Join Date: Jun 2012
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Re: Spongey Deck-Converted to Anchor Locker
Today I focused on resolving all the issues with the old balsa core/mush. Dug and dug from the edge cut with the saw blade earlier. Finally broke down and had to fabricate two "Tools" to help speed things up. Wanted to do it manually as a power tool like a Sawzall can do a lot of damage quick if you slip up just once. Located some 3/8 inch plywood that fit the existing core thickness perfectly and was really 3/8 "and not some rounded off value like a lot of materials tend to be today. Then I had to cut each piece to fill the void under the deck where the balsa rotted out. Then I used a table saw to cut "Kerfs" on the plywood while keeping a ply or two to keep the piece together still. Kerfs don't need to be perfect but are important to allow the plywood to bend easily to follow the existing contours of the deck. Without the kerfs, the plywood had to be forced into the slot and the deck looked wacky with the plywood in it. I hope the term Kerf is correct!!! I think thats what the pros call it. Drywall guys use this for arches I think.... The piece pictured is the smallest of them all about 12 x 4
Anyhow, I then coated the piece with epoxy, and I will re-coat each piece heavily as I slide it into the vacant area to be filled. I was tempted to try other methods but I have two bow cleats that will be bolted to my repair area and don't want a weak spot waiting to pop out at the worst possible time. So I went with the plywood. To make things easier, I broke down the repair into smaller sections in order to make it easier to insert the plywood. It will all be glued by the epoxy and fiberglass on each side. The repaired areas should be stringer than the original balsa core deck. So while all this is going on I am still waiting on the area under the top layer of the deck to finally dry out. Still pulling out damp balsa today and my boat has not seen any water for almost 5 weeks. It was a real mess under there after all. To dry the area faster I rigged up an old muffin fan and hung it upside down blowing the 95 degree shop air into the gap. The heat in the shop has been brutal lately but hey, I'm losing pounds I wanted to and my epoxy cures fast when I need it to, so there!!! Will not do any more work until I find no remaining moisture. I would say I am replacing almost 3 square feet of core at this time., not counting the lid to the anchor locker still. A slow process, but worth it. Here are some assorted pix of the kerfs, tools, fan...