Traditional Oakum Caulking
Traditional Oakum Caulking is made from twisted jute fibre and is used for caulking, sealing, and packing different types of joints, and voids in the traditional building, log home, marine, equestrian, plumbing, and modern construction industries.
Before modern chemical sealants, oakum was the original caulking. The use of oakum in all these different ways comes from a long tradition where there was virtually no distinction made between materials used for building ships and materials used for building on land, and so many other uses. In fact, it was common for old ships to be decommissioned, taken apart, and the useful materials applied to buildings on land. Nothing was ever wasted.
In the past, oakum was made by picking apart old marine ropes made from hemp or other natural fibres that were no longer useful on ships. It was, then, loosely twisted into cords and used as a crack filler and sealant material. Today it is made much more consistently by industrial processes.
- Traditional building. Pack between the frame and the building opening as a sealant or gasket. A brick mould or a mortar can be applied over top to finish the joint.
- Log Building. Pack oakum between the logs of a log structure as a backer material before a traditional lime-based chinking mortar is applied over top.
- Marine. Use for sealing joints between wooden deck boards and ship lapping on a wooden hull. Pound the oakum into the joints using a Caulking Iron and a Rawhide Hammer, and it is then soaked with Linseed Oil and/or hot Pine Tar. This provides a very effective seal against water ingress and remains flexible even in harsh marine conditions.
- Equestrian. Use as hoof packing for horses. Finish dressing the hooves with Pine Tar.
- Plumbing. Use as a gasket for cast iron drains.
- Modern construction. Caulk concrete joints with a soft gasket of oakum to to shed water and debris without any hard stress points that may lead to cracks in the concrete.
Traditional Oakum Caulking is available in two formats:
- Project Pack. Contains 7 or 8 strands of oakum, each about 10-feet long. Each strand is about 1-inch thick. Approximately 4-5 Lbs of oakum.
- Bulk pack. Contains one large coil of 7 or 8 strands of oakum, about 100-feet long. Each strand is about 1-inch thick. Approximately 45-50 Lbs of oakum.
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