Stuck floor hatch PSC 34 - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 06-26-2011
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Stuck floor hatch PSC 34

Hi folks,

I spent more than an hour today trying to lift the floor hatch in the main salon of our 34' Pacific Seacraft. It is under our table and has two finger holds. The aft one is round (without a latch) and the forward one is rectangular and rotates to unlatch (I think).

I suspect my problem is simple swelling of the wood binds the sides of the hatch. However, I used leavers, brute force and even a line that I twisted to create vertical pull without success.

Have any of you had such stuck wooden hatches? Is there a solution to this problem (literally or figuratively)?

Bob Steneck
PSC 34' "Alaria"
Christmas Cove, Maine
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Old 06-27-2011
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Bob, Try carefully using a razor knife to cut the joint around the hatch. Maybe someone varnished the cabin sole as in my case and varnish is stuck in the joint?
John S
PSC 34 # 201
Norstar
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Old 06-27-2011
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I had the same problem and decided the problem was they were two close to each other. I forced a shim between the two boards to push them away from each other. Then used a lever to pull one up. After I had them up a cleaned all the joints really well and now they come up pretty easy. If you have a dehumidifier or AC, run it for a week before you try to reduce the swelling of the wood. This will make your life much easier.
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Old 06-27-2011
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Bob, if those tricks don't lift it clear, you can take a wood toggle on a bit of line (like you'd see buttoning a classic stadium jacket), push the toggle through the hole, and then put your back into lifting on that line.

It almost always is a problem of the wood getting damp and expanding, and if you sand it down a little magically the opposite happens and the board never stays put again.

Floor boards really need to be sealed on all six sides (top, bottom, and the edges) or they'll find a way to change size on you. Or, you install them a little loose and use slides or pulls that can secure them down.
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Old 06-27-2011
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HI Folks,

Thanks for those suggestions. I did try to run my knife along the edge but maybe a razor blade is a better tool. But as they say in Maine, "it's tighter than bark to a tree.

RainDog - I'm wondering where you drive the shim. It is least tight for and aft but I still do not have a gap. I played with a screw driver but saw that was going to become a ding and I quit.

I do have a wood toggle that I used as a lever but without success. The wood bowed but did not pop out.

Have any of you ever considered using a penetrating oil to loosen the stuck edges? Or will that make it worse? If I ever get this unstuck, I will sand them for this summer and then sand and varnish them for next year.

Bob
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Old 06-28-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steneck View Post
RainDog - I'm wondering where you drive the shim. It is least tight for and aft but I still do not have a gap. I played with a screw driver but saw that was going to become a ding and I quit.
I used something similar to this: Craftsman 13-1/2 in. Pry Bar Reviews - Craftsman Community and force it between the two boards. The goal is just to push them apart so there is a small gap between the two floor boards.

After I am done with this, I stick a 2 foot screwdriver through the finger hold and use it as a lever to lift the board.
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Last edited by RainDog; 06-28-2011 at 09:22 AM.
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Old 06-28-2011
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Roger that

Thanks RainDog,

I have one of those at home and will give it a try. Looks like the wide edge will be less likely to ding than a screw driver.

Bob
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Old 06-29-2011
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RainDog - The pry bar worked. Thanks for the tip.

Bob
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Old 06-30-2011
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You already got it out, so this info may not be for you, but for anyone else with a stuck floor board:

First, try closing up the boat if you have time and put in a dehumidifier and let her run. It may reduce the moisture content enough to manually pull out without scarring the floor. Also, check your rigging. If you have recently tuned the shrouds, you may have flexed the hull to the point you have pinched the boards. Had this happen on a Tayana, Tartan, and a few other boats.

Brian
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Old 07-01-2011
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I have had and solved this problem. It is due to humidity swelling the boards. For a while, I removed the stuck boards using a sail tie, in a loop, with a carabiner attached. I put the carabiner on the finger pull of the floor board and the sail tie around my hips and then by squatting and doing a quick leg press, popped the board out.

Finally, I used a hand plane and planed the edges down and then sealed them with epoxy and the boards no longer stick.
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