What's the best tool for cutting through the cockpit floor? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 01-10-2009
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What's the best tool for cutting through the cockpit floor?

I got to get down to the boat today for a longer period of time, and started removing stuff to get started on clean-up and winter projects to get it ready for spring. I just bought the boat in November and because of the holidays really haven't had a chance to spend much quality time down there with her.

Anyhow today I removed the teak cockpit floor grate and vacuumed out the junk that was under there and discovered I have a bigger problem than I first thought. I knew it was soft, but the entire floor will need re-coring.

Someone in the past has already drilled and filled numerous locations with no success. They and even tried to provide more support by bonding a piece of plywood on the underside of the flooring with some glass cloth. But that has delaminated over time too. I really should remove that piece of plywood as well, since it doing nothing but adding more weight and little or no support now.

I understand the whole process pretty clearly and have decided to absolutely go at it from the top since the surface is so messed up to begin with. I'm just not sure what is the best tool to cut it with. I have a pneumatic disc cut-off tool and air compressor I can use, or a dremel tool, also air grinder etc, but thought maybe one of those cordless mini-circular saws might work good too. I'd like to get as close to the outside edges of the cockpit floor as possible, and thought that might get me closer. I'm not sure though. Any suggestions for cutting it out?

Here is a large photo of the crappy floor.
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Old 01-10-2009
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Check cutting access hole for ideas. Esp. since you want to get right up to the sides, a Fein Multimaster or equivalent might be your best bet.

Jim
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Old 01-10-2009
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Just a thought for you. Unlike a deck you could easily build the floor up a 1/2" or more without a problem. So instead of doing all that cutting and fixing, why not just glass the hell out of it? If you just cut woven roving to fit the well and laid it down in epoxy maybe five or six layers thick you'd have a nonskid patttern looking floor in no time.
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Old 01-10-2009
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I have considered that option, but there will still remain voids and moisture in the existing core. Perhaps that doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.
Thanks for the idea.
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Old 01-10-2009
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I like using a dremel or similar bitted tool. It enables you to get closer to the edges and to do a neater job, especially around scuppers and the like. A bigger tool will create problems getting in there and seeing what you are doing. Since it's cored, you only want to go through the top layer anyway. A smaller tool will give you better depth control as well. You only need to go through the top 1/8" (maybe) of fiberglass. Once you've pried that off, the rotted core should come up with a screwdriver or putty knife. You can bed new core on the old inside layer, and then layer in the new cockpit floor layer. (You probably already know this.) The extra plywood support piece they added in probably won't be necessary once the repair is made and everything is stuck back together properly. We repaired our cabin top from the inside, and getting the resin, core and fiberglass to stay UP was a major Chinese fire drill. Working with gravity is a good idea when you can do it. To avoid crazing or point failure later, it will probably be a good idea to grind down the edge along where you cut so as to have better adhesion and to increase the contact area between the new and old fiberglass.
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Old 01-10-2009
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Fein saw
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Old 01-10-2009
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I've used one of these



With a rotozip DC1 bit.
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Old 01-10-2009
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In a similar project, I had good luck with the mini-circular saw attachment for a Rotozip tool. The rotozip itself worked ok but it's hard to cut a straight line (if you care), but the circular saw made for a neat cut with a fairly thin kerf. A cordless mini circular saw would probably work fine too.
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Old 01-10-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by US27inKS View Post
I've used one of these



With a rotozip DC1 bit.
That would be easier since I already own the angled die grinder. I would have to lug the air compressor down to the marina, but I suspected I might have to do that anyway some time or the other. I thought about putting a mini saw blade in the die grinder, but I'm not sure they make one for it.
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Old 01-10-2009
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If you don't have to go all the way to the outside edge, I would use a rotozip or simular tool with a small router base that would act as a guide shoe, that way you end up with a equal ledger around the cockpit floor to work with
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