Bulkhead repair......ive put this off long enough. - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 4 Old 08-28-2008 Thread Starter
'72 Pearson 36
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Bulkhead repair......ive put this off long enough.

Ive been putting this major project off for about a year now. Ive got to repair my bulkhead where the chainplates mount. The chain plates leaked long before i got the boat and the PO never did anything to stop the leak. I did seal the holes in the deck with 5200(yes, i know bad idea). That worked for awile, but seems to have been leaking again. Well today wile cleaning up i noticed the chainplate has moved, so its now time to do this project. I started digging into the bulkhead, and its gone. In the picture you see the backing plate for the 3 chain plate bars. Where the formica is ripped off is where the most of the rot is. Im thinking i can cut out the rotted portion all the way to the hull and replace just that part since theres no way i can replace the whole bulkhead. I figure i will use 1'' plywood(good grade) and seal it with epoxy.I can tab it to the hull just like it is now and tab it to the left over part of old bulkhead.

Heres where the chain plates entre the deck. Im also thinking once ive got the bulkhead replaced and the chain plates reattached ill mix some epoxy and filler and fill the hole around the chainplates. Im also going to do this on the other side, since it looks the same only not rotted out.

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post #2 of 4 Old 08-28-2008
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I did the this job three years ago and photos are in the following link:

S/V Victoria Head Reconstruction

The topic was discussed in some length in the following link:
Chainplates, Bulkheads, and Woodwork

The job is major but not insurmountable. I do think that by the time you find any good, dry wood in the bulkhead, you end up replacing the whole thing. Another problem with "splicing" in a new section if plywood is that this is a structural area that supports tremendous loads and could tear out. Better to bite the bullet and resign yourself to the idea of some deconstruction. I'm not sure what that aluminum plate is - a backing plate added by the PO because the bulkhead is rotted? Makes me worry. After you jackhammer the old 5200 off the chainplate, route out a shallow "pool" in the deck (1.5"x1"x1/8") through which the chainplate passes. The new 4200 will sit in that pool and have a larger area to ahdere to the deck and chainplate. Shaeffer sells a nice cover to dress and protect the area (basically a flat plate with a a rectangular hole in the middle and a hole in each corner for screws). My detailed instructions from the previous link follow. Good luck, it's not THAT bad.

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

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post #3 of 4 Old 08-28-2008 Thread Starter
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The main reason i only want to repair a small part of it is i cant fit a very big piece of plywood through the companion way. This bulkhead is a very large one. As you can see in the picture it has plates on both sides. They are backing plates for the chain plates. This is not the way Person set up the rigging on the boat. It was redone sometime after Hugo in 89.
This picture shows the whole bulkhead.

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post #4 of 4 Old 08-29-2008
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Unfortunately I can't see your pics as it's storming outside and I'm lucky to have any internet at all.

My boat had major chainplate leaks when I got it, and even after I replaced the bulkheads it still leaked. There seems to be enough flex in the hull that the chainplates move slightly where they pass through the deck. I had been using 4200 to seal them, but every time I get into a good blow, the chainplates leak again.

I finally solved the problem by opening up the deck around the chainplates with a small die grinder and bit. Then I filled in the deck around the chainplates with thickened epoxy, leaving a small "dish" around the chainplates. When the epoxy dried, I sealed the chainplates with Butyl tape that I got from a glass shop, then reinstalled the seal covers at the chainplates.

The Butyl tape remains pliable and will follow the chainplate as it moves in and out of the deck. Finally no more leaks.

PS. when removing bulkheads as Sabreman suggested, use the RotoZip DC1 bit. The spiral bits don't work as well. You would almost think that the DC1 bit was made for cutting apart boats. Also, if you have a good size portable air compressor, you can use the DC1 bit in an air die grinder with great results.

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Last edited by US27inKS; 08-29-2008 at 01:04 AM.
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