittedly it's easier to fit the deck using nails, or preferably screws which you can then remove and fill the holes, but then you still have to cover them with something.
The best looking solution is to use Mahogany planks over a 6mm ply base, but if you do that I suggest you use at least 3mm thick planks, 2mm is just too thin to work with and hard to clamp down, you'll almost certainly get ripples. The thicker wood is stiffer, so it's easier to clamp it down with screws and large washers along the edges.
If you want to use a single sheet of Mahogany ply instead, why not save yourself a lot of work and just paint the dark caulking lines on? Once it's varnished it'll look just as good as routing channels and glueing strips in.
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Dave Grason
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Post by Dave Grason »

Or another alternative to painting or routing would be to use a table saw and cut kerfs in the plywood for your feature lines.

I do see one problem with using the plywood in this manner. That is that your kerf should not be the full width that you want to end up with. Your deck will have an arch to it which will open up the kerf lines and possibly make them larger than you want IF you start with the dimension that you want to end up with. If your router bit is 6mm to begin with, your kerf may end up being 8-10mm by the time you get it installed on the deck. If you work with a table saw, you could start with a very thin blade and possible end up with the 6mm kerf that you're looking for.
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eamelink
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Post by eamelink »

Graham Knight wrote:<What to do with the nails? >
The best looking solution is to use Mahogany planks over a 6mm ply base, but if you do that I suggest you use at least 3mm thick planks, 2mm is just too thin to work with and hard to clamp down, you'll almost certainly get ripples. The thicker wood is stiffer, so it's easier to clamp it down with screws and large washers along the edges.
Alright, I'll probably make it three then :)
If you want to use a single sheet of Mahogany ply instead, why not save yourself a lot of work and just paint the dark caulking lines on?
Well, I wanted that for easyness, and I think routering is easyer and faster than cutting all planks :)
Once it's varnished it'll look just as good as routing channels and glueing strips in.
Because it's not real of course! :D It won't be a _really real_ wooden deck that way :)
If your router bit is 6mm to begin with, your kerf may end up being 8-10mm by the time you get it installed on the deck. If you work with a table saw, you could start with a very thin blade and possible end up with the 6mm kerf that you're looking for.
Yeah, I've thought of that as well. But I doubt it will be more than 6,5 or 7 millimeter if I start with 6 millimeter. I could make the strips a little wider and sand or fair them in place, or I could router when the planking is on, with the risk of ruining the whole deck, but at leas the 6 millimeter would stay 6 :)

I must say my feelings are going towards planking ;)
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Post by DavidMcA »

Planking is a lot of work, but I think its worth it. If you're gonna put so much effort into routing or painting etc, why not go the whole way and plank the sucker? With plywood you don't have much margin for error because once you sand through the first ply, you can't fix it back the way it was! And if you're messy with the glue when you're gluing in the caulking strips (like me), then you'll have quite a bit of sanding to do.
Staples work well for clamping the boards that you can't do with screws and washers or clamps. The staple holes nearly all close up by themselves once you remove them and soak the wood with water. It took 300 screw-washer clamps to do the entire deck, although I didn't do it all in one go of course.
Another advantage of using solid wood is that in a few years time if the finish gets really bad, you can sand it back to the bare wood and get a perfect finish again.
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Dave Grason
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Post by Dave Grason »

Yes, I absolutely agree with you, David. I'm swinging toward planking, too. It seems to me that the potential for an unrepairable error with plywood is just not worth the risk to try and save labor on the front end. I know that there are those guys out there that are using plywood in this manner and getting superb results with it, but they've also been doing it for many years and got their learning curves behind them.

Chris Craft, Garwood, Shepherd, The Dodge Brothers - none of those boat companies used plywood. They planked each and every boat.
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Post by Graham Knight »

I think you only need to look at the customer photos, solid planking over a ply base just looks so much better, especially if you do the margin planks too. The variations in grain betwen the planks (mix them up, turn them round, flip them over) just look great when it's all varnished, if you take care to conceal all the edges with solid wood strips folks will believe it's real solid planking!
Take a tip and buy yourself a random orbit sander to sand it all down prior to varnishing, it takes minutes with this tool and you don't get the "swirlies" that you do with an orbital. My sander was really cheap, but still did the job very well.
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Post by DavidMcA »

The random orbit sander is also brilliant for sanding down primer coats of paint....it saved a LOT of elbow grease. I used a Bosch GEX 150.
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Post by Dave Grason »

Graham Knight wrote:Take a tip and buy yourself a random orbit sander to sand it all down prior to varnishing, it takes minutes with this tool and you don't get the "swirlies" that you do with an orbital.
Yes, these are GREAT!

Here's one more tip. Do NOT let anyone touch your work with their bare hands before you stain the wood. The body oils from their hands will leave an invisible place that will not make itself manifest until the stain goes on. Then you'll have these mysterious hand and finger prints that you'll have to live with unless you stop everything you're doing at that point and correct the problems by sanding further. That means you'll need to hurry before your stain on the rest of the wood dries. You need to keep a wet edge as you stain so work fast. Lay your staining rags and brushes down, sand as fast as you can and get back to staining quickly. As you're sanding prior to stain, you'll probably not be guilty of doing this because your own hands will be covered in sawdust. That will prevent your hands from leaving body oils. If your friends insist on touching the work, have them get sawdust all over their hands first.
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Post by eamelink »

Graham Knight wrote:Take a tip and buy yourself a random orbit sander to sand it all down prior to varnishing, it takes minutes with this tool and you don't get the "swirlies" that you do with an orbital. My sander was really cheap, but still did the job very well.
My dad happens to have a random orbit sander, a normal sander, a triangular sander and a belt sander. Together with the disc sander I inherited from my granddad, I can sand _anything_ :P

I used the r.o. sander for sanding my epoxy coating smooth. That worked out nice :)
Here's one more tip. Do NOT let anyone touch your work with their bare hands before you stain the wood.
Alright, I'll remember that :). I'm not really sure if I'm going to stain the wood at all...

If so, I presume I should stain the wood after glueing the mahogany planks on the deck, and before applying the oak strips?
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Post by Dave Grason »

eamelink wrote: If so, I presume I should stain the wood after glueing the mahogany planks on the deck, and before applying the oak strips?
Yes, that's the way I would do it. But you may (or you may not) want to tone the oak down a little. When I worked in the flooring biz for so many years, virtually all of the red oak and sometimes the white oak would look harsh and very bright (too bright really) if we didn't stain it somewhat. So when a customer wanted a "natural" finish, we used Minwax Natural. It's more of a linseed oil based stain and doesn't actually have any coloring agent in it. But it gave the oak a nice honey colored tone to it and always looked beautiful. But you should take some scraps of oak and experiment with different combinations. Better yet, do what I do and take one big peice of oak scrap and stain several areas on the same board so that you can see comparisons side by side.

But then, that throws yet another wrench in the works. If you use an oil based stain, you'll need to sand over it enough to scuff it one time if you plan on fiberglassing over with epoxy and cloth. Otherwise there will be adhesion problems. This isn't necessary with water based stains but in my opinion, water based stains lack the warmth and glow of a good oil based stain. They're good but they're not GREAT! But that's just me.

On my boat, I do not plan on fiberglassing the deck. I'll be using an oil based stain and then going over that with 2-3 coats of CPES from Smith & Co. Then I'm going to use Smith & Co's "5 Year Clear" as a varnish. Personally, when using a deck cloth over bright finished mahogany, I feel that some of the grain definition is lost and appears slightly cloudy. It looks good in photos or from a distance, but when you get really up close, you can see the difference. The CPES will lock in the stain, is perfectly compatible with oil based stains and will give an excellent base for varnish. The CPES will NOT dissolve the stain either, so there is no worry about getting a good stain color and coverage and then messing it up with the CPES. Finally, the CPES will give the wood a level of rot restistance unheard of in the past. This boat will no doubt last for 50 years or more with care.

BTW, for those that aren't familiar with CPES, it stands for "Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer." It has a mix ration of 50/50 and pot life is way long. So there's no hurry to apply it quickly before it kicks. It's very thin and absorbs into the wood through capillary action instead of encapsulating the wood as do the more conventional epoxies. It's not as temperature sensitive, either, so it can be applied in both warmer and cooler weather than conventional epoxies. It has become the epoxy of choice among the top restorers of old wooden boats because it finds areas of abnormal porousity in old wood and completely seals it up thereby preventing rot spores from activating. Any rot spores already present are also sealed off from air and water. The one main trade off in all of this is that CPES will NOT act as an adhesive. For that, you'll need to use conventional epoxies or 3M 5200.
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Post by Graham Knight »

Wow, that's a BRIGHT red! That's the kind of red you don't want to wake up to with a hangover, they'll certainly see you coming for miles!
Remind me what kind of paint you used, and how you applied it?
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Post by eamelink »

Dave Grason wrote:
eamelink wrote: If so, I presume I should stain the wood after glueing the mahogany planks on the deck, and before applying the oak strips?
Yes, that's the way I would do it. But you may (or you may not) want to tone the oak down a little. When I worked in the flooring biz for so many years, virtually all of the red oak and sometimes the white oak would look harsh and very bright (too bright really) if we didn't stain it somewhat. So when a customer wanted a "natural" finish, we used Minwax Natural. It's more of a linseed oil based stain and doesn't actually have any coloring agent in it. But it gave the oak a nice honey colored tone to it and always looked beautiful. But you should take some scraps of oak and experiment with different combinations. Better yet, do what I do and take one big peice of oak scrap and stain several areas on the same board so that you can see comparisons side by side.
I'm going to find myself a nice piece of oak tomorrow, so I'll definately try some staining. However I don't have stains here, so tough trying... :)
But then, that throws yet another wrench in the works. If you use an oil based stain, you'll need to sand over it enough to scuff it one time if you plan on fiberglassing over with epoxy and cloth. Otherwise there will be adhesion problems. This isn't necessary with water based stains but in my opinion, water based stains lack the warmth and glow of a good oil based stain. They're good but they're not GREAT! But that's just me.
The store where I buy my epoxy has this stuff :
Naast dekkende pigmentpasta’s bestaan er ook transparante epoxy-pigmentpasta’s in hout tinten. Gemengd door epoxy kan hiermee op hout een beitseffect worden verkregen...(cut)... Leverbaar in de kleuren eiken, teak en mahonie. Van deze pigmentpasta behoeft slechts 1 tot 3% te worden bijgemengd.
That means something like:
We also have transparent epoxy-additives in wood colours. Mixed with epoxy you can get a stain-effect.... (cut)... Available colours are oak, teak and mahogany. Only 1 to 3% is needed.
I'll go there tomorrow and see if they have examples of it. The good things is that's definately compatible with epoxy :).
On my boat, I do not plan on fiberglassing the deck.
Well, just today I was reconsidering my fiberglassing thoughts. I'm not sure if it's needed, and I'm also worried about the edges; what to do with them?? I might skip the fiber as well. After all, I'll kick anybody off the boat who dares to stand on my nead deck :P
I'll be using an oil based stain and then going over that with 2-3 coats of CPES from Smith & Co. Then I'm going to use Smith & Co's "5 Year Clear" as a varnish. Personally, when using a deck cloth over bright finished mahogany, I feel that some of the grain definition is lost and appears slightly cloudy. It looks good in photos or from a distance, but when you get really up close, you can see the difference. The CPES will lock in the stain, is perfectly compatible with oil based stains and will give an excellent base for varnish. The CPES will NOT dissolve the stain either, so there is no worry about getting a good stain color and coverage and then messing it up with the CPES. Finally, the CPES will give the wood a level of rot restistance unheard of in the past. This boat will no doubt last for 50 years or more with care.
The shop also has "Poly Pox Injecteer". That's a very thin epoxy as well, also meant for being sucked into the wood (it's usually used as a primer before normal epoxy). I'll ask them if it's compatible with oil-based stains.

Wow, that's a BRIGHT red! That's the kind of red you don't want to wake up to with a hangover, they'll certainly see you coming for miles!
Remind me what kind of paint you used, and how you applied it?
I know it's very red, but the "bordeau-red" was sort of brown, and ugly. So I took the risk, while I was driving home I thought I'd made a mistake taking this paint, but after applying I loved it :).

It's a two component polyurethane coat, called "DD lak" (DD coat), here :)

http://www.polyservice.nl/ <-- The shop, they only sell polyester, epoxy, polyurethane, glassfibres and any needed to apply that stuff :) And it's just a 20 minutes drive :)
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