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post #1 of 11 Old 09-05-2011 Thread Starter
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Re-Decking a Wooden Sailboat

My Jesse Boyce is a 28-foot L. F. Herreshoff designed wooden sailboat. She was built during the late 70ís and early 80ís. Her decks were constructed of two ľ-inch layers of, what was supposed to be ďmarine-gradeĒ plywood topped by 11/16 thick iroko deck planking, about 1.5-inches wide. After better then 25-years, the plywood sub-decking is delaminated, rotting and falling apart and obviously needs to be replaced. The current wisdom is that I remove and dispose of the decks entirely, planking and all, and replace them with a solid layer of the current quality of ďmarine-gradeĒ plywood capped with dynel and wetted out with Gluv-it epoxy.

But hereís a different plan. A bug got put in my ear yesterday and I woke up at 2:00 AM and started figuring this idea out. Instead of going through the process of laying down a plywood deck, and covering it with Dynel and Gluv-it, all the expense, likelihood of things kicking off too soon, or not kicking off at all, the inevitability that moisture is going to find its way into the wood and start the same set of issues I'm dealing with now all over again, the thought was to try "plastic plywood". The expense would be pretty much equal to the aforementioned "marine-grade" plywood treatment.

On the one hand, I could just stick to the plastic sheets. They come pre-colored, textured and with non-skid surfacing and it holds up well against UV radiation. The down-side seems to be that a 3/4-inch 4-foot by 8-foot sheet weighs about 120-pounds! And Iím looking at about 10 of them. But Jesse Boyce always did perform better with a load on her! Another is that while plastic sheeting seems to stand up very well to abusive handling, repairing any damage is going to be a bit rough.

But, on the other hand, if I was careful removing the 11/16-inch iroko deck planks, we could run them through a planer, shaving off like 1/8-inch per side to clean it up and lay it back down over the 3/4-inch thick plastic sheet. That would keep the decks at the same thickness as they are now. That would also go a long way to protect the plastic sub-decking from damage. I would never have to worry about it rotting out or moisture getting to the plywood through the iroko swelling and shrinking and cracking the seam calking.

I assume that the construction details would be the same, butt-blocking between the deck-beams, but I have no idea as to what would be the best calking / sealant to use on plastic like that. Iím also not sure of what brand or type or thickness would give me the best structural stiffness and strength to support my weight (3-4XL) between the deck beams while not going soft under the heat of the mid-summer sun. The largest spacing between deck-beams is a 14-inch gap about midships. But if I put the iroko back down, that would add to the carrying capacity of the decks too.

Sheís coming into the dock tomorrow and Iím going to turn too on finishing getting her apart. Iíve engaged the help of a carpenter friend to help and he thinks itís going to go pretty quick, so Iíve got to make some decisions here. Iíd like to have her re-decked and the cabin back on with its new top as well and all closed up before it gets too uncomfortable to work out there in the New England fall weather.

Any suggestions or thoughts would be a great help!

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post #2 of 11 Old 09-05-2011
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weight distribution

I'd be concerned that increasing the deck weight substantially will cause stability problems. You might need to add ballast in the bilge to maintain balance
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post #3 of 11 Old 09-05-2011
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The plastic wood is CRAP its not near as stiff and weights much more

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post #4 of 11 Old 09-05-2011
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As I read this two questions come to mind: Could you? and Should you?

Could you? Yes, but...

Should you? I wouldn't.

- You may not be saving any money (and in fact may wind up losing you money in the long run since you'll significantly risk resale value.)
- You may find seriously problems in achieving that water-tightness you're looking for.
- I'm no engineer, but I suspect that the plastic will not provide the strength that marine ply will.
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post #5 of 11 Old 09-05-2011
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Don't - you'll wreck the boat. The marine ply is performing several important roles on a H28 including stiffening the entire hull structure, and is still the best thing to use in the 21st century.

As I see it, after stripping off the entire deck and reparing any rot you find in the deck beams, you have two options:

1. Cut out and lay down 2 or 3 layers of 1/4" marine ply laminated together with a quality epoxy glue - scraping it out well to make sure you don't have any voids - then run your iroko planks through a thicknesser to clean them up on both sides and re-lay them, or

2. Lay down marine ply as above in 3-4 layers as above, sheath with dynel as per instructions - making sure the entire deck is covered from rail to rail with plenty of overlap at the edges to prevent water penetration - and paint with non-skid. You could still lay a planked-deck over the top later on if you want to, just for looks.

Option 1 will take longer and look nicer - option 2 will be quicker and is your only practical option if the iroko decking is stuffed as well.

..oh, and make sure you paint the underside of the first ply layer first before you lay in - since this will be visible from inside the boat. Good luck!

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post #6 of 11 Old 09-05-2011
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Study some boatbuilding books for tips on laying ply decks. I've heard of similar problems with natural wood on ply, water gets in and stays. My boat was decked with glass on ply in 1968. It's still sound.
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post #7 of 11 Old 10-17-2013
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Re: Re-Decking a Wooden Sailboat

Here's a killer new screw from Outlaw Fasteners. They're calling it the "world's best screw" and say it doesn't strip or fall off the bit.

It definitely looks well engineered. Here's the link: Screwing Reinvented: The World's Best Deck Screw by Outlaw Fasteners ? Kickstarter
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post #8 of 11 Old 10-17-2013
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Re: Re-Decking a Wooden Sailboat

While I don't think they are as common in the States as here in Canada, the Roberson screw head works the same way. Put it on a properly sized screw driver and you cannot shake it off.
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post #9 of 11 Old 10-17-2013
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Re: Re-Decking a Wooden Sailboat

PC Surely you are a member of the Wooden Boat Forums?

Any decking screwed to plywood will rot again. Every screw is a potential leak! Iroko is HARD HEAVY wood! It's so hard, that could be why the payed joints failed (paying, is caulking between planks) When you get the planking off and then the plywood you want to get certified marine plywood for the new. Almost for sure you will find rotted carlins supporting the rotten plywood.

New methods are teak or plasteak glued down fiberglass without screws, most likely not right for your boat.

"Next best thing to not having a boat? The knowledge from having one!" Denise, Bristol PA, On Tidal Delaware River, Anchor Yacht Club.
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post #10 of 11 Old 10-17-2013
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Re: Re-Decking a Wooden Sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by deniseO30 View Post
PC Surely you are a member of the Wooden Boat Forums?..
This thread is a couple years old. Me thinks user neselaine, with only one post, was doin' some 'drive-by' advertising.

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