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post #1 of 6 Old 11-28-2011 Thread Starter
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recoring decks

I have a 1965 Bermuda that needs a complete overhaul and I'm starting with my decks to ease the "Cheoy Leaky" bit. She has 1/8" glass top and bottom and a half inch of what used to be some sort of wood, probably balsa?? I do not want to recore with wood, but I do want to add more weight to the bow for structural and overall weight balance purposes. I'm looking for any and all suggestions on materials. I'm planning on cutting up the top layer of glass and completely replacing it (the teak is long gone ) Please! Comments, suggestions, I need all the input I can get before making my decision on what to do. Thanks!
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post #2 of 6 Old 11-28-2011
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I have always thought this guy to have put together the best "how to".

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post #3 of 6 Old 11-30-2011
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I would recore it with balsa, then rebed everything properly with butyl, and maintain it. Your core did not fail because it was balsa, it failed because water was allowed to penetrate to the balsa.

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post #4 of 6 Old 11-30-2011
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My Rx for core replacement ....

Suggestion is to cut the minimum amount of the top FRG layer ... so you can correctly taper (12:1) the replacement FRG layer TO the 'margins' of the old FRG decking. During the demolition process you can leave athwartship 'strips' as temporary 'benchmarks or guides' so that you keep the top deck profile straight and level.
For core removal, I use a circular saw to cut through the 'wood' with enough kerfs to affect loosening them ... followed by the use of an air chisel to make quick work of the core removal. If you 'prefer' to hand chisel out the core, prepare for some agonizing and backbreaking work with a sharp cold chisel and hammer. Then, grind the bottom FRG layer smooth, trying NOT to remove too much so you dont affect the structural integrity of the bottom FRG layer.
New core can be balsa, or Klegecel, etc. applied over an epoxy 'mush' and the vertical joints also 'mushed'.
Do all your 'leveling' for the final FRG layer ON the new core, grind/sand as needed.
Use 'heavy weight' glass cloth to minimize the 'number of layers' applied and overlap the edges onto the beveled 12:1 taper that you ground/sanded on the remnants of the OEM 'top layer' of FRG. Then with a belt sander taper the overlaying new FRG FLAT to create the 'taper' match to what you originally ground/sanded in the OEM deck. 12:1 is needed to restore 'structural integrity' to the top layer of FRG. Use epoxy 'mush' to level the core before applying the final FRG cloth and resin layers. If you get the top surface of the core flat and level, the application of the top FRG layer will go 'smooth' and will require the least amount of 'filling and leveling' with 'mush', etc.

For the final surface consider to use already molded textured 'deck pattern' sheets ... basket weave, or 'stippeled' etc. and apply with epoxy 'mush'.

Spray color matched gel coat, etc. to hide the scars made in the exposed borders of the OEM deck etc. .... you really dont want to 'paint' the margins of the remaining FRG layer. If you plan ahead such spray gelcoat, can be minimized ... so you can use 'self-contained' PREVAL spray bottles for the gel application.

Hope this helps. Major re-coring of a deck is a nasty, back-breaking job.
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post #5 of 6 Old 12-03-2011 Thread Starter
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Thanks for the ideas, always looking for more - a battle of the wits if you would. I do want to clarify that the boat is 20 years older than I am, and sat on the hard for 10 years before I saved her, so the balsa failing is no fault of my own. I could hear the condemnation from here..... I plan eventually to "replace" the original teak decks (long gone now) with a cork composite. Pretty, hardy, easy to upkeep, I love the idea of it. Keep the suggestions rolling in, I'm not quite ready to start yet. Thank you again everyone!
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post #6 of 6 Old 12-22-2011
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I believe balsa to be the best material to use for replacement. If saturated and sealed correctly, it will last longer than it did the first time around. Most manufacturers just did not use enough resin to completely seal all the end grain so when water did get in, it caused rot very quickly. End grain in balsa is situated vertically so that water cannot easily wick through it. Balsa is light, readily available, inexpensive, and proven. West has a good page on doing this. +1 on Rich's statement about it being a nasty job. I found a recip. saw blade or a sheetrock saw is also handy for reaching in between layers and dragging out bits of rotted balsa. While you're at it, you might as well get as much balsa out from under winches, cleats, stantion bases, etc. as you can and replace it with solid glass. Just get some odd pcs. of mat/roving, whatever, wet 'em out and jam in solid under fittings with a long poker.

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