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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,
I have a 1968 Sailstar Conquest 20, AKA Bristol Corinthian 20, that we are currently bringing back to life. The hull to deck joint is mechanically fastened with stainless steel staples. I've posted here in the past about removing the deck to recore from the bottom, and some have advised against that due to "hull flex". However, we will still have to remove the staples to reseal this joint, as some parts of it leak.

My question: what is the best way to mechanically refasten this joint? Should I attempt to drill holes to use SS bolts/nuts, or find some way to restaple this? I'm more inclined to move towards retrofitting with bolts/nuts, but I'm curious to your collective experiences or thoughts.

Thanks for any advice you can send to a novice restorer...

-Jack
 

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It's difficult to believe that the hull deck joint is "stapled".. some pictures and details on your boat's hull deck joint design would be helpful.

Some form of through-bolting, rather than "restapling" will be the ticket, but without more info it's hard to know where to start.
 

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Is the hull to deck flange an inboard flange, an outboard flange, or a shoebox design? You'll want to use 3M 5200 or wetted-out fiberglas mat to seal it, in addition to whatever mechanical means is used.

There are two books that I'd recommend on these type projects:
Don Casey's Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance Manual
The Elements of Boat Strength for builders, designers, and owners by Dave Gerr.
 

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I've run into that style flange a few times, for most of them I used small screws and nuts to reseal it.
Need to use (or at least I did!) the shortest possible capscrews you can, just enough sticking through to get the nut on, because the rubrail is a very tight fit. Think the screws I used were #6 and I used a LOT of them, staples were spaced about 6" apart and I used a screw at each hole. Use locktite because there realy isn't enough room to use a lock washer.

If the screws are too long then the rubrail goes on ok, but looks 'lumpy'

If you're using an adhesive caulk, you could get by with one capscrew per staple.

What I did on another boat was to use stainless steel roofing staples that matched the size of the originals, just pushed them through the holes and crimped them over.

Worked and never had a complaint on any of them, and the 'stapled' boat is still owned by a friend of mine, so I'm sure I'd hear about it.


Ken.
 

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If you have good access to both sides, you'll probably want to through bolt the joint after sealing it with a good sealant and possibly, if you've got the access to the underside and really want to strengthen it, glassing over the join.

Ideally, you can use a flat aluminum plate that runs under the hull deck join as a backing plate on the interior. This works particularly well if the join is an inboard or shoebox type, not so good if it is an outward flange, since the aluminum will be exposed to the elements.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Sorry - the joint is an outboard flange type (I should have included that). Here's some pictures to show what I'm talking about:

Here's a view of the port side with the rubrail removed. All pictures are of the port side bow.




Another view of the stapled joint:



Here's the joint from the view of looking up from the ground:



This is a section where we've attempted to begin removing some of the staples:



She looks a little rough, but she's a good project for us!

Thanks for any advice! I hope these pictures actually show up ok...

-Jack
 

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Great shots, Jack!

My suggestions:

You've got great access anyways.. I'd get a steady hand with a zip cutting wheel on a small grinder and take the staples off flush with the upper surface, then simply pull the bent bits out from below.

Use 5200 as suggested as a bond/sealant, and then through bolt it all around. The only issue after that will be how well your rubrail will fit around the hardware you used to bolt it together.

btw - I've never seen that technique used before.. learn something every day!!
 

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Glassing over the join might be worth doing, since the laminate looks like is has some damage to it... glassing over the joint would give it a lot more strength and pretty much eliminate any chance of leaks at the hull deck join.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Thanks for the advice, folks. I've invested in several of Don Casey's books, and have found them worth their weight in gold!

Sounds like replacing the staples with proper very short bolts/nuts may be the way we'll go. Should I try to address what appears to be stress fractures around the staple holes?

Also, I'm going to have to be a bit creative in replacing the rubrail. I may have to purchase a new rubrail, as the old one was in sad shape. It was held on by a plastic clip-apparatus that was also attached to the staples.

Do any of you have any experience removing an entire deck to recore? I'd like to recore some sections of the cabin sole, as they are quite soft in that area. I have no real usable access to the bilge to work from there (this is a small boat). If I have to recore from the top, I think it'll make more of an ugly mess than is necessary, but this may be the easier way in the long run. I posted about this a while back, and was warned by one sailor about "hull flex", but nothing was definitive.

Thanks again for the advice,
Jack
 

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Thanks for the advice, folks. I've invested in several of Don Casey's books, and have found them worth their weight in gold!

Sounds like replacing the staples with proper very short bolts/nuts may be the way we'll go. Should I try to address what appears to be stress fractures around the staple holes?
This is why I was suggesting you glass over the join, rather than through-bolt.

Also, I'm going to have to be a bit creative in replacing the rubrail. I may have to purchase a new rubrail, as the old one was in sad shape. It was held on by a plastic clip-apparatus that was also attached to the staples.

Do any of you have any experience removing an entire deck to recore? I'd like to recore some sections of the cabin sole, as they are quite soft in that area. I have no real usable access to the bilge to work from there (this is a small boat). If I have to recore from the top, I think it'll make more of an ugly mess than is necessary, but this may be the easier way in the long run. I posted about this a while back, and was warned by one sailor about "hull flex", but nothing was definitive.

Thanks again for the advice,
Jack
I know someone who removed the deck from a 25' boat to re-core the deck and cabintop... they made a "jig" while the boat was still assembled to hold the cabintop and deck in the proper "shape" once it was removed from the hull. This allowed them to re-core the deck from the underside, once it was flipped over... and they didn't have to re-do the cabin top or deck non-skid and such.

If the cabin sole is spongy, it would help to know what it was made of. In many boats, it isn't necessarily fiberglass, but wood, screwed to the floors or stringers in the hull. Are you sure it is a cored fiberglass sole??
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
This is why I was suggesting you glass over the join, rather than through-bolt.
Sorry, I think we were typing our replies at the same time, so I hadn't read your reply yet. You think that glassing it over will hold ok, rather than a mechanical fastener? I hadn't thought of it that way.

I'm fairly certain that this boat's deck is cored fiberglass. When looking down through the small hatch to the bilge, you can distinctly see the top fiberglass, then a layer of wood, and then the bottom layer of glass. The wood, of course, is wet, and definitely has that "feel" of springy wet core. I'd show a picture, but I have none of the hatch area, and it's too dark out to be messing with the boat cover. I can upload some tomorrow or the next day, if desired.

It's possible to rig up a jig to keep the proper shape to the deck, but I'm not sure how I'd accomplish this, logistics wise. However, the idea makes me nervous without knowing for sure...

Thanks for the advice,
Jack
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I should clarify something I said earlier. I misspoke when I stated that the cabin sole needs recoring. In fact, it is the COCKPIT sole that needs recoring. Sorry for any confusion...:)
 

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That makes a lot more sense... since cabin soles rarely get wet enough to delaminate. :)
I should clarify something I said earlier. I misspoke when I stated that the cabin sole needs recoring. In fact, it is the COCKPIT sole that needs recoring. Sorry for any confusion...:)
I would definitely re-glass the cracked areas at a minimum, and then either pop rivet or through bolt. Screws are a bad idea, since they'll probably cause the same kind of stress cracking the staples did. :)

The one problem I see with just glassing over the hull-deck join is that the glass would have to make a pretty tight bend, and as such would weaken the glass a fair bit. So you could either use mechanical fasteners along with glassing the join or you could add a strip of foam to thicken the edge of the hull deck join and strengthen it when glassing over it. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
That makes a lot more sense... since cabin soles rarely get wet enough to delaminate. :)

I would definitely re-glass the cracked areas at a minimum, and then either pop rivet or through bolt. Screws are a bad idea, since they'll probably cause the same kind of stress cracking the staples did. :)

The one problem I see with just glassing over the hull-deck join is that the glass would have to make a pretty tight bend, and as such would weaken the glass a fair bit. So you could either use mechanical fasteners along with glassing the join or you could add a strip of foam to thicken the edge of the hull deck join and strengthen it when glassing over it. :)
That sounds like the way to go - reglass AND through bolt. That way I can use the bolts for the plastic piece of the rub rail, if needed. I'll have to make a decision about the cockpit sole before doing this, however. I'm nervous about taking the whole deck off. I might be able to go at it from the top without TOO much of a ugly mess...
 

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If you can see the underside.. look to see where the core material stops, then do the following:

Cut the top skin about an inch in from where the core material stops.

Dig out the core material using a router.

Let the remaining laminate dry very thoroughly—heat lamps and vacuum bagging can help accelerate the process quite a bit.

Get a PVC foam that is the same thickness as the old core material.

Coat the bottom and insides of the cockpit sole with a thin layer thickened epoxy and lay in the foam core material, pressing it firmly into the thickened epoxy. It might be simpler to cut a few narrow strips to do the section under the 1" overhang.

Then coat the top of the foam with a thin layer of thickened epoxy.

Then glass over the "hole", bedding the fiberglass in the thickened epoxy.

Then finish the epoxy by either painting it or gelcoating it. I'd recommend priming the epoxy with Interlux Interprotect 2000E and then painting it with a good non-skid paint, or adding a non-skid additive to the Interprotect 2000E and using that as a non-skid.
:)

I hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I was thinking that I should reuse the bit of sole that I cut out and try to reglass the perimeter, but you're thinking that I should go with all new glass? I could probably do that by cutting away the whole cabin sole, and then it wouldn't look like such a patch job. Only the front half of the cockpit is springy, so I had thought that I would only replace that part of the core.
 

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The reason I suggest doing the whole cockpit sole and using all new fiberglass is so that the repair won't look like a patch job. IMHO, it is far easier to disguise a complete replacement, than it is to disguise a partial repair. Trying to match the non-skid is almost impossible, but if you've replaced the whole thing, all the non-skid for the cockpit sole will match. Also, this way, you'll know you got all the rotten core material, where you might miss something doing a partial job and then might need to go back and do it again. :)
 

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My boat had the same problem

I used a small drill bit and stainless wire bent and twisted at the bottom. I also used 3m4200 to seal top and sides. I then put on new rub rail.
marc
 
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