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post #1 of 22 Old 12-05-2006 Thread Starter
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finishing interior plywood

All of the interior, hidden, plywood surfaces seem to be untreated and I've gotten the odd splinter or two while trying to reach around and into corner and cutouts. I'd like to sand these areas and the question arises whether or not to finish them with something. I've search around here and the web a bit and haven't found any answers on whether or not this is a good idea and what compound to use. Does anyone have opinions on why not to do this or what to use?


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post #2 of 22 Old 12-05-2006
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I'd do them with something like westsystem epoxy, especially the exposed end grain. The bare wood will soak it right in. If you want a really smooth surface, you'll then have to sand lightly and apply another coat. It'll last forever, clean up easy if necessary, and waterproof the wood. BTW, any holes you drill or cut in fiberglas or wood should get a coating of epoxy on the portion cut as it opens the interior of both materials to the damaging effects of water.
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post #3 of 22 Old 12-05-2006 Thread Starter
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Sailaway - it does make sense to treat and seal the ply. Should I be surprised that this hasn't been done on a production boat (Jeanneau)?
I know that on aircraft wood is often left untreated due to weight (and weight & balance) considerations; but aircraft don't usually get subjected to salt water and permanently humid environments.
Are you talking about the 2-part epoxy resins used in fiberlass applications or is there some different compound for wood? Isn't a simple paint or even varnish sufficient? I'm not talking about structural components, just items such as the plywood used to form the base for berths & bunks or inside galley cupboards.


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post #4 of 22 Old 12-05-2006
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I'm not surprised at all...the more you finish stuff...the more it costs to make the boat. I would use the West System Epoxy to protect the interior wood, and then paint it, if the wood is exposed to UV at all. If it is buried under cushions or in cupboards, the painting isn't necessary.

Yes, it is the same epoxy used for fiberglass. West System was founded by the Gougeon brothers, whose main claim to fame is making very nice laminated WOOD boats.

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post #5 of 22 Old 12-05-2006 Thread Starter
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Sailingaway1 & Sailingdog - I was hoping for a simpler answer to my question - in the form of an easily applied paint/varnish instead of a (more complex) epoxy where I need to find the correct mix ratio for my purposes/temps and then make small batches while working. Then again, the Prussian in me does believe that a job should be done correctly or not done at all, so I've got some follow-up questions.

Does the added work involved in epoxying the internal [hidden, non-load bearing, unexposed to water] plywood give me a benefit over using a varnish? I've epoxied quite a bit of fiberglass but have never used it in a thin enough form to "paint" - is it a lot more work? (I know how messy it can be).

Thanks - it isn't that I'm ignoring your advice, just looking for an easier way out.


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Last edited by Zanshin; 12-05-2006 at 08:28 AM.
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post #6 of 22 Old 12-05-2006
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Zanshin if you are talking about out of the way areas not visible in cainets and drawer areas just break the sharp cut factory edge with sand paper and get some cheap urethane and give it a coat or two. just use it liberally on the edges so it will soak in well, if you are concerned with moisture absorbsion in those areas. you can even use sanding sealer if you want.
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post #7 of 22 Old 12-05-2006 Thread Starter
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Mike - lol, that was the answer I was hoping for! But now the seeds of doubt have been planted and I'm undecided. Reminds me of the saying "Only a person with one clock really knows what time it is"


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post #8 of 22 Old 12-05-2006
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Zanshin there is no need to put epoxy or something expensive on wood that is not in view. if the wood has not gotten wet before the odds are it won't in the future. as for moisture absorbtion it would never get enough moisture in it to cause a problem, because if it did you have more serious issues to address before you worry about than that. you are olny trying to stop yourself from getting splinters and as i said before that is the easiest way out of it. with the urethane or old varnish what have you even old paint if you want although then you would make it look like a hack job. your only doing this to seal the grain and edges so there are no stand ups (splinters) to get stuck with!.
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post #9 of 22 Old 12-05-2006
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Zanshin, West epoxy is very easy to work with and not particularly expensive. They supply it in a variety of sizes and containers. If you only need a little bit they have small pouches that are premeasured, just squeeze it out, mix and paint it on. If you need more they have pump cans with the pumps sized to measure out each part as you need it.

However a good single part epoxy paint should do a nice job of sealing up the wood and covering up small splinters.

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post #10 of 22 Old 12-05-2006
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Splinters and water

Zanshin
I agree. If you are in danger of dryrot because of excess moisture on the insides of lockers and cupboards splinters are the least of your problems.
On my boat, a lot of the plywood was fastened to the hull with a chopper gun, and the entire surface spayed with white resin, then spattered with red. Looks like a bad painter's drop sheet. I painted it all with a decent quality single part urethane.
There is no way that you can seal the wood against ALL moisture penetration, and IMHO you might be better off to allow the wood to breath a bit, and to balance it's moisture content to the atmosphere around it as the seasons change. Paint all that you can reach with a nice light coloured paint, maybe two coats with a sanding to level off the dust bugs that you will inevetably get in a locker. Light will reflect well off the light paint and it will be easier to clean. The paint will slow the absorbtion of moisture, but will not prohibit the release of moisture when the air is more dry then the wood.
With that thought in mind, there would be a case for simple oil based house and trim enamel, since they are linseed oil based. Linseed oil will allow the migration of vapour through the film but will resist the absorbtion of water from outside. Linseed oil has mild antibacterial and antifungal properties as well. You will not need to be concerned about UV resistance so even inerior paint will work. I wouldn't concider latex however for a host of reasons.

Make her pretty and you will lover her more.

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