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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys!

So here's the thing, i purchased a Helms 25 last august and am in the process of pulling the deck hardware and rebedding all of it properly (butyl tape is awesome). The front railing however was sealed with what looks like aquarium grade silicone that did not stand the test of time AT ALL. I'm not sure what the extent of moisture damage to the deck core is, but i can only guess it's somewhat significant.

My question is, in your opinion, when does Git-Rot or similar penetrating epoxy stop being an option and the only remedy is to cut the outer skin and replace the core?
 

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If you have the experience go ahead and remove the skin and recore, if not hire it out. Git rot is not a product I care to use, I won't say crap but it creates more problems then it solves imo.
 

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The only proper way to do it is to remove the skin and replace core. Search for Caleb's posts about replacing core in his Tartan 27, not easy but not impossible. Keep in mind anything you "inject" is only going to make doing it right that much harder when you end up redoing it. Sounds like you are putting a lot of effort into the boat so do it right, not much different cost wise if you do it yourself. You can sound out the deck (should have done that before buying, but that is water under the bilge) to see how far the moisture goes. Tap it with a screw driver handle and you should be able to hear a different tone, the wet areas will sound dull rather than than the sharp sound of solid dry core. Not sure what the Helms uses for core, but you will want to match it at least thickness.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Before i purchased it i did feel around the entire deck to make sure there were no soft-spots or crazing to indicate delamination. I knew i was going to be rebedding the stanchion posts at the very least just because hardly any manufacturer does that right. For being built in 75 the boat is actually in pretty good shape, with all her sails still in what could be considered at least good condition. I purchased her for $1,250 including the trailer, so i was not too concerned about investing alot of man-hours due to the price.
 

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MPaul is spot on: open it up, remove the coring, etc.
If you desire to preserve the 'cosmetics', sometimes such repair can be performed from 'under' or from below the decking .... if you have the clearance needed.

Especially clean out all the 'biological' debris - the slimes and fungals that would prevent epoxy adhesion to the interior spaces of the core area, etc. If the bio-debris is not cleaned out, then there will be no assurance of a water tight / water vapor tight seal/bond to the interior surfaces - the reason that "Git-Rot", etc. is not usually an 'effective' remedy.
Once water has penetrated into a wood, etc. core, it carries a high probability that fungal spores have been included with the water ..... ROT that you must clean out to remove 'the biologicals', followed by a water tight seal or chemical bond to prevent the ingress of future 'biologicals'!
 

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Is it cored (might be solid glass)? Remove the part and investigate the holes, or drill a test hole. There should also be a difference in sound.

If no core, no problem.
 

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My boat is a 75, and I have some deck issues to be dealt with this spring, and I have decided my "cosmetic" solution will be Kiwi Grip over the repairs. I may end up with the whole deck covered with it! Kiwi Grip if you are not aware, is a textured anti skid paint that you can adjust the texture of. If Helms used plywood, you may have to pull out a bigger piece of core than you imagine, because of the nature of plywood is to allow water to seep along the ply. I believe Caleb used a honeycomb core material as core replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Is it cored (might be solid glass)? Remove the part and investigate the holes, or drill a test hole. There should also be a difference in sound.

If no core, no problem.
I'm 100% certain there is a core, i have pulled off the railings and using an Allen key in a power drill was able to bore out a space around the hole between the two sheets of glass. The wood that was bored out was extremely soft and mushy as i expected it would be. I believe from the bit of dry core that i bored out using the same method before rebedding the other stanchion posts the core material is either balsa or cork, probably balsa.
 

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Barquito
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If it where me, I would just open a hole big enough to do a proper re-bedding. Get it as dry as possible, fill it, and forget it. Maybe the deck wouldn't be as stiff as if you re-cored the whole area, but, doubt it will make much difference.
 

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Drill and fill is often denigrated. If you use the wrong stuff, like git rot, it may very well fail.

But...

Progressive Epoxy, based in New Hampshire, makes a penetrating epoxy that does work. I know, I did it 2 years ago very successfully. The difference in Progressive Epoxy Low V penetrating epoxy is that it has ZERO solvents. When you inject most epoxies into cavities, you get pockets of voids where the solvents collect and cant escape. Paul, at Progressive says he has had many reports of his Low V epoxy even working on wet wood. My core was dry. I drilled many exploratory holes in hidden spots to check and the wood was all dry. I drilled holes into the non-skid areas about 3" apart. I did an area about 18" X 6' and took about 3 months to get it done. I started at the low spot and injected a row of holes. Jumped up and down to keep it moving. Came back the next day and injected the same holes a second time. Some spots took 3 to 5 injections before I couldnt get anymore in. Then drill another row of holes above those and start over again. After it was all done, I painted the non-skid everywhere with kiwi grip.

If the area you are concerned with is small enough, put heat lamps on it and dry it out before you drill and fill. If its a large area that is wet, I would cut the non-skid areas out and remove all the wet core. Then make new core with divynacell and glass over with fiberglass layers to build it back up. If you are painting with kiwi grip, you dont need the old top layer of glass with the old non skid. The kiwigrip will blend just fine. I know, because I also had a wet area done this way by a pro before I painted all the non skid with the kiwi. No way can you tell where the reglassed deck is or the drill and fill area is vs the untouched nonskid.

2 years later now and both repaired areas are solid.

Paul at Progressive Epoxy is very very helpful. His products, and he has a lot of different epoxy formulas, are very popular in the wooden boat crowd. I have no affilation with Progressive other than a very happy repeat customer.
 

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HANUMAN
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Before tearing things apart you need to decide how deep the damage is. Honestly, if there is no delimitation or sponge like resistance, there is no "damage".

Pull the railing off and use a pick like tool to start digging out the wood around the bolt holes. Drill bigger holes if you want, you are going to fill it all with epoxy and then re-drill anyway. Some wood may be wet, but you may be surprised that you can find wood that is not soggy. If you can get out the mushy stuff and get to wood that might be damp but still healthy you are fine. Simply block the bottom and fill with thickened epoxy, then re-drill your holes.

It's a 40 year old sailboat, not tupperware, you WILL find damp wood. It's not the end of the world. Keep sailing.

Surveys, rubber mallets and moisture meters are important tools. Sometimes it gets overplayed. You have wet spot in your decks? And? How many boats in New England have decks that get a reading on the moisture meter and how many fall apart half way to Block Island every summer? Thousands and zero.
 

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Before tearing things apart you need to decide how deep the damage is. Honestly, if there is no delimitation or sponge like resistance, there is no "damage".

Pull the railing off and use a pick like tool to start digging out the wood around the bolt holes. Drill bigger holes if you want, you are going to fill it all with epoxy and then re-drill anyway. Some wood may be wet, but you may be surprised that you can find wood that is not soggy. If you can get out the mushy stuff and get to wood that might be damp but still healthy you are fine. Simply block the bottom and fill with thickened epoxy, then re-drill your holes.

It's a 40 year old sailboat, not tupperware, you WILL find damp wood. It's not the end of the world. Keep sailing.

Surveys, rubber mallets and moisture meters are important tools. Sometimes it gets overplayed. You have wet spot in your decks? And? How many boats in New England have decks that get a reading on the moisture meter and how many fall apart half way to Block Island every summer? Thousands and zero.
I agree if it is not a big area, just leave it be.
 

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Drill and fill is often denigrated. If you use the wrong stuff, like git rot, it may very well fail.

But...

Progressive Epoxy, based in New Hampshire, makes a penetrating epoxy that does work. I know, I did it 2 years ago very successfully. The difference in Progressive Epoxy Low V penetrating epoxy is that it has ZERO solvents. When you inject most epoxies into cavities, you get pockets of voids where the solvents collect and cant escape. Paul, at Progressive says he has had many reports of his Low V epoxy even working on wet wood. My core was dry. I drilled many exploratory holes in hidden spots to check and the wood was all dry. I drilled holes into the non-skid areas about 3" apart. I did an area about 18" X 6' and took about 3 months to get it done. I started at the low spot and injected a row of holes. Jumped up and down to keep it moving. Came back the next day and injected the same holes a second time. Some spots took 3 to 5 injections before I couldnt get anymore in. Then drill another row of holes above those and start over again. After it was all done, I painted the non-skid everywhere with kiwi grip.

If the area you are concerned with is small enough, put heat lamps on it and dry it out before you drill and fill. If its a large area that is wet, I would cut the non-skid areas out and remove all the wet core. Then make new core with divynacell and glass over with fiberglass layers to build it back up. If you are painting with kiwi grip, you dont need the old top layer of glass with the old non skid. The kiwigrip will blend just fine. I know, because I also had a wet area done this way by a pro before I painted all the non skid with the kiwi. No way can you tell where the reglassed deck is or the drill and fill area is vs the untouched nonskid.

2 years later now and both repaired areas are solid.

Paul at Progressive Epoxy is very very helpful. His products, and he has a lot of different epoxy formulas, are very popular in the wooden boat crowd. I have no affilation with Progressive other than a very happy repeat customer.
I know it is not an indicator of quality of products, but that has to be the ugliest and worst designed website ever created. I also don't like the as sold on TV style of "saved a sinking boat" over the top marketing. My guess is he could do a lot more business if he just used some free on line web template. No one is impressed with people who can use notepad to design there website anymore.
 

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You'd prefer Style over Substance?
That website is likely over 10 years old. I'm sure he would rather spend his time and money on helping people vs designing a fancy website. A redesign of that much info would take a lot of his time or a lot of third party money.

So he's not a marketing genius. Go spend your money on West systems. They have a very nice website. And they are 2 to 3 times more expensive. Did I mention how much less expensive his products are? And BTW, all West products have amines, none of the Progressive epoxies have amines. Eliminates the step of having to deal with amine blush. But West has a nice website.
 

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Sorry...that was worded a bit harshly. I'll stick with the general premise but should have been better tempered with the wording. Too much caffeine.
 
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