Westsail Owners Alliance - Thread: "Teak Lazarette Hatch Cover Rebuild"
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Thread: "Teak Lazarette Hatch Cover Rebuild"

12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012


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Teak Lazarette Hatch Cover Rebuild

Randell 'Randy' Kocurek

1974 W32 has a teak hatch cover 2ft. x. 2 ft. over the lazarette. A couple of the strips of teak have come off but are salved. These are a full 1/4" thick and have at least one edge slightly routed to accept caulk. The teak strips appear to be attached with tiny dowels under bungs. Could that be correct? There appears to be plywood of 1/4" to 3/8" (rough guess) below the teak strips. The plywood is very slightly rotted along one edge, albeit quite minor really. It is allowing water ingress but a minor amount (tarp protects it).
There are cross braces under the plywood holding the plywood. The braces appear to be in excellent condition, as does the teak frame.

My thoughts are to label all, remove the teak strips, clean scrub and strip all, somehow cut out the plywood, replace it with a good marine grade plywood, and caulk caulk caulk and glue glue glue with Resorcinol after using a teak primer.

Another thought I had was to possibly use the old plywood, braces, etc... as a form to wrap with fiberglass and make a fiberglass waterproof structure and then somehow fit the old teak strips into the top of that, sort of a cosmetic detail.

Do you have any suggestions on how to rebuild this hatch?

Bud Taplin

Randy, I will email you a copy of the construction of the lazarette hatch from the Westsail factory construction manual.

To rebuild your existing hatch, I would recommend removing all of the teak strips, and if the plywood is only soft in a few areas, then clean it up and seal it with epoxy resin. Clean up the teak strips, cut the caulking grooves a little deeper, and replace the strips onto the hatch in a bed of caulking. No need to use any screws. Plug the holes with teak bungs, and caulk the seams. That should hold the hatch for a few more years.

Otherwise, bite the bullet and build a new one.

Randell 'Randy' Kocurek

Thanks, Bud,
A few more years sounds fine to me.
I can't believe you. You're so incredible.
I'll do exactly as you say and let you know how it goes. We could be sailing soon.
If the refurbhished hatch should fail while cruising, I have a plan B to cover it with painted canvas, just like the big boys do or used to do with their hatches on the ships.

Randell 'Randy' Kocurek

thanks for the schematics of the hatch. I feel that I am way ahead of where I would have been shooting from the hip and tearing up stuff I really did not understand and doing it in the hot Texas summer.
Therefore, instead of stepping out of the air conditioning, I'll enjoy a nice glass of wine and contemplate my good fortune in having chosen a Westsail.
Life is good.

Randell 'Randy' Kocurek

I just left a note on the "in the yard column".
The lazarette hatch appears to have been rebuilt twice in the style you recommended yesterday. I find two layers of plywood with patches of epoxy resin here and there, now that the strips are off and the frame cleaned up and drying. The teak strips are down to 1/4" depth and there is really no groove for cauking.
I thought the thing was kind of heavy.
The frame is in good shape. The plywood 90% solid but there are two layers of it. I think it would be be easy to remove the plywood.
Do you have anyone that could rebuild to the original specs or close and if so what sort of costs would we be looking at? What about just fabricating the strips? Ha ha, just thought of that.
I have a teak supply near me, and with some woodwork (probably hired out planing, routing and such), should be able to get new strips fabricated.
Any idea if there was teak plywood on the boat? Looks like it could be. If so, do you have any idea where I might get some? Is there another alternative like just plain old marine grade plywood with some good paint on it?
I have to admit that my level of enthusiasm for perfection has been diminished a little.
Thanks for all.

Randell 'Randy' Kocurek

Sorry to be a pain, (again :-) ), Bud, but I was unable to read the details regarding the teak strips on the data sheet you emailed me.
My teach hatch frame appears to have 1/2" clearance from the bottom of the plywood to the top of the frame. I cannot tell from the drawings whether that is correct or whether the 1/2" is supposed to be from the top of the plywood to the top of the frame.
My thoughts are that I have 1/2" clearance to accept a 1/8" sheet of plywood, plus 3/8" clearance for teak strips and caulk.
Does that sound right to you?

Don Montgomery and Lana Nelson


I have a hatch cover that is in fair to good condition. I would part with it for a very resonable amount. Any interest? Pics of it are on my blog.



Bud Taplin

Randy, On my copy of the manual it appears that the teak strips are 3/16" thick, and there is a 1/4" piece of plywood under it. Total 7/16".

Randell 'Randy' Kocurek

Ah, thank you so much Bud. I was way off on alot of fronts. If I refurbish, I'll depend on the plywood for most of the structural integrity, and assume the teak strips are mostly cosmetic.

Randell 'Randy' Kocurek

Don, I may be interested in your hatch cover, but could not locate your blog and am not sure your email link will get to you. If you could direct me to your pics I'd sure appreciate it. Thanks.

Ken and Debra Bridger

Randy, go to Member's Sites, go down about 5- Called a Salty State of Mind Mary Rose, I read it often. Also another idea, Look on the first boat on your dock on your right coming on (Gary's blue Morgan 38). He did away with strips and used a solid peice of material. Got rid of his problems of leaking. Ken

Randell 'Randy' Kocurek

Thanks to all of you.
I just found some 1/4" teak marine plywood a mile from my front door. So, looks like I'll be rebuilding the old hatch for $50.
Nice hatch you have there, Don. Thanks for the offer. I may still need it should my efforts fail.

Bud Taplin

Randy, Remember that teak plywood has only a very thin veneer of teak on the surface. If it is exposed outdoors and not protected or covered, it will soon crack and bubble up.

Not too good an idea to use teak plywood on exterior surfaces, especially horizontal ones exposed to the hot sun.

Randell 'Randy' Kocurek

The new line on teak did not work out. So, I cleaned up the old strips for possible re-use.
Also, I opted out of teak plywood and went with Lloyd's approved marine plywood.
I cleaned up the old teak strips today. Some had epoxy on edges, old caulk on edges, etc.... That leaves about 1/2" of lagniape in the strips set side by side in their 23 3/8" setting area.
Do the strips need to be touching side by side when they are screwed and glued? If I equally space out the 13 strips I'll probably have 1/8" space between each of them before the caulk grooves are recut.
Should I just buy new teak and start anew on the strips? I have another teak supplier lined up.
Thanks in advance.

Bud Taplin

Randy, Just space them accordingly. The seam caulking will fill up the seam with no problem. Actually, I would recommend not screwing the strips down. Set them in a bed of caulking. Of course, you will never be able to get them up again, but so what. If you use SIS 440 caulking, you will be a very, very, very old man before someone else has to make a new hatch.

Frank and Melanie Scalfano

I redid my hatch before this thread got started, and I bedded the strips in thickened epoxy. After I got done and varnished the whole thing, I think it is more plastic than wood, but at least it is solid and waterproof.

Randell 'Randy' Kocurek

Hey, Thanks for the advice.
I have been stalling around the house hoping for input. You always come through. At least I got some boulliabase out of the day and watermelon wine.
Never heard of SIS 440 caulking but will do.
Frank, the thickened expoxy idea sounds fine, but I just removed what must have been at least 7 pounds of expoxy.
The hatch is very much lighter, and, I feel confident, will be stronger and much more waterproof when done.

Randell 'Randy' Kocurek

Oh, Bud, and I will be most happy to not screw those teak strips down. Thanks.
That is actually what a full boatyard carpenter recommended last year.

Randell 'Randy' Kocurek

Just for the benefit of future hatch rebuilders:
Since doing some research, for me, as a woodworker with some experience, I will probably go with the Resorcinol glue to glue the old teak strips to new plywood substructure (the newly sanded teak strips to new marine plywood surface), and SIS 440 caulk for seams of teak strips.
The prior owners had repaired quite successfully with epoxy which after whoknowshowlong held even as I was breaking the old mahogany plywood out of the frame (with some sweat and equipment, by the way). I actually had to give up on the remnants of the epoxy on the frame and hit it for a good while with a heavy duty grinder/sander.
If I were not very confident in my woodwork, I would most likely use the West system epoxy as a glue to joining teak to plywood or a great caulk like the SIS 440.

Randell 'Randy' Kocurek

Okay, Bud, you win!
An hour or so ago, I posted a message about all my great research efforts, woodworking, la de dah. I was wrong.
The Resorcinol glue let me down, not bad, but we can do better. I was just adding some stringers to the underside of the plywood subdeck, and put a little too much pressure from a "scrugun" on the plywood in one tiny corner from the underside and, amazingly, it parted for an inch or so each side of the corner. I was shocked, perfect drying conditions for 3 days.
Now, the teak frame was freshly sanded, wiped well with acetone, dried a half hour and then the well inducted glue was applied and the plywood subdeck was glued and clamped (well, using about 30 lbs of bricks and tool box, really). Anyway, the bond felt more brittle than I expected.
I look forward with renewed interest and zeal to the 440 caulk you are sending me.
Lesson learned: Bud knows best.

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