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  #11  
Old 10-17-2011
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can sometimes remove the plugs by drilling a pilot, then threading a screw into them. Other times, can chain drill a few holes in them and pop them out with a chisel
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  #12  
Old 10-31-2011
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Hatch is off!

Hi,

Thank you all for your help, I took the hatch off yesterday. It all went very easily. I covered the hole with a piece of white plastic sign cut to the hatch's dimensions, screwed and duck taped on the deck. It kind of looks better than the real hatch! This should keep cats from using my boat as a playground and keep most of the potential moisture from dripping in for now.


Most of the wood around the hatch was rotten and it didn't take much effort to begin removing it, especially around the corners. It doesn't look like the damage extends too far though. I'm no wood expert but I think the core is balsa, at least on this part of the boat.

I will probably dig a little further and glass it all before drilling completely through the deck and put in bolts instead of screws. At least this is my current idea unless someone here advises otherwise.

Another thing that did strike me was that on the port side, the bottom of the side has a piece of heavy cloth that didn't seem very well glassed in with some large gaps and obviously not much resin on it (see picture). Also, there is a good void between the plastic liner and the bottom of the cabin. There is a piece of something (too dark to see) that finally unite them somewhere down there and is probably a backing structure for the handrail. The curious thing is that there is no void of the starboard side. The wood trim on the forward bulkheads (where the hatch is located) show a little asymmetry too, so I assume that this dates back from the building of the boat.

Any comment on that?

Thank you,

Florent
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  #13  
Old 10-31-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flo617 View Post
Most of the wood around the hatch was rotten and it didn't take much effort to begin removing it, especially around the corners. It doesn't look like the damage extends too far though. I'm no wood expert but I think the core is balsa, at least on this part of the boat.
It looks like balsa - I don't know of any other core material that looks like that so....

Quote:
Originally Posted by flo617 View Post
I will probably dig a little further and glass it all before drilling completely through the deck and put in bolts instead of screws. At least this is my current idea unless someone here advises otherwise.
Get a "wing" or skinny rabbeting cutter for your router and use it to cut back the balsa to good wood. I've also seen recommendations to simply use a bent piece of coathanger in a drill. After everything is cleaned up, pack it full of thickened epoxy, just like potting a fastener hole. Make sure the epoxy is THICK - like peanut butter so it won't slump out before curing. Running a strip of packing tape over the edge has worked for me - it peels away easily after things cure. Sand everything to clean it up and you're done.

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Originally Posted by flo617 View Post
Another thing that did strike me was that on the port side, the bottom of the side has a piece of heavy cloth that didn't seem very well glassed in with some large gaps and obviously not much resin on it (see picture). Also, there is a good void between the plastic liner and the bottom of the cabin. There is a piece of something (too dark to see) that finally unite them somewhere down there and is probably a backing structure for the handrail. The curious thing is that there is no void of the starboard side. The wood trim on the forward bulkheads (where the hatch is located) show a little asymmetry too, so I assume that this dates back from the building of the boat. Any comment on that? Thank you. Florent
Inner liners don't fit tight against the hull or deck except on the very highest quality boats in my experience. If you want to improve this area somewhat and the separate pieces are not held rigidly by other structure, pack the gap full of wetted out glass and clamp the liner and deck together. Do this before filling the edge of the deck core so you can do the finish work all at once.

I had the same situation where a small hatch had been added over the head on my boat. I did the above procedures, cleaned it up and then filled and finished it to a level that could be painted and didn't require any further trim to cover up the edges.
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Old 10-31-2011
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From staining on bulkhead looks like it has leaked for quite a while. Definitely looks like end grain balsa core. Since you have the job started dig out the balsa until there is no more black or wet material, air dry the cavity, then whip up some resin with chopped strand, pack it in. You could also prefab a board, maybe a piece of 1/2 or 3/4 plywood 4-6 wide and cut to the opening, fasten a wider strip on the end grain, cover the strip with masking tape or mold release and clamp it in place against the filler. Alternate material would be aluminum channel or square tube, but still needs to be waxed/mold released. It will mold the surface, be better looking if exposed permanently and avoid grinding and filling. Only problem is you probably will need to do front & back first and then the two sides in order to accommodate the clamps.

Filling the void will solidify the bond between the deck and subdeck, and give a solid fastening base as well. You mentioned bolting the hatch- if you are installing a new alloy framed hatch (Lewmar, Bomar, etc.) be careful not to overtighten as it will distort frame. I think they are designed to be screwed in, but for offshore concerns bolting makes sense.

The void between the underside of the deck and the top side of the liner is typical. Once you have finished your new trip should cover the void.

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Old 10-31-2011
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flo, the plugs are also called "bungs" and new ones should be available through woodworking or sailing catalogues and stores. Some folks prefer to get a plug-cutting drill bit and make their own, but I don't think that would be worth the bother for you.

Those voids definitely need to be cleaned out, all the way back to solid dry material, and filled. You can find articles on that archived at the West Systems (epoxy) aka Gougeon Brothers web site, they provide generous free advice and technical support to anyone who calls, even in the planning stage before you've bought anything from anyone.

You might want to look into deck coring problems a bit more before you get into the project, though. If you are lucky, it is only rotted/delaminting in a limited area, within some inches of the hatch. If the damage is more extensive--it can become a huge project. A tap hammer or a moisture meter are the usual tools to figure that out, although since you have access at the hatch, you might try simply ramming in a length of wire rod (heavy coat hangar) to see how far it penetrates, and how far back the damage goes.
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Old 11-14-2011
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I pretty much finished filling the core void. The rot didn't extend too far, at worst it was around 5 inches in one corner. I did quite a sloppy job I'm afraid and got some epoxy rain down on me but I guess that's how you learn. It's all filled up though and I hope that the repair will last. I am rushing before the rainy season settles in and I only have week-ends to work on it.

I guess my concern was less with the liner void and more with the big cloth that is not so well laminated and kind of dry. Also, is there a way to know what composes layers of the laminate (roving, chopped fibers etc...) by just looking at it?
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