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  #1  
Old 04-28-2009
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Fixing Keel Rust is a real GRIND!!! (PIC HEAVY)

As promised on another thread somewhere, here are some pictures of my keel grinding on our Beneteau 50.

Warning this is very picture heavy. Don't use the "Quote" button, use "Post Quick Reply".

Here is a long sequence of pictures. I'll let them do most of the talking. Note that there was a lot of grinding -- from start to finish that day, about 2 hours worth, with a 4.5 inch Makita grinder. (Hint - use older/worn grinding wheels that have a smaller diameter for grinding out hard to reach areas.) I begin the pictures after I've removed the paint and previous barrier coat, and after a night with exposed metal. (After several hours of grinding the day before, I had to leave quickly to get 2 stitches in my knuckle.)

Throughout the day, I used a wire brush on a reversible drill to clear everything away and show me where there was still rust spots. Then I went after the rust with the grinder. I repeated that many times. In one place the night before, I found a "fault" which was 1/8 or 1/4 inch below the surface. I felt I needed to grind to smooth. The fault would certainly make a path for future rust to follow.

Somehow, I felt like a dentist. Now there's a scary thought.

Since these pictures, (this past Sunday) I did a full day of grinding under the keel, aft of the wooden block. That's with about 6 inches of clearance. I was tucked right up with my (very protected) face next to the keel, so I could see what I was doing. Driving home that night I counted my blessings that I didn't get seriously hurt. I only got a nick through my new leather gloves, and something under both contact lenses. THAT GRINDER TRULY SCARES THE CRAP OUT OF ME. I'm really not looking forward to about 5 more days of grinding, most of them under the keel. That's what I think I have left.

By the way, there are 2 rusty spots where the keel meets the hull (fore and aft). I have no idea how to do those.

Anyway, enjoy the pictures. Any feedback welcome.




















































































This is very picture heavy. Don't use the "Quote" button, use "Post Quick Reply".
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  #2  
Old 04-28-2009
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never mind, sorry - I re-read your post. Benny - so the keel is bolted on
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Old 04-28-2009
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Great work Bene. I can see that whack on your finger too. What's the white stuff?
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Old 04-28-2009
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Sure would be nice if manufacturers would give up on iron keels. What a pain. I have one on my Dehler 39 which has rust spots. Boat is on the hard right now, boat yard said they could fix spots but no guarantee that they or their cousins would not appear next year, proper prep and barrier coat would help but no guarantee.

So I chickened out for this year, scrape, sand a bit, paint and go sailing. Next year I will likely be the one cursing, grinding iron for days.

Marvelous pictures, you are an inspiration. Hope your body survives the ordeal.

michael
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Old 04-28-2009
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Not 100% sure that I'm doing it right. It feels like I'm grinding way to much. (I have taken off more keel than rust has done.)

SERIOUSLY... AM I GRINDING TOO MUCH???

.

As for underneath, it's really hard to get at all of it. A small (250 watt) worklight works, because it fits right underneath (not the 500 watt in these pictures). Light is everything here. I may also invest in a mirror. I do use my digital camera underneath, in movie mode. I slowly move the camera while calling out the position of the camera (how many inches from the wood block). The I sit and look at it to see where the rust spots still are.

Underneath gets harder because the keel widens as you go aft. For instance, 2 feet wide, with 6 inches of clearance to work with. You have to really get under there to get the rust out. After 6 hours of that, holding that tiger of a grinder, my arms get really tired. I'm planning on doing it in shorter sessions. The grinder requires continuous attention and finger strength. It's not something you want to do when tired.
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Old 04-28-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
Great work Bene. I can see that whack on your finger too. What's the white stuff?
Thanks smack.

Zinc Oxide, I had a big tube of it left over from my lifeguarding days. (grin)

It's Interlux 2000e in white.
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Old 04-28-2009
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Yep, the fear of this project was the major factor that tipped the scales from Bene to Catalina for me. Given the vintage boats in my price range, I knew I'd be facing this sooner rather than later, so Catalina's got the nod. The two brands share a lot of basic construction methods in common and there are several features Benes offer that I really like, but this is one onerous task I know I won't have to deal with.
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Old 04-28-2009
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I'd do this kind of thing too, you know - but I'd screw up my manicure.
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Old 04-29-2009
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Boy, what an ugly, nasty task.

The first thing I'd do is check if the marina would hang the boat in the travelift straps somewhere in the yard and let a sandblast contractor come in and blast the bottom of the keel clean. (You're going to have to pay for the travelift to move your blocking, anyway.)

(Edit: The second thing I'd do is check for a yard that would allow sandblasting the keel if my current yard said no.)

Failing that, I'd rent or buy a 7" grinder, then have the boat hung overnight in the travelift straps with the keel bottom about waist high. Then sit in a lawn chair in such a way that my elbow would be on the armrest while supporting the grinder. This would be awkward, but it would keep you from having to support most of that tool weight while working.

Keep the wheel guard between you and the wheel.

From the amount of material you're removing, it looks like the iron is pretty porous (cheap casting) and punky from rust. If you can seal up the bad stuff and keep water out it should be OK if left on. The question is how well you can seal it up, especially on the bottom where it's going to be abraded when grounding.

One idea would be to leave the deep pits, then when you do the repair, add some layers of fiberglass, or even kevlar, cloth to the epoxy to protect against abrasion better.

If that eventually fails, you'll need to go back in and grind everything out, but if it holds OK, you'll save a lot of awkward grinding now.

Good luck,

Tim

Last edited by Gramp34; 04-29-2009 at 07:40 PM. Reason: add another point.
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Old 04-29-2009
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I think you are taking too much metal off. Just have it sandblasted, grind out any pits and then fair it with an epoxy filler (putty made with chopped glass and silica). Don't follow the cracks with the grinder; it won't make much difference in the strength or life of the keel if the rust is in there (it's like surface cracks in a sidewalk).

It's possible that if you use a zinc fish attached to a keel bolt when moored it will help minimize the corrosion of the keel if it has been exposed by flaking paint or scraped on the bottom. That's if your keel is not bonded to a zinc on the hull already.

Last edited by KeelHaulin; 04-29-2009 at 08:52 PM.
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