seeker of wonder
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Where the oceans have no address.
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
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In stages during a period of about 5 years, I replaced nearly ALL of the end-grain balsa on my 1963 Allied Seawind with a closed-cell foam that I originally thought was a derivative of Klegecell, but it turns out it wasn't....it is FAR superior to klegecell. If I remember correctly, isn't klegecell bluish in color...sort of aqua-marine?? This new stuff is light-grey.
The stuff I ended up using is light-grey in color and re-inforced with glass-fibers on top and bottom layers. It seems to have absolutely MASSIVE compressive strength, and yet is extremely light. I was getting it at a substantial discount as "drop-off" pieces from a yard that was re-decking a "money is no object" power-yacht.
The stuff looks like it would work on the space-shuttle....it looks and feels high-tech! I have no idea what it's called (maybe one of the boat-builders amonst us can help, here), and I'm sure its "retail" price is HYPER-expensive.
I used klegecell in other areas of the boat, and this new stuff DOES seem work better!!
Heretofore, end-grain balsa was the core of choice, amongst high-quality builders of note. I think that pendulum is starting to swing, or maybe has already swung towards producs like this grey stuff.
The problem with end-grain balsa, is that it WILL soak up water through capillary-action. If you use balsa, you have to re-bed ABSOLUTELY RELIGIOUSLY (not a bad idea, anyway).
If balsa is kept dry religiously, it is GREAT stuff...to be sure, there were sections of it on my cabin-top that were still PERFECT after 40 plus years (she's a 47 year-old boat, now).
However, the decking fiberglass top & bottom layers on the old Seawinds are so THICK that you really don't even realize you have a problem until someone comes along with a moisture-meter!! During that re-coring project, I probably took away maybe 500 pounds of soaked, mushy balsa. (maybe not 500#, but it was A LOT!).
I have no idea what boat you have, so you may not have the luxury of having such thick top & bottom fiberglass deck layers, so if it were me, I would be fairly wary of putting it right back in. You're taking it out for a reason...it's wet.
Maybe someone here can come up with the name for that light grey fiber-glass reinforced closed-cell foam.
One additional note: I stopped using plywood for between fiberglass layer reinforcements where needed in high-stress areas(like under lifeline stanchion-bases, etc) and began using cheap whitish plastic cutting-boards, instead. Its strong, fairly light, comes in an assortment of thickness, is very cheap, and will never rot!!
"...and a star to steer her by."
Last edited by SoulVoyage; 05-23-2010 at 10:37 AM.