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post #16 of Old 06-13-2008
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SEMIjim - Yeah, it was me that replaced the bulkhead on my Sabre 38. As an aside, my heart stopped since my last boat was a 1982 Sabre 28. I thought, oh my gawd, what did they do to my boat?! Fortunately, it's not the same, I can tell from the photos.

Ok, here goes.

1. Take a deep breath, it's not as bad as it looks. I had the same situation when we bought Victoria, our 38. The whole job took about 25 hours.
2. Take pictures during deconstruction so that you know where everything goes. Carefully remove all the trim and mark where they go on the reverse side. Save the vinyl hull covering too. Remove the chainplate hardware. If the mast is still up, use a halyard as a temporary stay.
3. Remove the shelving, DO NOT rip it out. You'll use all the plywood as a template. Basically, you'll have to unscrew the mounting cleats from wherever they're attached. Note that Sabre used resorcinol to glue the cleats to the plywood, so you'll have to pry them apart. SAVE THE SCREWS
4. Once the bulkhead is exposed on both sides, you'll need to detach it from the hull. Use a heavy duty cordless drill with a dry wall routing bit (the kind used to cut out receptacle boxes) to cut away the tabbing. I used a single bit, but have a spare ready in case it breaks. This is heavy work so wear hearing protection and a dust mask. Lay the drill parallel to the hull and slip the bit into the tabbing and work from the deck down along the hull. It's slow going, but will work.
5. Extract the bulkhead in as complete a piece as possible. Save all large pieces of plywood.
6. I used Lowe's exterior ply. NOT the nasty underlayment, but the 6 ply stuff. You don't have to worry too much about using marine plywood since YOU WILL keep your chainplates well sealed after this job. You'll probably need teak marine plywood because the bulkhead is exposed (min was in the head and formica covered). There are many sources.
7. Lay the nasty templates on the new plywood and carefully trace the outline. Cut with a jig saw to the line and make clean cuts. The bulkhead side doesn't have to be too fair, but definitely plane the exposed edges smooth. Use a plane and not a file - you'll get a much better job.
8. The hull edge of the bulkhead doesn't have to fit the contour exactly, but should be within a 1/8"-1/4". Tabbing will fix the rest.
9. Lay protective plastic and cardboard everywhere. I should have written this at the beginning, but you'll need it now.
10. Buy West Epoxy and fast set hardener. Buy heavy woven roving (WM Model #: 154013), NOT mat. Cut a continuous strip as long as the hull to bulkhead edge and about 8" wide. You need at least 4" lap on the hull and bulkhead on BOTH sides
10a. Attach the bulkhead to the deck and/or any cabinetry with screws to hold it in place during tabbing.
10b. I should have done this step, but didn't..... Mix West collidial silca filler with epoxy to make a paste and use as a temporary glue to attach the bulkhead to the hull along the hull edge of the bulkhead. Note that you MUST remove the squeeze-out. There can be NO lumps that impeded the roving layup. This is easily accomplished by taking a putty knife and pulling it along the bulkhead/hull edge, removing the excess putty. One pass on each side should do it.
11. Completely saturate the roving while laid flat on the plastic covering on the floor. Use gloves. Pick up an end and quickly transfer to the bulkhead/hull. It will be a dripping mess, so practice first while dry. Roll out with a resin roller. Make sure that there are NO bubbles.
12. Wipe up any excess dripping resin. DO NOT leave the job until the resin sets up. It could be a mess otherwise. Do not overwork the roll out as the resin sets, or it will begin to pull up. Basically just roll it out when you first lay it.
13. Reattach the shelving, etc. You'll probably want to pre-finish the wood with your choice of finish (I used satin urethane). Reattach trim using the legend that you wrote on each piece.
14. Reattach the hardware, redrilling the chainplate holes and SEALING the deck where the chainplates pass through. 3M 4200 works well

I think that I covered everything. I'll post a link in a few hours to photos of my job. It came out great and is SOLID; as good or better than the original.

You can do it if you are reasonably skilled with tools. Take your time. Buy the tools that you need and do not try to save money. Buy the best materials. Be neat, cleaning up after each session. You're already saving a bundle and this isn't the place to save a buck.

Good luck.

Sabre 38 "Victoria"
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