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  #1  
Old 08-08-2006
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Gorilla Glue on a boat?

I am trying to repair a 2x2 section of my deck that has delaminated. I drilled several 1" holes underneath the deck (rather than drilling through the top of the deck) to inspect the core. The wood is perfectly dry with no rot. There is a 1/8" gap between the core and the glass on the deck in this 2x2 section. I need to inject something in there to fill the void.

Conventional wisdom says I should inject polyester or epoxy resin. However, I am wondering if a popular urethane glue (Such as Gorilla Glue, sold everywhere in the U.S.) would work better. Here is my though process on the pros and cons:

Resin Pros:
Durable (Hard)
Waterproof
Injectable, but rather thick.

Resin Cons:
Hard to get into every nook and cranny of the delaminated areas (because it's so thick)
Very messy to work with.
Limited Pot time.
Is the substance that let go of the wood core in the first place.


Gorilla Glue Pros:
Durable.
Waterproof.
Easily injectable as it is rather thin.
Expands to fill voids.
Not particularly messy to work with.

Gorilla Glue Cons:
Requires introduction of moisture into wood core in order to activate glue.
Not quite as rigid as resin (IMHO).


The fact that the Gorilla Glue expands (foams up) to fill voids would seem like a major advantage. Anyone care to weigh in on this?

John
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Old 08-08-2006
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John: If it is delaminated, would injecting something into the gap leave your deck uneven?
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Old 08-08-2006
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Thankfully, my boat has solid fiberglass decks under teak. But if I was faced with the repair of a delam balsa core, West System would be my first choice.

http://www.westsystem.com/ewmag/19/Replacing_Core.html
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Old 08-08-2006
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Surf: No, the deck is not mishaped in any way. The glass on top is still quite rigid. When you walk on it, the glass flexes and you can just hear it "tap" the core beneath. When you step off of it, it bounces right back. I think Gorilla Glue would expand to fill the void without pushing up on the glass or changing the shape at all.
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Old 08-08-2006
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Gorilla glue is great stuff and I recommend heartly for bonding wood, and I've used it on many interior components. For rebonding the deck I'd recommend West Sytem epoxy, stiffened with the silica filler where necessary.

To me the big negative with the Gorilla Glue would be the risk that its expansion may result in a hump in the deck surface. A second question would be if it has the hardness of the epoxy and the ability to bond to glass.

The West stuff is very easy to work with, will adhere like no tomorrow (so be careful, especially plan for dripping) and the silica will allow you to make it as thick as you want.

I believe West has some literature for planning deck repairs. I'd inject straight epoxy via their syringes, then compress the area, say with a jack and weights. You can use the thickened stuff to fill any voids and your drill holes.

This stuff is not too expensive (in boat $$), you might want to practice with some sample peices.

Good luck.
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Old 08-08-2006
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The other problem is that Gorilla Glue does expand... and the expansion could possibly lead to further delamination or voids. I'd stick with West System or System Three epoxies for deck repairs. They're proven and well known.

If the deck core is dry, it sounds like your boat had a lamination fault to begin with, and that this is not a delamination problem, but a bonding failure problem. My real question is why is there a 1/8" void in between what should be two layers of laminate. It might be worth doing a bit more investigation to see why there is such a gap.
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Old 08-08-2006
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Based upon the initial description, the 1/8" space exists between the balsa core and the bottom sheet of FRP, as observed through the holes drilled from the interior headliner. I would then suspect that the bottm FRP had deflected away from the balsa and may just need to be compressed from below after injecting West System epoxy. The stuff is not expensive if you're just dealing with a 2' x 2' area.
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Old 08-08-2006
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Sailingdog: I think you have a good point. When I look at the glass that has "delaminated" from the wood, I'm inclined to think it was never attached to the wood in the first place. It's very smooth and clean. It may have been a void present since manufacturing. Perhaps the builder just didn't get enough resin in there and it never bonded at all... perhaps I'm the only owner of this particular boat that has noticed or cared to fix it.

I guess I'll leave the experimentation to someone else and use the resin.

Thanks all.

Last edited by jr438234606; 08-08-2006 at 04:55 PM.
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If the "delaminated wood" is clean and smooth...it is definitely a lamination bonding failure from when it was built, rather than delamination. I'd raise the interior of the deck in that location after injecting the epoxy... it'll make for a lighter and stronger repair IMHO.
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You could build a "T" out of 2x4's cut to the height you know will compress the lower side to the stop. Inject in the West System and place a weight on top. Then stand up the T. This will allow the two layers to bond. (Just an idea but it might work).
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