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  #21  
Old 03-20-2009
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Unless the current head actually bites the dust, I think we'll just keep it as is. For being 35 years old, it seem to be quite good She is only a $2000 boat, and we only intend on keeping her until we move up to a 30' (potential liveaboard) in a couple of years. Because we bought her at such a firesale price, we hope to be able to sell her for a bit more (but I realize we're likely dreaming on this point.) Either way though, $100 or $200 projects will quickly add up to the point of having put far more into her than we orginally paid. Even still, with the massive list of projects (from large to tiny there are currently 95 in total) without substantial upgrades, we'll probably be close to $3000 above her original cost. Which isn't terrible, as we suspect she should be able to go for $3500 or so.

Plus, a fancy new head just wouldn't fit with the rest of her "vintage" 1970s look We don't want to make her start feeling bad about herself, now do we?
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  #22  
Old 03-23-2009
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Delamination repair

So after discussion with many smart people, we're leaning on biting the bullet and starting on the major project - repairing the foredeck delamination - now instead of waiting until the fall as was the original plan. We figure this project may take about a month and a half from the first cut to the last coat of paint, so I would rather lose that cruising time now, rather than in August and September. Also, it leaves a bit more room for the unexpected time-sucking troubles that will surely arise. Plus some of the smaller projects are either moot once this is done, or can't even be started until we've completed this.



We've discovered that there's water leaking into the v-berth from the pulpit attachment points, which is where we figure all of the deck delamination issues originate from as well. My guess is that this has been happening for many, many years. At some point, somebody has tried to seal the pulpit with sikaflex or something similar to no avail. Water has seeped into the core almost to where the cabin top starts, about 5 ft. back from the bow. There's about 10 sq.ft. which will need to be removed. We've been told that considering the size of the damaged area, and how little structural stability remains, the core is probably rotten, not just wet. Simply drilling holes will not dry it out, so we'll be cutting out the inner layer of fibreglass, grinding out the wet core, relaying a new core, and re-glassing the whole thing. *sigh* All from the inside (for a plethora of reasons). Yes, we are insane.

It shouldn't be too terrible of a project... apart from that pesky bow locker, which is partially isolated from the v-berth by a bulkhead with a large access hole. The leaking water is running through this locker and under the v-berth to the bilge. (you can see where it runs out in the photo). Inside this locker is a bulkhead (I'm not sure what one would call this - bulkhead doesn't seem right) parallel to the boat's lines, to which the forestay is chainplated.

We don't know if the moisture has infiltrated into the bulkhead or into that chainplate mount. We hope that neither of them will have to be repaired, though we have accepted that they may be. Either way, the deck coring in these very small areas will need to be removed as well. Any tips or suggestions on how to deal with this area? Any special techniques on removing the core where the power tools likely won't reach? What are the chances that where the forestay attaches is wet? (obviously a tough question without being able to see her!)

(And as a very special favour, does anyone have a moisture meter we could borrow to use for this project? )

So here's the plan:
- Dettach the forestay. We'll be rigging an alternative system with the halyard and some sort of bridle system running under the bow and held in place by a line around the aft of the keel.
- Remove the pulpit, running lights, forward cleat, chocks, the water deck fill cap, and *sigh* the forestay chainplate.
- Drill through the inner fibreglass layer and cut it away. We'll probably start at the forward end of the v-berth, working aft until we reach dry wood, and then deal with cutting out in the bow locker.
- Grind out all the wet wood and clean with acetone
- Fit cardboard to the cabintop to determine dimensions for new balsa core.
- Buy 1"-square end-grain balsa matting, and cut to match the cardboard.
- Leave small electric heater and fan running for a week or two waiting for the outer layer to dry. (Will this be enough time, also assuming that we've laid a tarp over the foredeck to keep rain out, but allowing for substantial airflow?)
- Wait for a weather window of two or three days of dry weather.
- Coat inside of outer layer with polyester resin (only small areas at a time) wet balsa core with resin, and stick to the roof. We're estimating that once all of the prep work as been done, this should only take a day with the two of us doing this. Is this reasonable? And of course, we'll have good ventilation, and safety gear so as to not asphyxiate ourselves
- Coat the underside of the core with resin, and resin-in the fibreglass matting. (Another day alloted for this) Smooth out the bubbles, and wait for it to cure.
- Fair(?), sand and paint
- Remount all deck hardware

Please forgive my ignorance on this topic. I've worked with new fibreglass projects before, but with a foam core, and never on a re-coring project like this. I've found this link to a Triton recore but can't seem to find any on how to do this from the inside. Anyone have any links?

So here are my questions:
? Are we being impetuous and foolish to consider a substantial fibreglassing job in the wet Vancouver spring? If we have good heating and ventilation, will the high level of ambient air moisture be detrimental to the results, even if we are inside? Apart from the leaking pulpit, the boat is remarkably dry - there's no musty smell at all, no mold or general dampness.
? How many poor fishies are we going to kill as we weren't intending on hauling? We have a shop vac and we're hoping to set up plastic sheeting to keep any sanding residue from escaping the forward hatch or into the salon.
? Where can we find balsa end-grain matting in the Vancouver area?
? How big a section can we do at one time? With gravity working against us, I'm concerned that when we're reattaching the core that the balsa will sag a bit, resulting in poor bonding to the outer layer of fibreglass, and again with the inner layer to the core.
? What on earth do I do about the forestay chainplate? Can it stay in? Can we simply cut closely around it, remove all core, and fill the edges with epoxy, and then glass around it? Or as we're using a polyester resin (I think) will this have adverse repurcussions attaching to the polyester resin, or in future repair work? This is on the assumption (possibly wrong) that its mount is dry. Ack!
? What weight of glass will we need? How many layers will need to be applied? How many layers can do be done at once without heat buildup becoming an issue?
? This is probably a ridiculous question, but should we avoid walking on the foredeck completely without the core and inner layer?

Advice appreciated for this nervous newbie!
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  #23  
Old 03-23-2009
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Serah—

You're really much better off doing this from the topside and removing the exterior skin for a lot of reasons.
  • First, trying to work in the confines of the v-berth will make your life hell. Also, any spills and such will need to be cleaned up immediately or you'll have a second real big project on your hands. You can setup scaffolding around the bow of the boat and get much of the work done from off the boat.
  • Second, trying to get the core material to laminate to the outer skin properly without vacuum bagging is much easier if gravity is on your side.
  • Third, getting the fiberglass to adhere and laminate to the core material is much easier if gravity is on your side.
  • Fourth, clean up will be much simpler, especially if you tent the front half of the boat and lay tarps down underneath it... cleaning up the interior is a royal PITA.
  • Fifth, the work will go a lot faster if you're working from the top down, rather than the bottom up. It will probably take you four-to-five times as long to do it from the inside as it does from the outside.
Quote:
So here are my questions:
? Are we being impetuous and foolish to consider a substantial fibreglassing job in the wet Vancouver spring? If we have good heating and ventilation, will the high level of ambient air moisture be detrimental to the results, even if we are inside? Apart from the leaking pulpit, the boat is remarkably dry - there's no musty smell at all, no mold or general dampness.
If you have the boat well covered, it shouldn't be too much of an issue.
Quote:
? How many poor fishies are we going to kill as we weren't intending on hauling? We have a shop vac and we're hoping to set up plastic sheeting to keep any sanding residue from escaping the forward hatch or into the salon.
You really need to do this with the boat out of the water. It will go a lot faster if the boat is on the hard, since you'll have better access to the boat.

Quote:
? Where can we find balsa end-grain matting in the Vancouver area?
You can use end-grain balsa, Contour-Core, Airex foam or Divinylcell foam. Personally, I'd go with Divinylcell foam for this. Make any places you're going to be attaching hardware thick SOLID FIBERGLASS instead.

Quote:
? How big a section can we do at one time? With gravity working against us, I'm concerned that when we're reattaching the core that the balsa will sag a bit, resulting in poor bonding to the outer layer of fibreglass, and again with the inner layer to the core.
Work from the outside... it is much easier, faster, safer.

Quote:
? What on earth do I do about the forestay chainplate? Can it stay in? Can we simply cut closely around it, remove all core, and fill the edges with epoxy, and then glass around it? Or as we're using a polyester resin (I think) will this have adverse repurcussions attaching to the polyester resin, or in future repair work? This is on the assumption (possibly wrong) that its mount is dry. Ack!
The repair has to be strongly attached and bonded to where the forestay chainplate is... without better photos of the chainplate and bow, I can't say whether you need to remove it or not. Is the area beneath the chainplate cored or solid glass? If it is solid glass, you'll probably want to remove the chainplate, and then run the 12:1 taper for the outer laminate repair over that area so that the new fiberglass strongly connects to the chainplate base.

Quote:
? What weight of glass will we need? How many layers will need to be applied? How many layers can do be done at once without heat buildup becoming an issue?
Cut out a small section of the rotten deck using a small hole saw, say 1" in diameter... that will give you an idea of how thick the laminate needs to be. You can glass probably about 1/4 thick at a time without heat being a major problem. Any thicker than that, there are other problems you'll run into IMHO.

Quote:
? This is probably a ridiculous question, but should we avoid walking on the foredeck completely without the core and inner layer?
Ummm... YES, DO NOT WALK ON THE DECK until it is repaired.

Quote:
Advice appreciated for this nervous newbie!
Finally, I would highly recommend that you use EPOXY RESIN for all of the repairs, and use bi-directional roving and cloth, instead of CSM for the repairs. The reason for this is very simple—strength.

Roving and cloth are far stronger than CSM, since the long continuous fibers in fiberglass create the strength in the laminate. CSM is all short strands, and great for building bulk, but doesn't really create strength.

Most of the bonding between the existing boat structure and a repair is dependent on secondary bonding characteristics—or the adhesive strength of the resin. Epoxy resin has far greater secondary bonding characteristics and is far more forgiving to use than vinylester or polyester resin. It is generally also stronger than either of the other two resins.

Any areas that overlap the repair and existing fiberglass should be ground and tapered to at least a 12:1 taper for the thickness of the glass there. If the glass is 1/4" thick, the ground tapered area should be at least 3" wide—12 x .25.

Any areas where you're going to be grinding fiberglass should be well washed with a strong dewaxer/degreaser. Interlux Fiberglass Prep Wash 202 is a good choice to use. I would recommend washing with TSP first then using the 202... the reason for washing it is simple, you don't want the grinder/sander embedding grease or wax in the ground areas, as that will compromise the repair's bond to the existing fiberglass and weaken the repair considerably.
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  #24  
Old 03-23-2009
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SD makes some very good points, as usual.

Working upside down in that confined space is going to be a nightmare, no two ways about it. The resulting repair is bound to be weaker due to poor adhesion and bonding because of gravity effects.

Another advantage of using epoxy is reduced fumes and vapours, esp if working in confined areas.

I understand the desire to not disturb the deck finish, that probably prompts the "inside and up" approach... but ultimately I think you'd regret it (unless, and only half joking here - you take the stick out, haul the boat and roll it over on blocks.. radical but it's a small enough boat you may get away with it with the right setup - it would also address any leaking issues you might have.)

This kind of job in our unpredictable weather is risky, but if you're prepared to wait for best possible conditions it's do-able this time of year.

Coring material is available at Fiber-Tek in Burnaby, right on Boundary road, just north of 1st Ave. They are very helpful in there too.

Once you start, there's no turning back - the boat will be unusable until the repair is completed, so be sure you need/want to do this now.
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Old 03-23-2009
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Thanks sailingdog & Faster!

I forgot to mention that certainly the attachments for the pulpit, cleat and chocks will all be solid fibreglass, likely with backing plates. I am intending on using fully woven cloth as well. However, we were also told to stay away from epoxy resins... I think it was mostly because epoxy would bond to polyester, but not the other way around? I've never worked with polyester, only epoxies. However, I see no problem moving to epoxy, and just sticking with it; especially if it's more likely to stick to the original layers, and if having each layer bond to each other is going to be arduous, if not impossible, from down below. All the more reason to push to do this repair from above, and doing a full haul... then again if we do haul now, we may as well do a barrier coat and new bottom paint, as well as waxing & buffing the topsides... making this a huge project and will likely be moved back to the fall

I'd originally hoped to go in from above, but that was vetoed. If this repair is not going to be sufficiently strong if done from down below, no sense in doing it right?

In any case, the deck is hideous with the beige no-slip coating applied. This gives me an excuse to redo this Wasn't on the list of projects...
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  #26  
Old 03-23-2009
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One point to make. If you go with epoxy resins, please paint the deck with very light colors, white or very close to white. Epoxy resin thermally deforms at a lower temperature than does polyester or vinylester resin, and painting it a dark color can lead to issues.

One of the funniest things I've seen is a friend's boat has "foot prints" in the deck. It was a home-built trimaran made with Airex foam and epoxy and glass. The deck was originally painted that wonderful dark blue that you see on Moodys... and I had warned against it.... One day, about a week after it was painted, it was really hot and sunny...and another friend, who weighs about 300 lbs... was getting on the boat carrying a tub full of supplies... he left foot prints in the deck, not exact replicas of his feet, but big shallow dents where he stepped, about 1/4" deep.... he also burned the soles of his feet pretty good. That weekend, we ended up repainting the deck... it's now almost white. The feetprints are still there...

As for re-doing the non-skid... consider that a bonus... you have to paint the deck in any case...

Glad to help... if you need more advice... let us know.
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a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

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  #27  
Old 03-23-2009
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A shame, as I've always liked the looks of a black deck. White it is, as that bland beige has to go!

As much as I cringe to write this, and knowing that you will all think me a fool (if you don't already for buying a boat that requires such work!) something is telling me that despite the board's collective wisdom, and my better judgement, we'll end up pressing through with doing this from the inside. Yes, I will regret this decision. Yes, I will curse a blue streak when the core doesn't bond fully to one of the layers and when I have resin curing to my arm in the dark recesses of that forward locker. Please remind me of this moment then Alas, the boy feels we'll be able to make it work from down below, with adequate propping up of the new core. Then again, he was completely opposed to the idea of recoring to start, so maybe I'll be able to pull him around...

So here I am. What can I do to make my chances of success be as high as possible, without having to do it from above? Tackier resin will help, to an extent. Lots of propping it up, as well as doing small areas (this won't help when doing the inner skin though)

Also, if we do choose to put this off 'til the fall (and have to go ahead from insurance to do so) is this terribly dangerous to leave? The forestay is very solid (perhaps a good sign?) and there didn't seem to be any wiggle in the chainplate at all. We'll be down tomorrow night, and I'll take some close up photos.

And cost-wise - excluding the costs of having to repaint the entire deck and re-do the non-slip, and assuming that we don't have to reglass the chainplate mount, roughly, what should I be expecting to pay for this project?
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  #28  
Old 03-23-2009
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If you're determined to do this from the bottom... (and it seems you are) then take some time to research vacuum bagging - it's do-able with a shopvac, the right film material and a bit of preparation. The guys at Fibertek can help you with that. You'll still have the difficulty of getting the core to stay put while you're placing it, but should be able to apply a uniform pressure once everything's in place. Or you may consider doing smaller sections, then trying to glass it over after all the core is in place. That'll add to the project time, of course.

Epoxy cure times can be slower than polyester, which will add to the difficulty.. but epoxy is the way to go - probably a thickened mixture for the initial coring application to limit sagging. Talk to someone about which hardener to use when you know what your working temp is likely to be.

I'd be tempted to enjoy the boat this summer, see how things go and maybe you'll have a different perspective by then - maybe even be ready to move up and decide to sell her.... someone will buy her at the right price (after all - you did!)

Oh - cost wise - doing all the work yourself, I'd guess materials will run you $200 for resin/hardener, $100 or more for the core material, plus brushes, squeegees, sandpaper, solvents, grinding discs, etc etc for likely another $100 easy. That's probably a pretty low overall estimate - these things always go more than what you'd expect.
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Old 03-24-2009
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In my opinion, the job will take a lot longer to do from below and you will not have a guarantee of success. The only way I see it being reasonably easy to do from below is if you cut the liner out in one piece or large pieces and re-use it. This will give you something to prop up against the balsa core. I can't see glassing overhead, trying to hold resin wet biaxial cloth up in multiple areas. The balsa or other core can be pushed up against thickened epoxy against the inside of the outer skin and should stick fairly well. Then wet out the core material with epoxy that is not thickened. The inner panel coated with a a good mix of thickened epoxy then is put in place and you shore it in place with plywood panels or something similar and sticks braced to whatever. Cut your braces in advance and be sure to have enough to take the place of dozens of hands - you'll need them. After the epoxy has hardened remove the bracing and grind the edges to a taper and apply biaxial cloth to finish it off. If you would like to see pictures of core replacement go to The Plastic Classic Forum :: Index and search recoring decks and you will see pictures of various projects with descriptions. Many plastic classic members have done this, although almost all from above deck. I will be doing some areas of the deck when the weather is warmer but from above. Good luck.
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I found a link that could be useful to you. It's the recoring of a cockpit sole in a Pearson 26 from underneath - well documented with pictures of the process. Cockpit Floor Delamination Repair
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