Does this have a core or is it molded? - SailNet Community
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 10-22-2019 Thread Starter
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Does this have a core or is it molded?

I have already removed one piece of the cabin top and cleaned out the rotten core. I want to continue by removing the fiberglass over the companionway. I need to cut to the outside of the tracks that the companionway cover slides on. My concern is how hard it will be too remove the fiberglass here. I know that when I removed the fiberglass skin under the mast, it was very hard to get it to release in places that were not delaminated and not rotten. I think it would be almost impossible to get the fiberglass to release if this piece is molded over a piece of wood. So I am asking anyone here if they know if the tracks are molded over a wood core or if they maybe were pre-molded and then fiberglassed into place and are hollow?

If you had to remove the plywood under this area and you are pretty sure that the rot goes under these tracks, how would you go about it?

BTW, this is on a Helms 24.

thanks,
Corbett
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post #2 of 8 Old 03-09-2020
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Hi Corbett,

Unfortunately I don't have a great answer for you. Maybe you have already discovered for yourself.

I have a 1972 Helms 25 and I haven't even began to re-core above the cabin. Funny though my area around the mast is also very solid and relatively dry when I check with a moisture meter. My theory is that there was/is a thin "barrier" of resin between sections of plywood which extends between the upper and lower layers of fiberglass. If there's rot in one section it's not likely to make it through unless the "barrier" is incomplete or had air pockets. I encountered this when I tore off my port and starboard decks on either side of the cabin. Rot very clearly halted at a very specific point between sections of plywood, where it was also nearly impossible to remove the outter layer of fiberglass. Next time I'll measure with the moisture meter and tap for acoustics to mark and cut. If I may I suggest, try to do the same if you plan on doing a lot more core work like I am, it'll save the headache, and fingers, of tearing off those difficult areas that don't need it to begin with.

I am curious what you find around the hatch area and companionwway opening. I'm sure they will be somewhat similar. Before I jump to those areas though I need to do extensive repairs around where I'm currently recoring. The gunwales under the jib sheet travellers are in very rough shape. To get these off I need to crawl into the bilge areas and have someone unscrew them up top while I hold the nuts inside, there's only 1 screw every foot or so front to back...for about 15 feet. I'll have to think small next weekend and or drink a bottle of potion that says drink me....or was it the mushrooms that said eat me that made Alice small... Anyway, once I get those off, the glass under them repaired and the side decks done, I'll be ready for the top.

I figured I'd focus on the areas that keep the mast and sails up first. The chain plates inside the cabin started pulling through those side decks! I almost crapped my pants when I first noticed.
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post #3 of 8 Old 03-09-2020
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Re: Does this have a core or is it molded?

Can you drill with a small diameter hole saw or large drill bit. Do it slowly and stop at different levels and analyze the core / debris sample?


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post #4 of 8 Old 03-09-2020
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That's a great idea Chef. I'll be putting that to practice.
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Re: Does this have a core or is it molded?

Good show
My dads first sailboat was a brand new Helms 27.


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post #6 of 8 Old 03-19-2020 Thread Starter
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Re: Does this have a core or is it molded?

Here is a picture of what I found when I cut the rails off my Helm's 24. It popped right off with no issues because the core was rotten below it.

I have finished most of this project and removed a section of the outer skin that is about 6 feet by 3 feet. It was all rotten plywood. Like Tom said, there was a clear barrier of epoxy between the plywood and the balsa wood that is used on the curved parts of the cabin top.

Corbett
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post #7 of 8 Old 03-19-2020 Thread Starter
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Re: Does this have a core or is it molded?

I ended up taking my roof off in two pieces. I did not know the plywood went as far as it did..... This is the second 3x3 piece, it is flipped over and laying on the other 3x3 piece that was previously removed. You can see how pretty the rotten plywood looked, but the nice thing was that it stopped near the edges and the rot did not get into the balsa wood at all. There was a clear barrier between the plywood and the balsa that saved a lot of damage. When I removed the previous piece, I went to wide and had to fight with the great adhesion that it had between the balsa and the fiberglass skin. So I cut this one a little smaller....

As you can see from the second pic, it cleaned up real nice. I was able to put a new piece of plywood in and re-use the old skin. Right now I have the skin epoxied down, but I have not beveled the edges and fiber-glassed the seam. That should happen as soon as the weather breaks.
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post #8 of 8 Old 03-26-2020
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Great work! Looking like progress.

I'll be doing this exact same thing shortly. I've got a great idea of what to expect when I get to it too. Appreciate the updates!
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