Picture of Faux (fake) cheap teak deck from plywood
In this (my first) instructable i want to tell you about the method i used to create a cheap(er) new decking for my boat, the technique can be used for other uses than decking, it's the actual look and methods used to achieve this look that i'll be documenting.
Any constructive feedback is more than welcome, as said, this is my first instructable and English isn't my native language.

Here in Holland, and probably around the globe, real Teak wood is becoming more and more expensive. For the average boat-owner with a tendency for the DIY (you wouldn't be on instructables otherwise would you?) there are alternatives however!

I first looked at the 'plastic' teak look-a-like, you'll get tons of hits googling for 'fake teak'. This still isn't cheap however, if you do all the measuring and applicating yourself, the price is still nearing the $1000 mark for the surface area shown in this instructable. It does have the distinct advantage of being lower-maintenance than any wood solution, but i feel it lacks that genuine feel you can only get with real wood.

So the obvious choice for me was to see if i could find another solution using just the tools available to me, i ended up using:

- Rotary router
- Routing bits (3 pieces, explained later)
- Power saw
- Sanding paper in different corseness
- Woodworking pencil
- Guide (long ruler or straight piece of wood)
- Tape measure
- Clamps
- Eraser

Apart from the router this should be available to everybody by looking in the garage. Routers aren't cheap, i borrowed mine from my father, and i would advise borrowing a more expensive model rather than buying a cheap one. Cheap routers can be a pain to work with, but it's up to you.

For the materials i ended up using 15mm waterproof plywood. I don't know how to translate this to english, but we call it 'watervast verlijmd multiplex', there are different wood-types available, i choose Ocoume, because it has a very nice wood-grain.

On the next page we'll get into the measuring and drawing part, where it gets interesting!

AlanTeed8 months ago

Beautiful work! Really nice concept and execution. I do have a question. Since I imagine that the routed grooves penetrate the outer layer of the plywood I am wondering how the deck is standing up to weather? I am particularly interested if the grooves have remained waterproof.

respawndespair (author)  AlanTeed8 months ago
Hi Alan,

this was a concern for me as well. I have coated the wood three times with varnish and it holds up really well. It has been on board for two years now, it's not directly exposed to the elements, but it definately got wet and it still looks good.

I would suggest lightly sanding and re-varnishing the wood every 2 years depending on use.

I'll see if i can snap a picture in the coming weeks to show the wear.
kenkaniff3 years ago
I believe in North America, A-B-A Grade Plywood is the only kind that is suitable for marine applications.

Feel free to correct me, anyone.
Number of marine grade Baltic Birch Plywoods are available in the states.
spiderham3 years ago
It looks great, but the grain patterns are a dead giveaway.
respawndespair (author)  spiderham3 years ago
Very true, but after the first 2 rounds of staining the grooves turn a lot darker. On first impression everybody believes it to be separate planks. The grain on ocoume is actually pretty fine, so on first look it's hard to distinguish. But i totally agree it's obvious on closer inspection. Still, i'm very pleased with the end result.
I'm not knocking your work in the slightest bit, I'm especially impressed by your router skills. I used to work for Teakdecking Systems fabricating these floors, so I guess I'm a bit biased against the plywood idea.
respawndespair (author)  spiderham3 years ago
I'm not offended :)
You are absolutely right, if i could afford it i would have gone with real teak, but prices are very very high now. The results are very good looking and for me what matters is that i'm happy with it. I'm sure a lot of boat owners will be happy too with the end result of this method, but real teak is still something beautifull.