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As surely as day follows night, my 4ksb deck will soften.... how to fix?


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Hi everyone! It feels like ages since I was on here, commenting on this or that, mocking ads on craigy's, or starting threads on anchoring that seem to annoy nearly everyone. Good times!

Anyway I'm back because, yet again, it's springtime, which means my boat needs a fix for which I have only about 2/3 of the necessary knowledge.

Basically, soft spot in the bow deck. It started around the fasteners (always the fasteners) for a rode-box that was through-bolted (jesus why) to the underside of the deck, at the front end of the V-birth.  The soft spot is pretty big (20-28" in diameter), but doesn't appear to intersect with any structural elements (you know, other than the deck itself) so I'm not paniced — but things are a bit complicated by the significant curve on the underside of the deck.

After idly questioning a few other moderately-knowledgable people, the current plan is to cut away the bottom skin out to maybe 6-8" past the soft spot, remove the rotten core, do my best imitation of a bevel on the good edge (in prep for a scarf joint), and then use epoxy to laminate individual plies of hardwood (similar to doorskin, but of a rot-resistant species) one-at-a-time onto the underside of the deck, using upward pressure on the underside to spring-form them to the curve of topside, and progressivley widening them so that they overlap the existing core more and more. In the end, the thinking goes, I'll have essentially laid up a new plywood "core" as strong as (stronger than, if I nail the scarf technique?) the original.

Is this completely insane?

I have heard penetrating epoxy is junk, and this spot seems too big and too soft for it.

A variation I have thought of is doing similar to the above, but fewer times, using something like a 1/8" marine ply. This seems easier, but given that I would likely have to kerf it to get the full curve, thus breaking the fibers that give it its strength, likely weaker?

Any insight.advice/mockery/showsometits/etc would be apprecaited.

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I think the consensus is that laminating core and glassing overhead is very hard to do right and that it’s easier to remove the top skin and work down.
Use a foam core with Coosa (formerly Penske) board patches where hardware will be bolted.
Molded nonskid is not for us mortals, so that leaves applied finishes.  There are several good options.  Find recent thread on this.
 

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Do it from the top, the outside. Far simpler and quicker process. Make gravity your friend. If your glassing and fairing skills are lacking then get some help with that. The demolition and core replacement are the easy parts. The trick is patience, preparation, precision, proper tools, etc. in the fiberglass work. An hour of prep beats can save days of fairing.

I can suggest two particular time savers from my recent deck re-core: Do a bit of fairing of the new core, before any laminating. Fill any gaps and smooth any high spots at joints. All the defects will print thru to the surface and annoy the resin squeegee work. Second, set up a nice large table nearby on which to precisely cut and wet out the cloth. A smooth plastic tabletop is best.

The new core does not need to be horizontally connected to the old core. The glass cloth will do that work. Laminating your own plywood seems like unnecessary work. You do not need rot resistant plywood because you are not going to have any leaks, right?  I would search for flawless softwood plywood....not the common stuff offered...A/B five ply or better.

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1 hour ago, El Borracho said:

Laminating your own plywood seems like unnecessary work. You do not need rot resistant plywood because you are not going to have any leaks, right?  

This.... has not been my experience of the reality of the marine environment.

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Totally agree with doing it from above - it's difficult to impossible to do a quality job upside down fighting gravity every second.

One technique I quickly learned is to square up the spots you are replacing - don't try to replace odd shaped pieces of core.

It generally means removing some good core but that's cheap and it makes it far easier to cut & fit the new core and the glass fabric.

Do not waste your time trying to reattach the old skin - use new fabric.

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11 hours ago, Mid said:

that's all I got :P

what he said

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53 minutes ago, Breamerly said:

This.... has not been my experience of the reality of the marine environment.

Waste of time though. The balance of the deck is plain old plywood, right? Done right the deck will not leak in that area again.

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If the area being fixed crosses over between non-skid and smooth areas of the deck, try to stop peeling the top skin at the edge of the non-skid area and just dig out the core in the smooth area from the side.  Otherwise you will end up painting the entire smooth area to make it match.  Much easier to confine the matching problem to the non-skid part.  In other words, don't do this: 

image.thumb.png.7730ade812244a79d46b73c7327acdb5.png

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10 minutes ago, El Borracho said:

Waste of time though. The balance of the deck is plain old plywood, right? Done right the deck will not leak in that area again.

I suppose this is the right moment to once again point out that virtually every boat builder doesn't do it right, and if they did, none of this moisture intrusion would have happened.  The next time you are reading a glossy brochure touting a gleaming pile of fibreglass laminate, remember that if you buy it, the first thing you should do is fix the shoddy work on the deck and hull intrusions.

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1 hour ago, Breamerly said:
2 hours ago, El Borracho said:

Laminating your own plywood seems like unnecessary work. You do not need rot resistant plywood because you are not going to have any leaks, right?  

This.... has not been my experience of the reality of the marine environment.

Why don't people just use a decent foam core material??

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12 minutes ago, Rain Man said:

I suppose this is the right moment to once again point out that virtually every boat builder doesn't do it right, and if they did, none of this moisture intrusion would have happened.  The next time you are reading a glossy brochure touting a gleaming pile of fibreglass laminate, remember that if you buy it, the first thing you should do is fix the shoddy work on the deck and hull intrusions.

Simple solution.  Use a decent foam core in the first place.

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13 minutes ago, mad said:

Simple solution.  Use a decent foam core in the first place.

That can be a solution, but if you remember the owner of this website had a foam-cored boat with water intrusion that had to be opened up and dried out for a significant length of time.  Foam core also lacks shear strength, so it isn't the material of choice in some applications.  Oil-can a foam-cored hull a few times and you have something like apple crumble inside. 

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I appreciate all of this. 

One question I have is about coming in from the topside though. I re-did the glass overlap on my the keel flange last summer, and did not actually find the overhead work to be that big of a pain. I didn't do a great job at it, in the sense that the final product was not as fair as I might have liked, but that was mostly down to a lack of yard time/vacation time to spend the extra days or two getting it from decent to good.

On top of that, the area in question overlap two separate nonskid areas on the topside, as well as a big flat smooth area.

So the way I'm looking at it is, coming from the top would require adding two whole additional workflows, both of which I am not very familiar with, and both of which have fairly tight tolerances (a recipe for mistakes/do-overs): Gellcoat/paint and non-skid application.

Conversely, on the underside I can (and have elsewhere) get the mat lam'd up, schmear some thickened epoxy over it, sand it fair, paint paint that fucker with the same semi-gloss paint that's everywhere else on the inside of the hull (no headliner in the v-berth) and be done with it.

Assuming I don't mind the overhead work and can do it decently, it seems a lot simpler to avoid having to get into finish paintwork, let alone non-skid.

What am I missing?

1 hour ago, El Borracho said:

Waste of time though. The balance of the deck is plain old plywood, right? Done right the deck will not leak in that area again.

Good point.

1 hour ago, Rain Man said:

I suppose this is the right moment to once again point out that virtually every boat builder doesn't do it right, and if they did, none of this moisture intrusion would have happened.  The next time you are reading a glossy brochure touting a gleaming pile of fibreglass laminate, remember that if you buy it, the first thing you should do is fix the shoddy work on the deck and hull intrusions.

This is a very good idea. Could be done at the same time as a topsides paint job - just pull everything, reseal, redo, then repaint. Interesting to think of looking for a boat with the assumption in mind that this would be a necessary first step.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Breamerly said:

get the mat lam'd up,

The fly in the ointment when working overhead.

And you should use better fabric than mat - it's the weakest by far of all forms of glass fabric.

Also, should you insist on using it, be certain to obtain mat that is epoxy compatible. Most of it is bound with a styrene soluble binder and there's no styrene in epoxy - which is what you should use for a job like this.

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2 hours ago, Rain Man said:

That can be a solution, but if you remember the owner of this website had a foam-cored boat with water intrusion that had to be opened up and dried out for a significant length of time.  Foam core also lacks shear strength, so it isn't the material of choice in some applications.  Oil-can a foam-cored hull a few times and you have something like apple crumble inside. 

Spec the right modern core and skin thickness and its not an issue.  What foam core was in the Ed's boat?

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45 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

The fly in the ointment when working overhead.

And you should use better fabric than mat - it's the weakest by far of all forms of glass fabric.

Also, should you insist on using it, be certain to obtain mat that is epoxy compatible. Most of it is bound with a styrene soluble binder and there's no styrene in epoxy - which is what you should use for a job like this.

Right. I used 'mat' as a general shorthand, but obviously cloth or bixial would be better. I am thinking probably to go with the latter. And yeah, definitely an epoxy-compatible one. Again with the shorthand/assumption.

I guess I should have been more clear at the beginning that basic technique  was not what I meant to come asking about. What I'm more wondering about is the overall strategy (like the question of whether to come in from the top or the bottom, and foam vs/plywood).

With the overhead layup, same thing: I think I have enough basic technique/skill to do it without issue. The part that will be new to me here is replacing the core of a surface that is both curved and weight-bearing.

Personally, I have much more experience with epoxy work than paint (very little) and nonskid (none!). That's why I say that learning those two new skills, and executing them in a high-visibility application, sounds like way more of a pain in the ass than executing a decent overhead layup, which I have done before without issue and know I can get right on the first try.

All of that said, am I missing something there?

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38 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

The fly in the ointment when working overhead.

And you should use better fabric than mat - it's the weakest by far of all forms of glass fabric.

Also, should you insist on using it, be certain to obtain mat that is epoxy compatible. Most of it is bound with a styrene soluble binder and there's no styrene in epoxy - which is what you should use for a job like this.

All of this^^^^^^

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37 minutes ago, Breamerly said:

Right. I used 'mat' as a general shorthand, but obviously cloth or bixial would be better. I am thinking probably to go with the latter. And yeah, definitely an epoxy-compatible one. Again with the shorthand/assumption.

I guess I should have been more clear at the beginning that basic technique  was not what I meant to come asking about. What I'm more wondering about is the overall strategy (like the question of whether to come in from the top or the bottom, and foam vs/plywood).

With the overhead layup, same thing: I think I have enough basic technique/skill to do it without issue. The part that will be new to me here is replacing the core of a surface that is both curved and weight-bearing.

Personally, I have much more experience with epoxy work than paint (very little) and nonskid (none!). That's why I say that learning those two new skills, and executing them in a high-visibility application, sounds like way more of a pain in the ass than executing a decent overhead layup, which I have done before without issue and know I can get right on the first try.

All of that said, am I missing something there?

Foam & balsa core are available in scored blocks mounted on a light scrim which holds them together so no problem with compound curves.

IMO forget using plywood. At a minimum you'd have to score it yourself - huge pain.

My boat is foam core, hull, deck, stringers & ribs. It's 40 years old of hard racing and there's not a hint of delam or saturation. It was built with high density foam in way of hardware and lighter stuff elsewhere.

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3 hours ago, Rain Man said:

If the area being fixed crosses over between non-skid and smooth areas of the deck, try to stop peeling the top skin at the edge of the non-skid area and just dig out the core in the smooth area from the side.  Otherwise you will end up painting the entire smooth area to make it match. 

Not possible. The foredeck is two large non-skid sections with a raised painted strip running fire-aft down the center, and rapping around the edges. The soft spot is plum in the middle, underlapping both nonskid areas by 8-10 inches. I could see excavating an inch or two under a non-skid edge, but that seems too far to reach and be assured of a good, complete clean-out.

I can't see how coming in from the top wouldn't require essentially redoing nonskid on the whole foredeck, as well as figuring out some way to blend the paint over my repair with the rest of the old topside paint (dubious at best).

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7 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

Foam & balsa core are available in scored blocks mounted on a light scrim

Interesting! Do you have a link or company name or anything I could use to take a look at that? Also any ideas on where would be a good spot to find some data or at least a good writeup on foam in this application?

Also, what about the core-to-core bond at the edge of the repair? With foam do you still need to do a bevel/scarf?

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2 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

IMO forget using plywood. At a minimum you'd have to score it yourself - huge pain.

This is why I had been thinking of doing it layer by layer. Single-ply will take simple curves without scoring. It would take 10-12 layers to build to full thickness, but I think if I got myself all laid out and used fast epoxy I could get that laid up in a long day. 

I am open to this foam stuff though, which sounds way easier. Just would like to find some more info on it.

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You can certainly do it from the bottom. I don't think that would be any experienced person's first choice. No need to bond core edges in typical cored boat construction. Foam and balsa cores certainly are not. Working from to top, if I had started this morning, I would now be finished with the glass work...deck sealed. Probably weigh the lamination down with a sheet of poly+PVC foamcore and cinderblocks. Maybe some peel-ply and mat if it was a big patch like you have. Fairing to perfect takes about thirty minutes a day over 2-3 days depending on epoxy cure time. Likewise painting and non-skid. I did this very same project, about 2 sq. ft. at a pulpit base just a few months ago. I'm ruthless with the angle grinder. No fussy screwing around: cut it all out. Balsa core. Came out perfect inside and out.

Re-creating identical non-skid is certainly an issue. I'd probably opt for not matching. Just make a nicely shaped area of new non-skid separate from the old. You said 4ksb, right, not a historic collector's item?

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7 hours ago, Rain Man said:

Foam core also lacks shear strength, so it isn't the material of choice in some applications

Yet lots of RTW racing boats use 80 kg/m3 foam core for the hull core. If the hull is oil canning either the core is delammed or the skins are way too thin. Not because foam core was used.

Yes foam has lower shear strength than balsa - but it's lighter, more rot proof, and the shear strength is sufficient if you use 80 kg/m3 core from any PVC/Airex/SAN supplier.

About the only place to avoid foam core is in way of a bolted on ballast keel or the slam zone forward of the keel in Open 60's where you're hitting waves at 30 knots. Those areas are best done with solid laminates.

 

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7 hours ago, Breamerly said:

I appreciate all of this. 

One question I have is about coming in from the topside though. I re-did the glass overlap on my the keel flange last summer, and did not actually find the overhead work to be that big of a pain. I didn't do a great job at it, in the sense that the final product was not as fair as I might have liked, but that was mostly down to a lack of yard time/vacation time to spend the extra days or two getting it from decent to good.

On top of that, the area in question overlap two separate nonskid areas on the topside, as well as a big flat smooth area.

So the way I'm looking at it is, coming from the top would require adding two whole additional workflows, both of which I am not very familiar with, and both of which have fairly tight tolerances (a recipe for mistakes/do-overs): Gellcoat/paint and non-skid application.

Conversely, on the underside I can (and have elsewhere) get the mat lam'd up, schmear some thickened epoxy over it, sand it fair, paint paint that fucker with the same semi-gloss paint that's everywhere else on the inside of the hull (no headliner in the v-berth) and be done with it.

Assuming I don't mind the overhead work and can do it decently, it seems a lot simpler to avoid having to get into finish paintwork, let alone non-skid.

What am I missing?

Good point.

This is a very good idea. Could be done at the same time as a topsides paint job - just pull everything, reseal, redo, then repaint. Interesting to think of looking for a boat with the assumption in mind that this would be a necessary first step.

 

 

Don't be afraid of re-doing non-skid.  It is an couple of hours work once you have the surface faired in.  You can use waxed gelcoat and a Fibretex roller from Home Depot and get great results.

Smooth gelcoat takes a bit more work because it has to be perfectly fair to look good, but the finishing just involves using finer and finer sandpaper and then wax and buff until it looks good.  Any idiot can do it.

Exterior paint is harder to make look good, but there are a number of paints like Interlux Brightsides that are at least easy to use, even if they don't give perfect results.

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6 hours ago, El Borracho said:

Fairing to perfect takes about thirty minutes a day over 2-3 days depending on epoxy cure time. Likewise painting and non-skid. I did this very same project, about 2 sq. ft. at a pulpit base just a few months ago. I'm ruthless with the angle grinder. No fussy screwing around: cut it all out. Balsa core. Came out perfect inside and out.

Re-creating identical non-skid is certainly an issue. I'd probably opt for not matching. Just make a nicely shaped area of new non-skid separate from the old. You said 4ksb, right, not a historic collector's item?

I was being overly negative by calling it a 4ksb. It's a gary mull santana that was my dad's (so more like a 5.5ksb thank you), and she's actually in decent shape, just a bit dinged/scuffed. She's nice enough (and I'm. stupidly proud enough) that while I stop myself from getting perfectionist with anything, I try not to finish repairs/projects with the area looking worse than when I started. 

That was my reasoning for not wanting to cut open the topsides. I don't know what the old paint was, and I think to make it look good I'd basically be looking at doing fresh nonskid and paint on the whole bow deck. I think I could get a nonskid color that matched the others (and it's not contiguous so who would even notice?) and figure out how to do it alright, but I was under the distinct impression that getting the paint (gelcoat?) to blend old-to-new was basically impossible.

So far as I've understood it, you more or less have to repaint your entire topsides if you're going to do one bit, unless you want it to look like hell. Is that not right?

 

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1 hour ago, Rain Man said:

Smooth gelcoat takes a bit more work because it has to be perfectly fair to look good, but the finishing just involves using finer and finer sandpaper and then wax and buff until it looks good.  Any idiot can do it.

Exterior paint is harder to make look good, but there are a number of paints like Interlux Brightsides that are at least easy to use, even if they don't give perfect results.

This is the thing. I could figure out the nonskid I think (I watched my neighbor do it), but figuring out whether my existing topside is gelcoat or paint is not something I know how to do, and again, let alone applying either and having it blend well into the old.

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NO!  You can actually repaint parts of the boat, and not all of it, and actually have it look pretty darn good.  I was doing "rolling" repairs to the deck of my S2 9.1 that way.  I did the foredeck, sidedecks to aft of the chainplates and the cabintop first.  Did them from above, with balsa, as it was the original core.  Did solid glass at the partners, and all thru deck fittings were done with solid epoxy to isolate core.  Painted with Brightsides for "skid" sections in a color very close to the original (faded) gelcoat.  Did the non-skid with gray kiwi grip.  It looked good and I got lots of positive comments from folks.  I did it all from the top, as gravity really, really, really is your friend.  To be perfectly honest, the painting part is by far the easiest, and the fairing part by far the most time consuming if you want to do it right....

There's 10+ square feet of deck replaced in these pics...and yes, the handrails got redone too :rolleyes:556411781_4Dec11358.thumb.JPG.fd53c1cada9739a83f9322fe75e5707c.JPG

End Result:

1064699699_4Dec11359.thumb.JPG.ca481755f25378a16dce86513c32aee7.JPG

1548114315_4Dec11357.JPG

4Dec 11 357small.jpg

4Dec 11 358small.jpg

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Looks good.

45 minutes ago, Crash said:

NO!  You can actually repaint parts of the boat, and not all of it, and actually have it look pretty darn good.  I was doing "rolling" repairs to the deck of my S2 9.1 that way.  I did the foredeck, sidedecks to aft of the chainplates and the cabintop first.  Did them from above, with balsa, as it was the original core.  Did solid glass at the partners, and all thru deck fittings were done with solid epoxy to isolate core.  Painted with Brightsides for "skid" sections in a color very close to the original (faded) gelcoat.  Did the non-skid with gray kiwi grip.  It looked good and I got lots of positive comments from folks.  I did it all from the top, as gravity really, really, really is your friend.  To be perfectly honest, the painting part is by far the easiest, and the fairing part by far the most time consuming if you want to do it right....

There's 10+ square feet of deck replaced in these pics...and yes, the handrails got redone too :rolleyes:

 

 

 

Looks good enough to make me rethink my plans, but I have to ask - how much fairing/repainting is visible here? I see mostly non-skid (which is no dig on the job, at all!)

Also, after painting, how much fiddling did you have to do with magician-grade wetsanding (6000 grit etc) and/or polishing/buffing paste to get the blend? Do you have  a writeup somewhere  of your process?

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Almost all of it included painting the “smooth” areas as well as the non skid.  I was lucky in that S2 nicely had mounded the deck with many “cut lines” and horizontal details.  So I was able to tape to a 90 degree corner detail at both the bottom and top edge of the cabin top, yet not have to paint the entire vertical side of the cabin.  I was after a 5 foot job, so I did no sanding/buffing to blend. I posted pretty high quality photos, so if you zoom in, you can actually see the tape ridge lines along the top and bottom of the cabin top.  But you’d be hard pressed to have seen them from more than standing height away...

After all, it was already a 35 year old boat, and didn’t look anywhere near perfect by that point anyway.

Plus you’ll likely find with some forethought, 90% of the work, or more is covered by the non-skid.

I was, however, very anal about fairing.  Much sanding, long boarding by hand, etc was done to ensure the fairing between repair and original deck was all but invisible...

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1 hour ago, Crash said:

NO!  You can actually repaint parts of the boat, and not all of it, and actually have it look pretty darn good.  I was doing "rolling" repairs to the deck of my S2 9.1 that way.  I did the foredeck, sidedecks to aft of the chainplates and the cabintop first.  Did them from above, with balsa, as it was the original core.  Did solid glass at the partners, and all thru deck fittings were done with solid epoxy to isolate core.  Painted with Brightsides for "skid" sections in a color very close to the original (faded) gelcoat.  Did the non-skid with gray kiwi grip.  It looked good and I got lots of positive comments from folks.  I did it all from the top, as gravity really, really, really is your friend.  To be perfectly honest, the painting part is by far the easiest, and the fairing part by far the most time consuming if you want to do it right....

There's 10+ square feet of deck replaced in these pics...and yes, the handrails got redone too :rolleyes:556411781_4Dec11358.thumb.JPG.fd53c1cada9739a83f9322fe75e5707c.JPG

End Result:

1064699699_4Dec11359.thumb.JPG.ca481755f25378a16dce86513c32aee7.JPG

1548114315_4Dec11357.JPG

4Dec 11 357small.jpg

4Dec 11 358small.jpg

That looks pretty good!  

As you say, though, it is all in the prep.   "To be perfectly honest, the painting part is by far the easiest, and the fairing part by far the most time consuming if you want to do it right...." is what I meant about painting.  It isn't the actual painting that takes time, it is the prep to get the painting job to look decent. 

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26 minutes ago, Rain Man said:

It isn't the actual painting that takes time, it is the prep to get the painting job to look decent. 

Haha it drives me up the walllllllllll every time I hear this. Like, Yes! The prep is both crucial and time-consuming. Turns out, just like with every other job, there's one particular part of the process that is both important and tricky! Pouring concrete is easy, it's building the form that's tough. Brain surgery is easy, it's going to med school that's difficult. Landing on the moon is easy, it's flying a spaceship that's hard. Pounding nails is easy, it's drawing up the plans for the house that's the trick. And on and on, until I tear every last strand of hair out of my head because it's a saying that means nothing! The prep is part of painting and it is hard to do right! Therefore... painting is hard! It is not easy! The last step in the process is easy. Dry times, which type of masking tape to use, surface prep, thinning, solvent selection, the role of humidity, time between coats, tip-and-roll vs brushing vs spraying, to say nothing of the rubix cube that is deciding between the million damn cans of snake-oil paint on the market for any one application - all of that is "painting" and it is fu***ing martian gibberish to some of us — as exemplified by the fact that my paint jobs mostly look like garbage.

Or, to put it another way: I am not worried in this particular case that I might balls up the action of dipping the roller and moving it back and forth on my boat. I am worried that I could balls up some other crucial and much more ambiguous step in the painting process.

 

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59 minutes ago, Crash said:

Almost all of it included painting the “smooth” areas as well as the non skid.  I was lucky in that S2 nicely had mounded the deck with many “cut lines” and horizontal details.  So I was able to tape to a 90 degree corner detail at both the bottom and top edge of the cabin top, yet not have to paint the entire vertical side of the cabin.  I was after a 5 foot job, so I did no sanding/buffing to blend. I posted pretty high quality photos, so if you zoom in, you can actually see the tape ridge lines along the top and bottom of the cabin top.  But you’d be hard pressed to have seen them from more than standing height away...

After all, it was already a 35 year old boat, and didn’t look anywhere near perfect by that point anyway.

Plus you’ll likely find with some forethought, 90% of the work, or more is covered by the non-skid.

This is interesting. I have thought about hiding transitions this way, especially for redoing my cockpit seats and nonskid. The problem on my foredeck, however, is that there are no hard angles. And the non skid that I would have to re-do (unless I blended it?) carries all the way aft to the cockpit.

The repair is partly/mostly out of the shot, on the far right side of the photo. But that robbin's-egg blue nonskid carries all the way to the bow.

64282070_ScreenShot2021-03-22at12_11_56AM.thumb.png.e86b9d3109269539c9b74da23bdbfcca.png

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3 hours ago, Breamerly said:

This is interesting. I have thought about hiding transitions this way, especially for redoing my cockpit seats and nonskid. The problem on my foredeck, however, is that there are no hard angles. And the non skid that I would have to re-do (unless I blended it?) carries all the way aft to the cockpit.

The repair is partly/mostly out of the shot, on the far right side of the photo. But that robbin's-egg blue nonskid carries all the way to the bow.

64282070_ScreenShot2021-03-22at12_11_56AM.thumb.png.e86b9d3109269539c9b74da23bdbfcca.png

One option would be to draw a line across the narrow part of the non-skid where the foredeck joins the side-deck.  If there was a slight colour transition there it wouldn't be very noticeable.  It would mean re-doing the non-skid on the whole foredeck though.  

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2 hours ago, Rain Man said:

One option would be to draw a line across the narrow part of the non-skid where the foredeck joins the side-deck.  If there was a slight colour transition there it wouldn't be very noticeable.  It would mean re-doing the non-skid on the whole foredeck though.  

Yes. That ^^^  is what I would do. Make a "waterway" of white to separate the new from old. Your boat looks nice. When you said 4ksb I assumed she was more worn out. Nevertheless, a shift of tint and texture halfway back the foredeck will only bother you for a few weeks. Reminded that you repaired the soggy deck should overcome that stress. You can consider improving the tint and texture match later.

What is your non-skid now? Factory molded molded in pattern?

BTW, confusingly, "topsides" are the upper sides of the hull...the shiny part from the waterline to the shear. Nonskid is on the "deck".

Keep us posted on your project. Especially if you choose to do it from underneath.

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7 hours ago, Breamerly said:

This is interesting. I have thought about hiding transitions this way, especially for redoing my cockpit seats and nonskid. The problem on my foredeck, however, is that there are no hard angles. And the non skid that I would have to re-do (unless I blended it?) carries all the way aft to the cockpit.

The repair is partly/mostly out of the shot, on the far right side of the photo. But that robbin's-egg blue nonskid carries all the way to the bow.

64282070_ScreenShot2021-03-22at12_11_56AM.thumb.png.e86b9d3109269539c9b74da23bdbfcca.png

Kiwi grip has a blue...https://www.boatoutfitters.com/kiwi-grip-non-skid-coating?gclid=CjwKCAjwgOGCBhAlEiwA7FUXkluVC28UbRrLr-XWuLWHnZHJsjpFCMXsEgLQjoUYgZE1XvHdvML9QBoCC5sQAvD_BwE

And...you're boat is smaller in total deck area as it looks to be a Santana 27?  No reason not to redo the non-skid all the way back to the cockpit...esp if using Kiwi Grip as it goes over older non skid easily (just needs to be clean).  And there is no thinning etc...

Similarly, Brightsides being a one part poly paint makes the mixing/thinning/adjusting to humidity and temp, etc, piece much easier, though it WILL NOT last as long, esp. on high wear areas as 2 part poly will.  So on the aft ends of the cabintop, where lines were pulled through jammers or clutches, the Brightsides wore right down through to the gelcoat (which itself was wearing thru in those spots too).  But on the foredeck and cabintop, which really only saw foot traffic, it looked and wore great...

Or as Rainman says, "create" a break or waterway part way back along both sides of the cabin (note in my pics that there are waterways both in front of the shrouds and then again aft of them....that was how the boat came from the factory, but A) It looks good, and ) it makes the transition nice and clean with no need to blend.

If you think prep is hard, my question would be how hard is it do mask off to protect the interior from drips while still having a surface you can work on, get epoxy properly thickened to not sag, wet out glass only just enough to not drip, brace all the work up to prevent voids, then sand and fair and paint the interior to the repair looks reasonable, all over your head.  Then clean up all the inevitable drips, etc from down below?:unsure:

But, that's me.  I think the fairing and sanding part is less about technically hard to do, and more about patience, persistence, and not caving to into the tendency to say "ahh, that's close enough"

OBTW, the West Manuals are gold mines on how to do this stuff...but I'm guessing you already know that.

 

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2 hours ago, Crash said:

...

And...you're boat is smaller in total deck area as it looks to be a Santana 27?  No reason not to redo the non-skid all the way back to the cockpit...esp if using Kiwi Grip as it goes over older non skid easily (just needs to be clean).  And there is no thinning etc...

Similarly, Brightsides being a one part poly paint makes the mixing/thinning/adjusting to humidity and temp, etc, piece much easier, though it WILL NOT last as long, esp. on high wear areas as 2 part poly will.  So on the aft ends of the cabintop, where lines were pulled through jammers or clutches, the Brightsides wore right down through to the gelcoat (which itself was wearing thru in those spots too).  But on the foredeck and cabintop, which really only saw foot traffic, it looked and wore great...

Or as Rainman says, "create" a break or waterway part way back along both sides of the cabin (note in my pics that there are waterways both in front of the shrouds and then again aft of them....that was how the boat came from the factory, but A) It looks good, and ) it makes the transition nice and clean with no need to blend.

If you think prep is hard, my question would be how hard is it do mask off to protect the interior from drips while still having a surface you can work on, get epoxy properly thickened to not sag, wet out glass only just enough to not drip, brace all the work up to prevent voids, then sand and fair and paint the interior to the repair looks reasonable, all over your head.  Then clean up all the inevitable drips, etc from down below?:unsure:

But, that's me.  I think the fairing and sanding part is less about technically hard to do, and more about patience, persistence, and not caving to into the tendency to say "ahh, that's close enough"

OBTW, the West Manuals are gold mines on how to do this stuff...but I'm guessing you already know that.

 

Catalina 27, the Volkswagen of sailing.  The boat looks to be in great shape for an older boat.

Completely agree that doing it upside down from the inside is a nightmare especially in epoxy, but keep in mind that the OP says the area to be fixed is only 28" in diameter.  That might make it do-able from the inside - but what if the area turns out to be much larger than that once it is opened up?

Lots of good advice in this post.

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2 hours ago, Rain Man said:

Catalina 27, the Volkswagen of sailing.  The boat looks to be in great shape for an older boat.

Up thread he said it was a Gary Mull Santana, so either a 22 or 27...3 portlights per side and the big square sea hood point to the Santana 27...as do the chainplates on the cabintop.  Cat 27 has them on the side decks I believe...

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16 hours ago, El Borracho said:

Keep us posted on your project. Especially if you choose to do it from underneath.

"He said, barely suppressing his laughter."

No seriously, This is being a very thought-provoking thread, and I am very appreciative.

9 hours ago, Crash said:

Up thread he said it was a Gary Mull Santana, so either a 22 or 27...3 portlights per side and the big square sea hood point to the Santana 27...as do the chainplates on the cabintop. 

This person knows their boats. It is indeed an S27.

And I have to say, thanks all for the compliments. My dad kept her in great shape, sailing her well into his eighties, and did a full deck/hull repaint recently enough that she still looks good. My folks and I went around van isle three times in her.

I've never quite known whether she's particularly sporty - her PHRF rating is not great, even for her age, but people say Mull built fast boats, and old timers say she points better than most? She's the only boat I've ever owned so I can't really say.

There are a few things that are just lovely about her as far as creature comforts though - she's as roomy as a lot of 30 footers, with that cabinhouse carrying most of the way to the gunwhale. From the decent headroom to the big, useable galley and the dinette of a much larger boat (thanks to the offset companionway), to the oodles of storage, to the v-berth that sleeps two 6-footers AND my two year-old, she just feels big.

The one thing I will never understand, though, is why a designer who so clearly was building with pocket cruising in mind, and to that end compromised the ease of working on deck by ballooning out the cabintop so far you can hardly get by it, would insist on a seven-foot racing cockpit and a two-foot lazarette. With an extra foot of cabin you could have fit a heater and shower down there, and still fit four in the cockpit - hang the cocktails for six on deck!

Since he took such good care of the outside, what I'm left doing is mostly a lot of inside stuff. Replaced the main athwartships bulkhead, new head, new galleytop and sink (with pressure water!) last year, new sole in the head, new through-hulls with actual seacocks. Next upo is the. cabin sole.

image.thumb.png.a5168d01699dc581135040760cb10c3c.png

 

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I'd do it from inside, balsa core and vac bag the core and layup all at once. The core will stick into thickened epoxy on its own, then wet glass, then peel ply, then breather (use spray adhesive to get it to stick), then the bag.

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39 minutes ago, fucket said:

I'd do it from inside, balsa core and vac bag the core and layup all at once. The core will stick into thickened epoxy on its own, then wet glass, then peel ply, then breather (use spray adhesive to get it to stick), then the bag.

When you're done can you wallpaper the ceilings in my house?

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32 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

When you're done can you wallpaper the ceilings in my house?

I'm just finishing recoring a hull from the outside, so both working against gravity and having to fair the hull afterward. If I had to pick which of the two was a bigger pain in my ass, I would 100% say the fairing. If I had this kind of job where I get to pick which of the two I want to deal with, I'd work against the gravity. Then again, that's me and I already bought the pump and learned the billion little lessons the hard way, though. Also, I was doing a hull where I'm probably more concerned about adhesion and strength, and wouldn't give half as much of a shit about a deck.

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6 minutes ago, fucket said:

I'm just finishing recoring a hull from the outside, so both working against gravity and having to fair the hull afterward. If I had to pick...

No boat builder has ever chosen to invert the mold before doing a vacuum assisted layup. So count me as impressed. In brief, what method do you use to levitate all the goopy loose parts into place? I would guess fairing the effects of gravity would be some extra work. Maybe with a hull repair one has no choice?

I just did a deck. I cleverly used gravity as my assistant. Fairing with filled epoxy was trivial.

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4 hours ago, fucket said:

I'd do it from inside, balsa core and vac bag the core and layup all at once. The core will stick into thickened epoxy on its own, then wet glass, then peel ply, then breather (use spray adhesive to get it to stick), then the bag.

If I was doing it from the inside, given that the OP has a small area, I would just drill holes through the deck just inside the layup area and install 4 bolts matched to the corners of a piece of plywood.  Lay it up with thickened epoxy, then put wax paper on the plywood and bolt the plywood to the bottom of the deck to hold it all up.  Hillbilly vacuum bagging.  It might take two goes, one to get the balsa or foam core glued in, another to get the laminations on and stuck in place.  

Or just jam the plywood in place with some 2 x 4's and wedges.  This will work better if there is a curve in the deck, because the plywood can be bent into the curve.

Afterwards, tape the bottom of the holes and pour in epoxy.  This method leaves 4 visible holes in the deck.  The jammed 2 x 4 method might work better because it would leave no holes.

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15 hours ago, El Borracho said:

No boat builder has ever chosen to invert the mold before doing a vacuum assisted layup. So count me as impressed. In brief, what method do you use to levitate all the goopy loose parts into place? I would guess fairing the effects of gravity would be some extra work. Maybe with a hull repair one has no choice?

I just did a deck. I cleverly used gravity as my assistant. Fairing with filled epoxy was trivial.

One of the benefits of doing it from the outside is that you're working on a convex surface from the outside, so the balsa goes in scrim first. Butter the sides of the hole, spread bog with toothed trowel to ensure that there is reasonably even coverage, put the new core in, push like holy hell to get it seated properly, more bog to fill gaps on the sides and between the blocks. You end up basically here:

20201214_123537.thumb.jpg.1ba4b4b9f70af524e591d6dc613827a4.jpg

After that, the fiberglass can go on. This is a place that gravity hurts, there's basically a maximum size, about two or three square feet until it starts getting very unwieldy. I would wet out all three layers on my table, assemble them, and place them on the hull. Working at that size, they would stick pretty well. Any bigger, you could roll the lot onto a tube and roll it into place, but alignment gets pretty tricky.

Peel ply goes next, no problem getting it to stick. Breather cloth after that. Like I said before, a little bit of spray adhesive to get it to stay up. That was the trickiest part of the whole process until I figured it out. They make special adhesive specifically for this job but I used up with some gorilla glue stuff because that's what they had at HD.

The vacuum is really the key to the whole process because that's what's giving the clamping force to make sure there's real good adhesion between the new core and the old skin, and between the new cloth and the new core.

 

20201214_132825.thumb.jpg.d5432242e5e280dda14311f789bb57c8.jpg

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1 hour ago, fucket said:

After that, the fiberglass can go on. This is a place that gravity hurts, there's basically a maximum size, about two or three square feet until it starts getting very unwieldy. I would wet out all three layers on my table, assemble them, and place them on the hull. Working at that size, they would stick pretty well. Any bigger, you could roll the lot onto a tube and roll it into place, but alignment gets pretty tricky.

What weight of glass were you using that you could do 3 lams at once?  6 oz cloth?

I've done similar overhead work and I had difficulty getting 1 lam of wet 1708 to stick and 3 lams would weigh 3x as much.   Unless there is some cohesion between the wet epoxy of each lam that is greater than the adhesion between the skin and first lam. IDK.

I ended up using a spray adhesive (Airtac, but the 3M one works as well) and doing a dry layup - which is messy in its own right.  Agree 2-3 sq ft is about as much as one person can reasonably expect to do in one go.

Vacuum bagging is probably the way to go if you can, but I suspect a hand layup with diligent squeegee work will result in a decent result as well.

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How critical is vacuum bagging to this process? Especially from on top. Is it weight, strength or some other reason that isn't coming to me now? I see some work on my deck in my future and would prefer to forego the investment in vacuum equipment.

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From the top - vacuum bagging shouldn't be necessary.  People usually use weights of some sort instead - although I don't feel even that is truly necessary with a decent squeegee job.  But certainly doesn't hurt and is probably a good idea.

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3 hours ago, 12 metre said:

What weight of glass were you using that you could do 3 lams at once?  6 oz cloth?

I've done similar overhead work and I had difficulty getting 1 lam of wet 1708 to stick and 3 lams would weigh 3x as much.   Unless there is some cohesion between the wet epoxy of each lam that is greater than the adhesion between the skin and first lam. IDK.

I ended up using a spray adhesive (Airtac, but the 3M one works as well) and doing a dry layup - which is messy in its own right.  Agree 2-3 sq ft is about as much as one person can reasonably expect to do in one go.

Vacuum bagging is probably the way to go if you can, but I suspect a hand layup with diligent squeegee work will result in a decent result as well.

I was using 1708. Two guys and a bubble roller, it stuck pretty well.

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5 hours ago, fucket said:

I was using 1708. Two guys and a bubble roller, it stuck pretty well.

With 2 guys, then all bets are off.  Yeah, then I can see how 3 lams of 108 may be doable

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8 hours ago, 12 metre said:

From the top - vacuum bagging shouldn't be necessary.  People usually use weights of some sort instead - although I don't feel even that is truly necessary with a decent squeegee job.  But certainly doesn't hurt and is probably a good idea.

Use lots of weight.  I just re-built the mast step on my cruiser in epoxy with a layer of 3/8" heat-treated pvc as a core.  I put 50lb of weight on top after putting in the core with lots of structural filler underneath, and laminating 8-10 layers of cloth on top.  I drilled through it today to install wiring and discovered a small void underneath the pvc core in one spot.  I was surprised that the filler didn't migrate out evenly under the core.  Maybe it got warm and started going off too soon.  

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19 minutes ago, Rain Man said:

Use lots of weight.  I just re-built the mast step on my cruiser in epoxy with a layer of 3/8" heat-treated pvc as a core.  I put 50lb of weight on top after putting in the core with lots of structural filler underneath, and laminating 8-10 layers of cloth on top.  I drilled through it today to install wiring and discovered a small void underneath the pvc core in one spot.  I was surprised that the filler didn't migrate out evenly under the core.  Maybe it got warm and started going off too soon.  

Since it is the mast step, I assume the PVC was a solid sheet and not a type of foam.  Assuming it was solid, it would be quite rigid, so placing it on thickened  epoxy (which may not have been level) there is a good chance for an air bubble(s) and with a rigid body, the bubble would have nowhere to go no matter how much pressure is applied.  

With a more flexible core (i.e. scored) you could use the flexibility to work a bubble out.  That is start at the centre and work your way toward the edges.

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9 hours ago, 12 metre said:

With 2 guys, then all bets are off.  Yeah, then I can see how 3 lams of 108 may be doable

You know, now that I think about it, I ended up moving away from 3 lams at once when working on larger sections that are bigger than the 2-3 square foot max.

Over the course of the project, I worked out a whole methodology for templating that ended up saving me tons of effort. You cut and clean your hole and grind out your bevel. Then tape up a piece of clear poly sheeting over the hole and trace out both the edge of the hole and the edge of the bevel on the same sheet.

Take the poly sheet and draw a line right in the middle of the two lines. Cut the poly tarp on the new middle line, trace it onto a sheet of cloth and cut it out. That's your middle layer. You can then cut that layer into manageable 2-3 sq ft sections. For each of those, trace onto cloth twice and cut one piece 1/2 bevel width bigger and another 1/2 bevel width smaller. Those are your inside and outside layers, respectively. You can now wet out and lay up from the inside out and get proper overlaps in between all of the sections you're putting up.

Here's what a big area looks once completed. Alignment marks and slow cure resin are your friend.

 

20201219_163909.thumb.jpg.14d778946adae59d9d91a4db6e00a7d7.jpg

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