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  #1  
Old 08-30-2011
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we try a new to us technique for dealing with soft decks...

As you know, we just finished the Hunter 54. On inspection,found about six feet of the the 300+ Lbs owner side deck flexing under his weight, not good. Faced with the mess and expense of core replacement on a boat with no money left in it, I decided to try a trick this same owner suggested for sopt wet core repairs. I mean, why the hell not right?



The fix is something he used some 20 years ago and the boat's still good. So, I went out and bought a manual greasegun, System 3 "Silvertip" Laminating Epoxy (which I really like after using it) and some grease zerts.

Arianna or Arie as she likes to be called, (my new assistant), and I, loaded up the cart and went on deck to puzzle this out. I started with two rows of holes drilled to the bottom of the core, which was wet, and inserted the zerts (grease nipples). This was problematic as the damned things didn't wanna go in so with judicious use of a hammer and a socket, we got them in. Drilling the holes 3" apart turned out to be way to close as the epoxy started pouring out of adjacent holes immediately on pumping.



After doing those first holes, I settled on a square pattern with holes in the corners, about 6-8" apart and one in the center. This worked well and each hole took 10-15 pumps before epoxy started flowing out of adjacent holes. Another problem with the zerts is that they pull out of the holes 99% of the time when you attempt to pull the gun off. If you don't leave the gun on for at least 30 seconds for the pressure to dissipate, you're rewarded with an instant backflow of most of the epoxy you just injected.



You can tell that it's working as you move to new holes when epoxy starts flowing from the holes you left again and also from holes you haven't yet injected.



Word to the wise, do not open the gun to check it because it's getting hot. The 200F catalyzing epoxy under pressure will burn the piss out of your hands no matter the thickness of your gloves. Thankfully, Arie was quick to yank them off of me before I got scalded. Very sharp and observant Lass that Arie.



So, we continued to drill holes and inject epoxy along that 18"X72" section. BTW, if you have a break in the bottom skin, you WILL find it or at least the epoxy will. This is a very messy procedure so make sure you have an entire box of good, thick gloves, a large bag of rags and a gallon or two of DeNatured Alcohol.



It took about three hours to finish the job and we left it to cure. he next day, we sent our own 300 pounder up to walk the decks. wow! It actually works! Just a bit of fairing and deck paint and it's DONE! Sweet!



Apparently the key here is hydraulic pressure which gets the epoxy into and through the wet core. You can see water being displaced as you pump epoxy in. The System 3 Laminating apparently cures just fine in wet core.
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Old 08-30-2011
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It will cure but it won't stick to the wet core or the skins if they are very wet.
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Old 08-30-2011
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There's a product called Aquaset that chemically uses the water to cure and incorporates it into the resin. I haven't tried it yet.
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Old 08-30-2011
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Wish you would have video'd this procedure. It would be a hit online for all the folks with soft decks.
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Old 08-30-2011
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how did you keep the nipples affixed to the deck while pumping the epoxy into the void? Did you leave the nipples after pumping in the epoxy, or take them out as soon as you moved to the next hole? Also, I assume that the grease gun you used was one that could take bulk loading (as opposed to cartridges)?

Thanks for posting; this is an interesting idea that I might like to try for my deck.
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Old 08-30-2011
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I don't think I would do this unless I was planning on selling or on a tight budget, if then. The epoxy will set but not hold the top and bottom skin together and its adhesion to mushy core would be shaky at best. I don't think it is as permanent as a recore would be.

Aquaset is a water based resin used in building construction. While it would set as well its adhesion to wet core would be suspect I think, especially if the core is wet and mushy which is common.
Features of AQUASET
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Old 08-30-2011
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I kind of like this, I had thought that using "great stuff" might be a viable solution to soft decks after using it to fill the gap around some ports. I am gonna google your epoxy, and my try this if I get any soft spots.
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Old 08-31-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mstern View Post
how did you keep the nipples affixed to the deck while pumping the epoxy into the void? Did you leave the nipples after pumping in the epoxy, or take them out as soon as you moved to the next hole? Also, I assume that the grease gun you used was one that could take bulk loading (as opposed to cartridges)?

Thanks for posting; this is an interesting idea that I might like to try for my deck.
I held the gun to the nipples for about a mintue to let the epoxy spread because as soon as I pulled the gun, the nipples came out. Once in a while I'd have to stuff the nipple back in while still attached to the gun because the epoxy was backing out too fast. Bulk load gun.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieCobra View Post
I held the gun to the nipples for about a mintue to let the epoxy spread because as soon as I pulled the gun, the nipples came out. Once in a while I'd have to stuff the nipple back in while still attached to the gun because the epoxy was backing out too fast. Bulk load gun.
thanks
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Old 08-31-2011
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Thank you, this sounds great. How did you refinish the interior ceiling?
Dick
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