Questions on restoring deck on 1974 Laser - Pic Heavy - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 07-09-2011
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Questions on restoring deck on 1974 Laser - Pic Heavy

I am pretty excited since I just got home with a new to me 1974 Laser. My 30-ish word story is I sailed a bit with my Dad on his laser when I was in high school (1983-ish) and thought it was kinda cool. 5 years after that, me and my brother took out my Dad's O'Day 14 and ripped up and down a lake in Traverse City. Whoa, the bug was set!

Two weeks ago, I found a older Snark Sunflower 3.3 leaning on a tree with a sign....$30! I left the owner $30 and within 5 minutes of getting home was in 7th heaven and I'm still smiling from the 2 day experience. Not to be complacent, 9 days after buying and sailing the Snark, my Dad encouraged me to get a Laser and have a blast.

Well, as you all know they are hard to find. There were about 6-8 listings in the Michigan/Ohio/Ill area and I kinda became obsessed with finding one. Well, I found one. The description on CL was POS boat with nice trailer, centerboard, tiller and 2 worn sails. Oh yea, it was $500. Hmmmm. I looked at it and got freaked out since it looks like HELL. The previous, previous owner (PPO) apparently had great intentions of re-doing the deck and went at it with a sander and did some "bondo" work and added 2 structural pieces with plywood. I just got it home and, again, I am a bit overwhelmed. The PO I got it from had it for about 5 years and didn't touch it. He was a fantastic guy with a ton of sailing history and rebuilding of wooden boats (Thistles) and was as helpful as he could have been.

Here is his suggestion - excuse the lack of sophistication of the terms, I am learning.

Step 1. Sand the roughed-up bondo sections and and the really bad spots on the sides of the deck (where you would sit) and the area aft of the cockpit where the traveler would go. Do the same to the tip of the bow of the boat.

Step 2. Prep the above sections for fiberglass by wiping down with acetone. Lay a single layer of 6oz glass on the boat, dry, to the areas mentioned above and squeegee in resin and work outwards towards the gunwale. Get all small bubbles out and let it set.

Step 3. Fill in the newly glassed areas with light farring compund and sand when dry to a nice smooth finish to give the entire glassed area a smooth finish.

Step 4. Make sure the rest of the boat is smooth, prepare the entire deck area for paint and paint it - add in some of the Behr traction sand to give the paint some bite.

Does this sound reasonable? I do not have experience with glassing, but I am a quick learner.

Does 60z seem the right weight for the glass?
What specific epoxy do you suggest for the glassing? West 105 Epoxy and 206 slow hardener?
What about the filler - how about West 410 Microlite filler?


I will not race this in an official race. I am a bit competitive and do have an interest but I know for a true, sanctioned race I would not be able to compete. Perhaps I'll find some friendly (lol) non-sanctioned races locally. But, aside from the extra weight, can I legally race?

Anyhow - I have learned a lot from this site by lurking and REALLY appreciate everyone's input and advice!!! The hardware is only screwed in temporarily. The decks itself, is not very soft and has little flex.

Here are some pics of the boat - I think there is some great potential.
The hardware is only screwed in temporarily. The decks itself, is not very soft and has little flex.








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Old 07-09-2011
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If you're still in the TC area, why not get ahold of Tom Babel via the GTYC? If he doesn't know, he'll know someone who does. Also contact Gougeon Bros. directly. They're in Bay City.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puddinlegs View Post
If you're still in the TC area, why not get ahold of Tom Babel via the GTYC? If he doesn't know, he'll know someone who does. Also contact Gougeon Bros. directly. They're in Bay City.
Thanks Puddinlegs, I am actually from the Detroit area. There is a laser hull listed in Dexter on CL for $100 with a soft hull, but the guy will not respond to my emails, it may be sold.

Thanks again - I do go up north and will check out Gougeon Bros.

Mike
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I guess my biggest question is, since the PO sanded down the fiberglass creating low spots in the areas of concern (where the foam inner is poking through) is it okay to glass over the foam inner or do I need to cut sections out and add new inner material.
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I have to say $500 for a laser in this condition is very steep. Please tell me you didn't pay that much....well, here are some random thoughts.

The good news - the mast step looks solid. Those can be a pain to repair. The easy way to tell is to fill it up with water, and see if it drains out....

I was going to suggest simply painting, but having taken a closer look at your photos it looks like re-glassing will be needed. The foam core is so thin I would not bother to cut it out; glassing over it should be fine. You probably need a couple of layers of cloth. A good preparation will be key. Spend solid time up front ensuring the surface is totally clean, major voids are filled (if necessary with a few layers of fibreglass for a big hole). Dig out any loose/weak 'bondo' work. Where things are screwed in - cleats, fairleads, etc consider expoxying reinforcement - such as plywood - to give the screws something to bite in to.

Your process looks good; you may want to have a helper to mix up the resin, so you can put it on in smaller areas, roll out bubbles, add the next section without stopping to remake resin. REmember you need a special roller or plastic scraper to squeeze most of the epoxy out of the cloth - the cloth should not be dry (white and shiny), but neither should there be pools of excess epoxy! One big sheet of cloth could be a lot to handle, you may want to think of adding smaller, more manageable sections (with a reasonable overlap.

I would suggest a number of layers of thinner sheets.

Fibreglass is awesome stuff, and pretty easy to handle, so take it slow. Remember, don't add more than 2-3 layers in one go, or it will get hot and distort. When dry, you can use a variety of compounds to fill and fair. Personally I like a 2-part fairing compound for final (detailed) fairing. I would use epoxy filler for medium-size problems like holes, and cloth for larger depressions or structural problems.

In my experience the areas which get the most abuse are the bow (bumping into things), the painter "cleat" (which looks ripped out and badly replaced in the photos), and the decks on either side of the cockpit where you sit. The stern - where the rope traveler lies - I have not seen as a problem area. The most common failure area, as previously mentioned, is the mast step.

I notice you have a few items of hardware apparently missing; the hiking strap is one you will almost certainly need! So check you have solid screw-holes for that.
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Hope you didn't pay $500 for it, but in as you now have it.. why not do it right? Before you go adding layer after layer of cloth and before you rip off the top layers of the deck. About every foot or two across the deck lay a board on edge and draw the curve of the deck and cut them so you can support the deck from the underside. Because it's a small boat it would be easier to re-deck then fix the old and adding too much weight topsides. New foam core is not expensive and by time you mess with plywood and too many layers of cloth to make it rigid, it will be stronger and lighter with the foam core. Keep in mind the curve and glass on bottom (inside) of the deck is what gives it strength.

It's not apparent in the photos but it may be even easier to take the deck off the hull and reinforce if from the inside. IF you can get the hull to deck joint apart.
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Dang - this is some great advice! I really feel bad now that I paid that much. My only thought was that the trailer is a really nice trailer, however a 1971. It has two sails, one nice and one that may be the original.

The centerboard is newer and is the newer white centerboards. Also, I think I have all the hardware. Some are in bags, they were removed quite awhile ago. Also, the mast step does indeed hold water so that was another consideration I thought of when paying the $500.

In my mind, I enjoy working on these type projects and with $100 - $200 in materials and missing hardware I will have a nice, freshly painted boat for $700. You can't touch a Laser in this area for under $900 - without a trailer.

Paul - does my material list look appropriate? Copied from my original post.

Does 6 oz seem the right weight for the glass?
What specific epoxy do you suggest for the glassing? West 105 Epoxy and 206 slow hardener?
What about the filler - how about West 410 Microlite filler?
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Use this;
WEST SYSTEM | Epoxy Hardeners - 207 Special Coating Hardener

6 oz fabric right for what your doing.

your welcome
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Old 07-09-2011
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Good luck with your project. It looks like alot of fun!
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