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Old 11-28-2010
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Deck Blisters - Source?

I have a 1968 vintage boat I bought last year. It had zero blisters. It was in serious need of a paint job and this summer I removed all the deck hardware and repainted it. I rebedded the hardware, overboring holes, filling with epoxy and then redrill and bedding with 5300. I now see a few mild deck blisters popping up on the foredeck aft of the bow line cleats and bow pulpit stanchions that I removed/rebedded.

I think the moisture problem is from one of two sources:
1) when I removed the hardware, prior to rebedding and painting, I did not immediately fill the holes, but covered them with tape. I got hit with a couple serious thunderstorms in the interim -- water definitely seeped in under the tape through the holes.

2) perhaps I did not bed the new hardware as well as I thought.

Question: HOw to remedy?

If the problem is #1 as described above, and the moisture is a legacy of a couple downpours that happened months ago and now that the hardware is in place, it is trapped in the deck core and forcing itself out, the problem is probably worse. Can I vent the deck core from the underside? But would it have taken 4 months for this to happend?

If the problme is #2, I can remove and rebed -- althought that will be a PITA (pain in the @ss).

Any suggestions will be appreciated.
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Old 11-28-2010
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I would grind out the blisters and fill with thickened epoxy. I doubt the blisters are due to water getting in from when you were re-bedding the hardware, especially if you potted the holes with thickened epoxy as should have been done. If you didn't pot the holes with thickened epoxy, I would recommend re-bedding the hardware and doing that.

I would point out that 3m 5200 is a horrible material for use on a boat, and has very few legitimate uses—the hull-deck or hull-keel joint being two of the few legitimate uses I can think of. You would have been much better off bedding the hardware with butyl tape.

If you don't know what butyl tape is, I'd recommend you read my primer on marine sealants and Maine Sail's website on bedding deck hardware.

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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