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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got to get down to the boat today for a longer period of time, and started removing stuff to get started on clean-up and winter projects to get it ready for spring. I just bought the boat in November and because of the holidays really haven't had a chance to spend much quality time down there with her.

Anyhow today I removed the teak cockpit floor grate and vacuumed out the junk that was under there and discovered I have a bigger problem than I first thought. I knew it was soft, but the entire floor will need re-coring.

Someone in the past has already drilled and filled numerous locations with no success. They and even tried to provide more support by bonding a piece of plywood on the underside of the flooring with some glass cloth. But that has delaminated over time too. I really should remove that piece of plywood as well, since it doing nothing but adding more weight and little or no support now.

I understand the whole process pretty clearly and have decided to absolutely go at it from the top since the surface is so messed up to begin with. I'm just not sure what is the best tool to cut it with. I have a pneumatic disc cut-off tool and air compressor I can use, or a dremel tool, also air grinder etc, but thought maybe one of those cordless mini-circular saws might work good too. I'd like to get as close to the outside edges of the cockpit floor as possible, and thought that might get me closer. I'm not sure though. Any suggestions for cutting it out?

Here is a large photo of the crappy floor.
 

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Just a thought for you. Unlike a deck you could easily build the floor up a 1/2" or more without a problem. So instead of doing all that cutting and fixing, why not just glass the hell out of it? If you just cut woven roving to fit the well and laid it down in epoxy maybe five or six layers thick you'd have a nonskid patttern looking floor in no time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have considered that option, but there will still remain voids and moisture in the existing core. Perhaps that doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.
Thanks for the idea.
 

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I like using a dremel or similar bitted tool. It enables you to get closer to the edges and to do a neater job, especially around scuppers and the like. A bigger tool will create problems getting in there and seeing what you are doing. Since it's cored, you only want to go through the top layer anyway. A smaller tool will give you better depth control as well. You only need to go through the top 1/8" (maybe) of fiberglass. Once you've pried that off, the rotted core should come up with a screwdriver or putty knife. You can bed new core on the old inside layer, and then layer in the new cockpit floor layer. (You probably already know this.) The extra plywood support piece they added in probably won't be necessary once the repair is made and everything is stuck back together properly. We repaired our cabin top from the inside, and getting the resin, core and fiberglass to stay UP was a major Chinese fire drill. Working with gravity is a good idea when you can do it. To avoid crazing or point failure later, it will probably be a good idea to grind down the edge along where you cut so as to have better adhesion and to increase the contact area between the new and old fiberglass.
 
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In a similar project, I had good luck with the mini-circular saw attachment for a Rotozip tool. The rotozip itself worked ok but it's hard to cut a straight line (if you care), but the circular saw made for a neat cut with a fairly thin kerf. A cordless mini circular saw would probably work fine too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I've used one of these



With a rotozip DC1 bit.
That would be easier since I already own the angled die grinder. I would have to lug the air compressor down to the marina, but I suspected I might have to do that anyway some time or the other. I thought about putting a mini saw blade in the die grinder, but I'm not sure they make one for it.
 

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If you don't have to go all the way to the outside edge, I would use a rotozip or simular tool with a small router base that would act as a guide shoe, that way you end up with a equal ledger around the cockpit floor to work with
 

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If you don't have to go all the way to the outside edge, I would use a rotozip or simular tool with a small router base that would act as a guide shoe, that way you end up with a equal ledger around the cockpit floor to work with
I agree with using some kind of guide in the cutting process, because trying to use any cutting tool by hand will not give you a constantly straight/even cut.
 

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The best plan is to leave the "gutters" intact if possible and just to take out a big rectangle in the middle and to gouge out all the core. If it's possible, get as close to the bottom layer without touching: if the core is rotten enough, you can essentially flip it out with a spatula.

An idea might be to make a pretty solid plank "bridge" across the cockpit so you can lie on it to do the cuts...it will lessen the risk of putting a heavy tool or foot through the precious lower layer.

If you screw up the job badly, I would consider glassing in an aluminum frame, and making a new fibreglass gasketed cockpit floor that can be positively dogged down. Alternatively, cut a couple of access panels into the new cockpit floor, again fully gasketed and doggable.

There's some real advantages to being able to get in that particular tight spot.
 

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If this thread is still alive when I get enough posts to put up pictures, I'll post my own set up (tried damn near everything over the years, lol)

It's a 1/4" pneumatic grinder (no guard) with a fibre cutoff disc and a couple custom wheels that'll take about 10 mins to make. I'm not a fan of right angle air grinders, but that's just me.

If you rip a batten the width of the flange that you want to leave, you can use it as a guide by running the screw along it (the screw that holds the disc onto the arbor). Straight cut, quick and easy.

That said, I wouldn't worry about making the cut too straight. If the core is saturated the glass that comes out will be garbage and will need to be relaid anyway. The cutline will be hidden.

Oh, and keep a shopvac running as you cut...lol

Valiente, I like the way you think.

why not just glass the hell out of it?
Because he'd still have a saturated core.
 

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recoring

I used circular saw, big one, electric, on my deck. I used a disk for metals, the one without any teeth.
I would not recommend cutting next to cockpit walls, actually, I’d recommend leaving a few inches between walls and the cut. You will need these inches to glass on a new skin. You will be able to pluck out old core from sides, and put strips of new core inside after. If area is big, do not try to do it in one piece. Cut part of it out, recore and put one lay of glass on it, then cut another part… so you can stand (lay, sit) on solid parts of the floor. After finishing all parts, put as many lays of glass on top as you feel needed.
Good luck, it is not a difficult job, just tedious
 

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I use a 6" cordless circular saw with a fine tooth carbide blade. It will cut to 1-1/2 inch from the edge which leaves plenty for bonding to.
I normally use a 2 or 3 inch hole saw in the corners since I prefer to radius them because of the potential stress sharp corners can cause

The blade I prefer is an 80 tooth, thin kerf and lasts quite a while.
The saw I prefer is the old porter cable with the tube on top, can aim it where you want to get the dust out of your way or tape a vacuum hose to it so you can reduce cleanup.

Corded saws work just as well, but they leave a wider edge.

Ken.
 

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You may find some help at this site.

You can find it at cncphotoalbum.com/index.htm

Good luck with the project.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Good idea using the hole saw to radius the corners.

I normally use a 2 or 3 inch hole saw in the corners since I prefer to radius them because of the potential stress sharp corners can cause

The blade I prefer is an 80 tooth, thin kerf and lasts quite a while.
The saw I prefer is the old porter cable with the tube on top, can aim it where you want to get the dust out of your way or tape a vacuum hose to it so you can reduce cleanup.

Ken.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
An idea might be to make a pretty solid plank "bridge" across the cockpit so you can lie on it to do the cuts...it will lessen the risk of putting a heavy tool or foot through the precious lower layer.
Good point to remember.... "Self, don't fall through cockpit floor while fixing"
 

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if you salvage old floor skin after taking it out you should be able to put it back down, and then you only have to feather edges of cut to reseal. Don Casey's book on sailboat repair on this very issue on cored decks and cockpit floors delves into it. it is a pretty straight forward process.
 
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