Intro: Replace Wood Hatch Slides on Sailboat With Composite Decking Material
This old girl in the pictures is around 30 years old with original teak hatch slides and no kind of oil upkeep; now they're cracked, rotten, and nasty looking. I'm not one for doing upkeep myself, I've got a family to manage not details on a boat; so I picked up a solid composite decking board at a big box store for about 11 dollars to replace the old teak and hopefully never have to mess with it. Composite decking is a kind of plastic lumber; it just happens to be the right thickness for this project. I picked grey because that's all my area store had, but natural looking composite board would look good for this repair.
Tools and materials needed:
sander and paper
kitchen and bath caulk
Power tools are used for this project, follow all safety instructions that come with your tools.
Step 1: Remove the Old Pieces
Remove all the old wooden pieces remembering left and rights, this is important for lining up screw holes with the new pieces.
Step 2: Mark and Cut Sizes on Composite Board
Use a pencil to mark the longest pieces first, then figure out how to use the rest of the board most efficiently for the rest of the pieces. Cut the lengths then carefully rip cut all the narrow pieces with a circular saw.
Step 3: Rip the Channels
Mark the depth of the channels needed for the slides and set the depth of the circular saw to that. Stabilize the piece to be cut between other boards and make several rip cuts as shown in the picture. Then use a chisel to break off the remaining material.
Step 4: Sand, Clamp, and Drill
Use a sander to smooth out imperfections from the circular saw and round and edges and corners. Then clamp old pieces onto new pieces to line up holes for drilling. Drill and test fit onto boat. Make any final adjustments.
Step 5: Final Assembly
Use a sealant around screw holes, I used kitchen and bath caulk. Make sure left is left and right is right so the screw holes line up. Tighten everything down and it's done. $11 dollars and a Sunday afternoon of work, this has to be the cheapest successful boat project I've ever done.
Note: I had to countersink the screws in one of the pieces because the original piece was much thinner than the composite board.