Bulkhead repairs - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 9 Old 03-21-2019 Thread Starter
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Bulkhead repairs

Hey all,

I am in the middle of a few projects aboard my 42ft sailboat. One of which is to design and install a new windlass. Of course with many projects, one project uncovers 3 other issues that need to be done.

As is the case with me, the anchor locker bulkhead is in need of replacement. That in turn, has lead me to find a floor string that is rotted, the plywood subfloor in the v-birth and the hallway just aft of the v-birth leading into the head has become rotted, as well as the bulkhead that separates the head and the settee, has started to rot(and in turn the playwood layers pulling apart). It all seems(still investigating) that it is starting right about where the fiberglass shower pan top butts up against the bulkhead and goes all the way down into the bilge.

That being said, I can't replace the entire bulkhead in one go as its impossible to get a sheet of plywood that large or even get a full sheet down below.

My plan as of right now would be as follows:
1: Pull cabinetry out of head(sink/cabinets/countertop)
2: Remove shower pan
3: Remove subfloor below the shower pan that is also rotted(including flooring from hallway and v-birth as its all connected)
4: Cut above the rotted plywood from the head side(possibly requiring me to remove the head side tabbing to remove the section in one piece)
5: Using removed section to create new bulkhead section
6: Butt joint the new lower section of the bulkhead in place(butt joint will be on the top and potentially side where it leads to a good section of bulkhead)
7: Repeat the process from 1 to 6 for the opposite side of the head where hanging locker exists if needed
8: Using thickened epoxy to smoosh the new plywood section against the existing tabbing structure
9: Tabb it all back together on the head side and put everything back together(while rebuilding any new pieces).

I will be using West Systems Epoxy, will definitely seal the ends of the plywood, but may also sheath the entire section in 6oz cloth(if need/recommened).

I was thinking of using West 405 as a filler for the backside of the ply to smoosh in place(step 8)? Is West 407 (colloidal silica) better for this? What about the butt joint? I was thinking i'd run some sort of tabbing over the joint that would be about 6-8 inches wide on one side to create a mechanical bond while maying adding a small fillet of thickened epoxy in the joint before placing it in as a means to increase strength?

Does anyone have any recommendations, or have they done this on a larger(38+ sized vessel)? What are your thoughts on my plan?
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post #2 of 9 Old 03-21-2019
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Re: Bulkhead repairs

You may want to be careful about removing too much stuff at once. There's a reason that they replace ribs in old wooden boats one at a time. Filleting is a good idea, prior to tabbing. Read the Gougeon's book on boat construction if you haven't already. It will tell you what should work best for just about every application.
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post #3 of 9 Old 03-21-2019
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Re: Bulkhead repairs

Pics would really help to answer your question !
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post #4 of 9 Old 03-21-2019 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulk View Post
You may want to be careful about removing too much stuff at once. There's a reason that they replace ribs in old wooden boats one at a time. Filleting is a good idea, prior to tabbing. Read the Gougeon's book on boat construction if you haven't already. It will tell you what should work best for just about every application.
The subflooring I was mentioning is a the plywood floor covered in teak & holly. The teak and holly in most areas is still good while the plywood is rotted(the area under the shower pan is just plywood and is rotted. This plywood is then resting on the floor stringers. Surprisingly the plywood under the shower pan is not supporting anything(hole cut out around sump area).

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Originally Posted by mike dryver View Post
Pics would really help to answer your question !
I live aboard full 5ime so will be easy to get photos
I will be at the boat later tonight as I have a few last minute meetings to go to but working from home tomorrow so will get some in the morning likely.

Thanks for the help all!
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post #5 of 9 Old 03-22-2019
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Re: Bulkhead repairs

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Originally Posted by chowdan View Post
The subflooring I was mentioning is a the plywood floor covered in teak & holly. The teak and holly in most areas is still good while the plywood is rotted(the area under the shower pan is just plywood and is rotted. This plywood is then resting on the floor stringers. Surprisingly the plywood under the shower pan is not supporting anything(hole cut out around sump area).
Thanks for clarifying. Saw the mention of "floor" and worried you were removing substructure out of the bilge, (the floors, which support the flooring) rather than substrate.

One idea for getting bulkheads re-installed might be to use thin (say 1/4 inch?) narrower pieces and overlap and layer them together in order to build up to the thickness you want, somewhat like building sawn frames in a wooden ship.
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Re: Bulkhead repairs

dan-
West has extensive white papers online, and their tech support folks will go over anything with anyone who calls. They'd like you to buy their stuff--but the support is free regardless of what you decide to do. Of course if you email pix to them, they can probably give you better answers.
When you can't replace a sheet (i.e. the bulkhead) in one piece, butt joints are generally frowned upon. They're the weakest possible joint, epoxy or not. You'd be better off bringing in pieces of 1/4" or 3/8" thick material, and laying them up overlapping each other, so that you created the new bulkhead out of overlapped layers of material, thoroughly epoxied to each other. That way there are no butt joints. Clamped, or vacuum bagged, so they are tightly bonded.
Check out 'Sail Life' 'Project Athena' for a youtuber who is doing extensive interior repairs on his new bold boat.
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post #7 of 9 Old 03-27-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Bulkhead repairs

I hadn't thought about using thinner sheets to build up the required thickness. Would you use the thinner sheets to do a scarfed joint to the existing section that has no rot or would this be only for replacing the entire bulkhead?

Ill have to reach out to west to see what they say! I had no idea they had CS support that could advise on such situations.

Hard to get good shots to show the area, but heres a few of what i've got(hopefully the upload works ok)
Attached Thumbnails
20190324_111745.jpg   20190324_111452.jpg   20190322_075320.jpg   20190322_075110.jpg   20190322_075024.jpg  

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Re: Bulkhead repairs

Dan-
West have been rather clever about tech support, probably 40+ years now. They figure, if they make the procedure easy for you (and they'll even generate a bill of materials for you) then you just MIGHT return the karma by buying their products and getting a one-stop solution.
I'd use the offset/overlaying panels to build up whatever portion of the bulkhead needed repair, and tie into whatever else there is by the strongest mechanical joint I could make--with epoxy making it stronger. In order to "clamp" the overlapping sections together, assuming long-reach clamps or vacuum bags just weren't convenient, they might recommend screws every 6" checkboard fashion, to ensure a tight bond. Which could be removed and plugged with bungs or filler afterward.
But they are the pros, whatever they suggest is pretty certain to be a proper solution.
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post #9 of 9 Old 03-28-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Bulkhead repairs

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Dan-
West have been rather clever about tech support, probably 40+ years now. They figure, if they make the procedure easy for you (and they'll even generate a bill of materials for you) then you just MIGHT return the karma by buying their products and getting a one-stop solution.
I'd use the offset/overlaying panels to build up whatever portion of the bulkhead needed repair, and tie into whatever else there is by the strongest mechanical joint I could make--with epoxy making it stronger. In order to "clamp" the overlapping sections together, assuming long-reach clamps or vacuum bags just weren't convenient, they might recommend screws every 6" checkboard fashion, to ensure a tight bond. Which could be removed and plugged with bungs or filler afterward.
But they are the pros, whatever they suggest is pretty certain to be a proper solution.
Thats pretty amazing. I love that methodology/business model/approach. I have used their products for a number of things, but debated about switching brands. Now I know they provide support in this manner, I am sold in that I want to support a company with this business model over others that are out just to sell a product and make a buck(of course they are too, but atleast they are helpful while doing it)

I've sent them an email so it'll be interesting to hear what they say and what they recommend! Thanks hellosailor for all the advice and letting me know they provide this type of support!
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