Onne’s New Goose: Sanding the Teak Deck

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Before Onne put the tabernacle for the mast back on his 1986 Grand Banks 32, he hit the teak deck with a sander because the wood under the tabernacle sat proud of the rest of the deck.

In the 35 years since Snow Goose was built, the exposed parts of the deck had been worn down by foot traffic and weather. “The teak deck was tired and in need of some serious attention,” Onne says. “The tabernacle sanding job showed me what beautiful teak it was when they put it on the boat in Singapore.”

Because a lot of the wood had worn down, the black caulking was sitting proud of the teak. “I just felt I could take the caulking down and get a smidgen off the wood and get to the yellow color of the teak,” Onne says. “The teak is very thick on this boat. Probably close to a half an inch.”

Because Onne’s wife, Tenley, wants to get the boat ready in time for Rhode Island’s boating season, she asked Onne what she could do to speed things up. When Onne said sanding, she told him she was “an expert” at that because she’d done plenty of floor sanding in their houses.

Onne gave her the Festool sander with 60 grit sandpaper. The vacuum was rigged to fire up automatically when she started the sander and she got to work. “She did an amazing job,” Onne says. “She did that whole top deck. She worked all day, but by that evening she crashed down on the couch. She was like, ‘Woa. It’s physical.’”

Before he bought the boat, Onne had discussed sanding the deck with boat surveyor Dana Collyer of Marine Safety Consultants, Inc. of Fair Haven, Massachusetts. Collyer told Onne that if the sanding exposed any screwheads, he could take the screws out and not put them back because the deck had been epoxied to the fiberglass and wouldn’t go anywhere without the screws.

That’s exactly what Onne did. When an original plug wasn’t thick, the sander would work right through it and expose the screw. Onne would pick the Phillips head of the screw clean before unscrewing it and then make the bung hole a little deeper so it could accept a new bung.

I wanted to make sure the bung hole had enough meat when I glued the new bung back in,” Onne says.

Onne made the bungs out of a nice piece of teak that he got at one of his favorite stores, Newport Nautical. “Those were offcuts from another project,” Onne says. “It’s beautiful teak.”

He made the plugs on his drill press with a plug cutter. “When you are drilling into the board with your plug cutter,” Onne says, “you want to go in all the way until you feel you’re getting to the max of the plug cutter and then it forms a nice little chamfer to create the taper on the plug.”

Onne quickly figured out that if he put the TotalBoat Thixo epoxy in the bunghole there was nowhere for the bung to go. “When you put the epoxy on the bung, you keep the hole clean and empty and then the bung slides right in,” he says. A couple of taps with a hammer ensured that each bung was in deep enough.

Onne let the bungs dry for 24 hours and cut the tips off with a sharp chisel as close to the deck as he dared. “Obviously, the more I got off with the chisel, the less I had to sand,” Onne says. The remainder of the bungs were sanded down to deck level.

“I was lucky," Onne says. “I don’t think the deck had ever been sanded before. It came out beautifully.”

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