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Old 03-08-2009
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Deck repair

When I bought KJ, I had a surveyor check out the deck and hull since I was buying sight unseen so I would be sure I didn't have a wet deck core issue. A small area around the pulpit railing connection points showed moist not wet and there were some stress cracks in the gelcoat around the connection points also. Understandable for a 1976 boat. When I got KJ in the water and learned more about deck issues, I noticed a slight give under foot in the foredeck aft of the small forward hatch and out 6" on each side. This winter I purchased a moisture meter and sure enough it shows this area as wet. The water was coming from the hinge's through bolts for the deck hatch, so check yours. Cutting up the top or bottom layer of deck is out of the question for this small area, so I decided to add a deck fill assembly at each location for access to the core. You know, fuel, water or waste. I choose waste so no one would put liquids in the boat by mistake. I'm installing one centered between the pulpits aft connection points to the deck. This is a high spot and will give me good access. I will also use it as a rope pipe for my anchor rode. My kids sit up there so I wanted a flat surface, thus not a standard rope pipe. The rode will go into a plastic pan in the forward vee birth. The second deck fill will go centered aft of the hatch and centered between the hatch and the cabin rise. This fill fitting will be cur short and not penetrate the inner linner. Just a means to access the core. A glass pro could repair the hole later if needed. The fitting is my solution.
My logic is that I can pull out all the old wet balsa from these access points, dry out the void and pour epoxy from this highest elevation to fill the void and make the deck solid. I'm also opening the through bolt holes for potting and can gain access to the core form there.
The tools for core removal are long flexible scroll saw blades (These work very well in the limited access of the enlarged 1/2" bolt holes), a drywall keyhole saw (works the best), a car SS antenna in a drill with the tip bent 1/8" to tear up the balsa and hacksaw blades (these work well because the teeth are backwards and pull the material toward the hole. Here are some pictures of what I've done so far this weekend.



This shows the pulpit hole locations and my new rope pipe hole.









Here are pictures of the core removed from the rope pipe hole and the void extends down to each pulpit connection pint.





Note the length of the keyhole saw blade and the depth of core balsa removal.



Next are pictures of balsa removal via the deck fill hole I made aft of the hatch. The balsa was very wet and disintegrated in this area.





I have most of the bad balsa removed now and I'm drying the area with air tubes in each hole from and aquarium pump and my shop compressor using a regulator. I have small vinyl tubes in each hole. The compressor set up works best due to the higher volume of air. I have 4 heat lamps heating the deck and have poured distilled alcohol in the void to absorb the moisture faster. This will stay this way for at least 3 weeks or until I get dry readings. Then I'm pouring Mas Epoxy and filling up the voids. I'm using Mas because it doesn't thermally overheat with largeer volumes of epoxy as it cures, no blush incase i have to do two steps, its thin and its flexible when cured.

I'll keep you updated.
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Rehoboth Bay/Indian River, DE
S/Y KJ, Helms 25
1976 #552
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Old 03-09-2009
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Impressive Wayne! That's a very creative and unique approach to repairing a wet core. The foredeck on my boat has some soft spots too, though I didn't and don't plan to repair them at this point. I removed and rebedded all my deckhardware when I purchased the boat so I'm confident no new water is getting in, but that doesn't take care of the damage and wetness that's in there now.

Thanks for sharing the pictures. Between you and David, the rest of Helms 25ers are getting some unique looks at the details of our boats.
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Old 03-10-2009
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Just a small detail I know, but if you are using compressed air, go to your local auto parts store and buy a inline air dryer. Automotive painters use these to ensure no moisture is transfered in the compressed air, also drain it and your tank at your compressor often.
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Old 03-10-2009
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Capnblu:
Thanks for the info. I have a fin condenser before my tank and an inline water and oil separator after the tank. It's not a refrigeration dryer or a descant dryer. Those cost a lot of $$$. I was thinking of using nitrogen which is very good for dying, but I don't have the tank/regulator set up, so I'll stick with compressed air.
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Old 03-10-2009
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Wayne, if you wanna have some fun with this repair... Go to your local refrigerator repairman, tell him you want a regular refigerator compressor, emptied. this is not an actual compressor, but a vacuum pump. thread some fittings to those nice holes youve already drilled, and connect up that vinyl hose you got there. clamp off all hoses (vice grips work best) and plug all holes so that you can draw a vacuum on one of the vinyl hoses. Place the other end into your mixed epoxy, and let off the clamp...magic...the epoxy should be drawn down the hose, into the deck void! When the epoxy shows up at the vacuum hole, clamp it off and proceed to the next hole. I would measure the total area of repair, and estimate the quantity of epoxy you will need. I would test a quantity of epoxy the aprox. thickness and area, to get a good idea of the heat it WILL generate when it kicks. Monitor the heat when you do your repair, this stuff can get smokin hot, FAST!
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Old 03-10-2009
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Ah, vacuum bagging. Good idea. I was using gravity to do the job. Thus the hole at the high points. I'm using Mas epoxy which doesn't have a heat problem when curing. Thanks for the input.
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