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Tremendous Slouch
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Replacing the bulkheads on my '74 Ranger 23 and after researching various plywoods I've decided on BS1088 Meranti (first choice was sapele but price and availability dictate otherwise).

I'm currently in central Florida and haven't found any local retailers carrying a supply so I plan on ordering from http://www.boulterplywood.com/MarinePlywood_4.htm
If anyone has experience with ordering from them I'd like feedback in addition to any other recommendations.

On to my main question, can BS1088 be installed "as is" or does it require a coat of epoxy to protect it from the elements? While we're here, links to instructables/resources would be appreciated, thanks in advance.
 

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I'm kind of confused because Florida is the boating capital of the world.
Boulters is located in Somerville, MA. I'd look a little harder into obtaining your material locally, it'll be cheaper in the long run. Just saying.
 

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baDumbumbum
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Assume you plan to glass these bulkheads to the hull using epoxy resin? If so, you are gonna get epoxy all over the wood anyhow -- tabbing is a messy affair. So I'd advise rolling a coat of epoxy over the entire bulkhead as the last step. It seals the wood, helps fill the 'doghair' grain of the Merenti (which is just a trade name for Philippine mahogany), and imparts a nice amber color to the bulkhead. You'l want to wet out the tabbed areas before applying glass; that's a good time to hit the exposed edges with some neat epoxy. Plywood usually fails at the edges. And for tabbing, I highly recommend 1708 (18oz nominal) biaxial tape. We used 6" width (+/- 45 degree bias) with stitched mat backer. It was very nice to handle, conforming well to hull curves and building fast. Two layers of biax topped with two of 10oz 4"w, overlapped in the corner.

Here is Hood Distribution for plywood, which has a location in Apopka. We buy our epoxy & fabric from US Composites, also in Florida. I like the balance of their epoxy & it is easy to mix by weight: 32g hardener per 100g resin (for medium speed/thin.)
 

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baDumbumbum
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Here's the major bulkhead tabbed in. It is the original African mahogany (khaya) ply and hasn't been epoxy painted yet; we still have some overhead epoxy work to do.

done

On the left you can see a smaller Merenti bulkhead (sistered to a yet-smaller mahogany bulkhead); that's 19mm Hydrotek, and it has been epoxy painted, so that's what it looks like. We'll be varnishing and/or painting all bulkheads eventually. If using a roller and you get bubbles, you can tip them off with a chip brush or a plastic scraper. Or play a propane torch lightly over the surface -- that's a spooky but effective way to pop epoxy bubbles. :D

ETA: When purchasing discount epoxy, be aware the pumps these discounters sell are NOT (repeat NOT) generally metered pumps. Users of WEST or MAS pumps are accustomed to 1 pump resin/1 pump hardener, with the pumps themselves dispensing (more or less) accurate portions. The pumps sold by US Composites, or Aeromarine, or other similar stores require you to count strokes: 3 resin/1 hardener, etc. This gets confusing when using different hardeners with different ratios, and it means you often end up with larger batches than you really want. Personally, I'm totally sold on mixing by weight as faster and more accurate than pumps or measuring cups, and you can mix as much or as little as you like. A cheapo electronic kitchen scale that reads in grams is killer for this. !00g/32g. 50g/16g. 15g/scant 5g. It's a good idea to label the hardeners with their ratios, and by weight is not always the same as by volume. The manufacturer will have the correct weight ratios for you.
 

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Be sure to create a gap between the bulkhead and the hull with foam to avoud hard spots. This is especially important on structural bulkheads.

A good fillet of thickened epoxy where the bulkhead joins the hull will make it easier to tape.
 

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Dirt Free
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Be sure to create a gap between the bulkhead and the hull with foam to avoud hard spots. This is especially important on structural bulkheads.

A good fillet of thickened epoxy where the bulkhead joins the hull will make it easier to tape.
and add a fillet for a much stronger joint. Also each layer of glass should be wider than the last.
 

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Tremendous Slouch
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Great info guys, you're amazing. Reading through forums and blogs I've noticed people like to put 3 or so coats of epoxy on the face and more on the edges. Approximately how thick is a coat of epoxy? I only have a 1/2" slot to slide my bulkhead into, should I opt for 3/8" ply and make up the remainder with epoxy?

Called Hood, they only sell wholesale and informed me that hardly anyone carries BS1088, is there anything else you guys would recommend? I'm going to be making calls tomorrow so I'd like to make a list of comparable items to ask for.
 

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I have been using BS1088 6mm (1/4) Okoume for my interior projects with great success. The 6mm (five ply) still flexes enough for me to fit it in tight places. If I need a thicker piece, I will epoxy two quarters together. I use Smith's CPES prior to primer, epoxy or varnish depending on the application.

World Panel Products: Marine Plywood & Teak has a warehouse just north of Palm Beach. They do carry Meranti and ship via R&L carriers at very reasonable prices. I can order and get my wood the next day here in N. Florida.

Also, you can buy just what you need. I believe shipping one to ten 4X8 sheets is about the same $ so plan accordingly.
 

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Here's the major bulkhead tabbed in. It is the original African mahogany (khaya) ply and hasn't been epoxy painted yet; we still have some overhead epoxy work to do.

done

On the left you can see a smaller Merenti bulkhead (sistered to a yet-smaller mahogany bulkhead); that's 19mm Hydrotek, and it has been epoxy painted, so that's what it looks like. We'll be varnishing and/or painting all bulkheads eventually. If using a roller and you get bubbles, you can tip them off with a chip brush or a plastic scraper. Or play a propane torch lightly over the surface -- that's a spooky but effective way to pop epoxy bubbles. :D

ETA: When purchasing discount epoxy, be aware the pumps these discounters sell are NOT (repeat NOT) generally metered pumps. Users of WEST or MAS pumps are accustomed to 1 pump resin/1 pump hardener, with the pumps themselves dispensing (more or less) accurate portions. The pumps sold by US Composites, or Aeromarine, or other similar stores require you to count strokes: 3 resin/1 hardener, etc. This gets confusing when using different hardeners with different ratios, and it means you often end up with larger batches than you really want. Personally, I'm totally sold on mixing by weight as faster and more accurate than pumps or measuring cups, and you can mix as much or as little as you like. A cheapo electronic kitchen scale that reads in grams is killer for this. !00g/32g. 50g/16g. 15g/scant 5g. It's a good idea to label the hardeners with their ratios, and by weight is not always the same as by volume. The manufacturer will have the correct weight ratios for you.
When you refit a boat, you don't mess about, do you?
 

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baDumbumbum
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When you refit a boat, you don't mess about, do you?
:laugher It gets worse. There are a few other Ballad owners who literally took out every piece of internal furniture, sanded & painted the interior, and built it back up using all new materials. Check out this refit, on a boat pulled out of the weeds. He's set a benchmark for the rest of us. Not that Ballads suck particularly & need this drastic of a gutting, but they are so darned easy to take apart. A screwdriver & wrench will have you down to bare hull in an afternoon.:p

As for the rebuild.... We have a luxury the builder & previous owners may not have had: time. All the time in the world. Boat's parked behind my cabinet shop, easy to get at; it's not costing us anything to store; and we aren't ready to cruise for a couple more years. It must be much harder to refit a boat that's far away, or parked in a crowded yard, or dinging you $250 a month storage, or under pressure of a schedule.

It's a hobby, it keeps your brain working, and it's a way of honoring these old boats we love & resetting their clocks for another forty years on the water.:)
 
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