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Old 08-05-2012
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Junk in Deck Laminate

I have a question for the members with fiberglass laminating experience. I have been doing some spot recoring of the deck of my Columbia 43. The deck is partly plywood and partly balsa core. Yesterday I cut open a 6" square piece of the top skin where it sounded "punky" and found bone dry plywood core but also a piece of 12 gauge insulated wire laminated in between the core and the top skin. It extended past the opening in both directions so I don't know how long it is or where it goes. The reason the spot sounded punky was because a small loop of the wire had prevented the laminate from sticking tight to the core - it had left a small void where a pool of resin had gathered.

Has anyone ever run across this? Does anyone have any idea if it was done on purpose? I can't see how it could happen accidentally since the core had to be laid in the mould on top of it.

Any ideas?

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Old 08-05-2012
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Re: Junk in Deck Laminate

Just a wild guess here, but maybe a ground wire in the bonding circuit?
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Old 08-05-2012
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Re: Junk in Deck Laminate

Bonding wire, power to nav lights, whatever. It is not unusual, or at least was not unusual, for maufacturers to simply glass over wires that way instead of going to the expense of running a channel or wire mold.

If you don't have anything better, a lot of smartphones can use free software to work as metal/magnetic field detectors. You may be able to trace the wire that way. Or, cut it as see what dies.
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Old 08-05-2012
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Re: Junk in Deck Laminate

Odd - wires would run on the underside of deck

Send a note to Columbia and ask
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Re: Junk in Deck Laminate

Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
or, cut it as see what dies.
I like the way you think.
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Old 08-05-2012
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Re: Junk in Deck Laminate

Laminating rooms aint quite as sterile as operating rooms. We've found all kinds of contaminates in between layers of fiberglass. The most common is perspiration. Once, when peeling layers of gel coat and skimcoat (CSM) away from the structural layer (24 oz roving) we actually smelled that unmistakable odor of B.O.! Incredible, I know, but I looked into it and the boat was laminated in Florida in August. And the CSM/gel coat layer came away from the 24 oz roving without any great effort, so........
The funniest part about this is when potential buyers complain about seeing sunlight through the side of the hull. But after doing this for a long time I can tell you that when light doesn't pass through a laminate, something went wrong. Good and proper glass work is damn near clear. In fact, Monday morning, i'm returning a roll of 17.08 bi-ax because it doesn't laminate clear with epoxy, meaning it has a styrene soluble binder - no styrene in epoxy. WHOOPS!
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