Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bedding Compound

What is the best bedding compound?

I have used Boat Life caulk in its various colors ever since I have owned a sailboat. It does a fine job.  However, I always make a mess and the stuff is a bear to clean up. Boat Life makes a solvent that can be used for cleanup called "Release." It is very good at cleaning up the mess, and also for removal of bedded fittings. However, it is hard to find and expensive.

In surfing the net for the past few weeks getting ready for this restoration, I ran across a number of articles lauding the use of butyl tape (the grey sealer used for mobile homes, campers, and some home applications) as a marine sealant. There are a number of terrific positive testimonials, and a great "how-to" that I found on sailnet, by a great on line tutor, MaineSailor. His bedding how-to is at http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/rebedding_hardware. He has several other tutorials on his site, and all are worth a look if you do your own boat maintenance. Based on my net research, I resolved that I would give butyl tape a try.

I bedded my port chainplates with it. It was a pleasure to work with. I think it will do a good job (above the waterline).

But I got to thinking and second guessing myself, and posted a query to the Norsea Yahoo forum to see if any of the dozens of experienced and helpful folks on there had used butyl tape and had good results. Based on their comments, it seems that Dolfinite is a stronger preference. Dolfinite is a marine bedding compound with a long history of positive results. It appears to have consistency that allows easy cleanup similar to butyl compound, which is a bit like silly putty. It should be a lot less messy to work with than Boat Life.

I ordered a quart of Dolfinite from Jamestown Distributors and it's due in next week. I'm going to use it on the starboard chainplates and compare it to the butyl tape for ease of use. I'll post the results of my comparison.

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