Wooden boat repair question

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Tracy Lauricella, Aug 25, 2012.

  1. It's a little strange that you got those voids, I've never had that happen on a flat surface. I wonder if there was some residue on the plywood or something. Not much you can do but get rid of em and do patches. It's all a learning experience I guess.
  2. They seem to be in places where I got the fabric too tight (so it pulled up in the center) and places where I got the fabric too loose (so that it left a crease or bubble in the middle). Kind of like when you put a decal on, or put a screen protector on a phone. I tried to "squeegee" them to the edges as best I could, but there are still several left.

    The ones I don't understand are the ones that appear to be flat and solid with no air underneath, but just have the grey hue instead of being completely transparent.

    Ah well, like you said, it's a learning experience. I anticipate a lot of sanding and patching in my near future.
  3. If the flat solid ones look sound I would leave them since you're going to paint the bottom anyway.
  4. Hard to tell from the pic, but from your description, I'd suspect that at least some of that is the result of too much resin...
  5. I was thinking the same thing. Too much resin will float the glass. It's not the end of the world and you don't really have to do anything about it if you're painting the surface.
  6. I suggest the voids came as a result of the steps you followed. Laying the glass into tacky epoxy can easily trap a bubble of fabric. Not that it matters now, it sounds like you're on the right track to remedy the bubbles.

    I like to apply a layer of glass in one of two ways.

    1. Coat the surface with unthickened epoxy, let it cure, sand with 80 grit and then lay the glass down, spread epoxy with a squeegee working from the center out, making sure not to leave too much epoxy floating the cloth.

    The idea with the first coat and then sanding is that you take care of any lifted grain in the first coat with the sanding prep for the second coat (laying down the glass). You are less likely to have "dry" spots in your glass because you have more or less sealed the wood with the first coat as well.

    2. Lay the glass down over the raw wood, you can even pin it in place or tape in a spot or two, again starting from the center apply epoxy and move it around with a squeegee. Keep an eye out for dry spots and reapply as necessary.

    Remember to do a fill coat while the epoxy is "green", wait for that coat to cure then sand and do a third, flow, coat.

    I'm a bit envious, I've yet to build or repair a drift boat of my own. Have fun!
    Patrick Gould likes this.
  7. The "voids" could be from contaminated (oils/other things) spots in the cloth. I've have that problem before, and had to cut out the bad spots and redo the glass, or fill the voids with wood filled epoxy.

    When I lay on bottom glass, I usually let the glass lay on the hull for a day or two to relax the fibers of the cloth. I also hand smooth the cloth to remove tension in the fibers, and to even out the cloth on the bottom of the hull. I usually run the glass cloth up the sides as far as I can, depending on the width of the cloth. I then add some "blue tape" along the hull at the height of the narrowest part of the glass. Wet out to the middle of the tape, and cut along the bottom (top of hull) side of the tape to get a clean edge along the hull. You can fair in the edges if you want. I do a lot of this on my www.youtube.com/redbarnboats site.

    I will be starting a new hull in a month or so. It will be an 11ft drift boat and you can download and make a cardboard model of the hull at http://www.duckworksbbs.com/plans/messer/solduk/index.htm scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the PDF file.
  8. I don't no if you have completed your project but this is in reference to the first question.
    I am the owner of a 14 foot wooden drift boat my boat is not the varnished it is painted it's a lot easier to keep it good-looking, on the bottom I painted u-coat shop floor paint and it seems to work pretty darn good it's great for going over rocks, as well on the inside I have bedliner on the floor keep me from scratching the rubber membrane acts as extra waterproofing

    thanks Good luck and thank you for choosing a wooden boat!!
  9. Thanks for all the info and feedback. Warren, I really enjoy your videos!

    I have made a little progress on the boat, in between work and being sick. I went through with a utility knife and cut out all the bad spots, then sanded back the edges. On the larger ones I put in new glass, and on the small ones, I just filled them with epoxy. There were a few where I also mixed in some thickener to help level things out.

    As it is now, the boat bottom has two layers of fiberglass and 4 coats of epoxy. There's a few high spots where I applied the thickened epoxy and left an edge, or high spots where a bit of fiberglass poked up. My plan now is to sand the whole thing to get rid of the high spots and to prepare it for the final epoxy coats. I think I'm going to go with the West Marine graphite to mix in the final couple of coats. I was considering painting it, or bedlining it, but I think the graphite is going to give the best bang for the buck, and will be easiest to maintain in the years to come.
    Patrick Gould likes this.
  10. How thick is the West graphite mix when you apply it? Post a photo when you are done.

    For spreading the epoxy, use a "flexable" 3-4" putty knife. You get a good coating and don't waste a lot of expensive epoxy. Also it helps to add a bit of "paint pigment" (light gray) to the mix, so you have a better idea where voids may be as you apply the epoxy. You can't see them until you go to paint, and then it's *%$#@
  11. I'm still recovering from a bad cold; it knocked me out Thursday and Friday. I was feeling a bit better Saturday and was pretty much just sitting around taking it easy. I was still getting exhausted easily, and still congested, but one of the things I hate about recovering from being sick is having to sit around not doing anything, particularly with projects sitting half-done.

    I decided that finishing up the bottom of the boat would be ok. Putting the last few coats on would not be physically demanding, and would likely mean a half hour of putting on epoxy followed by a nap for an hour and a half between coats. I'm still congested and exhausted today, but am feeling good about the little bit I did on the boat yesterday to keep me sane.

    Anyway, for better or worse, I went ahead and did it, starting late Saturday afternoon. I rolled on the first coat of expoxy + graphite, so it went on pretty thin. I figured this was the best way to ensure good adhesion. (I did rough up the previous epoxy coat with 80 grit sandpaper first). I let that cure for an hour and a half then applied a second coat of epoxy + graphite while the first coat was still slightly tacky. This coat I put on with a 3" foam brush, so it went on a good deal thicker. I checked on it after an hour and a half; it had kicked, but a few spots still seemed like they could afford to wait a bit, so I let it go another half hour. (90-110 minutes at 70 degrees is what the manufacturer calls for.) Things were cooling off at this point, and about 7 pm, I put a final coat on using another foam brush.

    This morning I went out and inspected. In general it looks ok. There's a few thinner spots and a few thicker spots. The thick spots feel really slick and smooth, like a piece of glass. Most of the thinner spots do too, but there are a few of the thinner spots that feel a little less smooth; more like a smooth hardwood floor than a piece of glass. I think ideally another rolled on thin coat over everything would be ideal, but since everything has cured at this point, it would mean sanding the whole thing again.

    I'm confident that it's good and strong, and completely sealed, so anything more at this point would be cosmetic, and while you can tell it was done by an amateur, for a first attempt, I think it'll pass.

    I still need to put the aluminum guards back on the bumpers (this will help cover up some of the poor cosmetics on the bumpers as well). I plan to screw these in, but will wet out the screw holes with epoxy first, which it appears the previous owner did not do.

    Here are the pictures I took today. If I end up doing work on this scale again, I'll put a tent up over it. I kept having to pick dead bugs out of the epoxy as it hardened!


    Next steps:

    I'll sand the tops of the bumpers to catch any places where the epoxy dripped over them, paint the tops, then put the aluminum guards back on them.
    Repaint the side guards using some black boatbottom paint. (probably overkill to use the antifouling stuff, but I have it here, so why not.)
    Caulk where the the guard and and bumpers mate to the side wood using marine caulking.
    There's a couple of small scrapes on the side hull that I want to fill. (Maybe I'll hit the whole thing with another coat of spar varnish too.)
    Inside- hull bottom: there are some places inside where the wood grain has popped a bit. Plus the varnish in these areas is yellowed. I'm thinking a light sanding and re-varnishing would be sufficient.

    That sounds like a lot, but most of that is pretty quick stuff.

    I've also got a number of other improvements in mind for the interior (more dry storage, replacing the solid deck with slats, updating the seating, etc.) but those may wait until next season, or be done a bit at a time, we'll see how adventurous I get.

    I'll continue to post progress, thanks for all the feedback and support thus far!

  12. For finishing the epoxy graphite mix you can just sand the heck out if it. It turns an nice matte grey and looks really nice.
  13. Instead of just trying to get some "brushed on" epoxy to go up the holes for the screws to protect the wood; you want to locate where the screws will go, "over bore" the holes, and fill them with either System Three's EZFillet, or a "good mix" of wood filled epoxy. The wood filled epoxy will protect the plywood from water getting in around the shafts of the screws, and give a "better holding" in the hull for the screws, than natural wood would do. If it's underwater, I always over bore and fill with epoxy. I did that for the metal strip I installed on the keel for the bottom of the 12ft Grandville Bay.
  14. What's the little runabout we can see in the background? I love classic glass speed boats and that one looks cool.
  15. That one belongs to my neighbor. He's tried to sell it to me several times, but I've hesitated, since he has no title for it, and probably never transferred it properly from the previous owner when he bought it. I don't know much about it other than the fact that he didn't store it properly last winter and it filled up with water. He spent a good deal of time bailing it out and trying to dry it, but since then it's just been stored with the tarp over it that you see, so some mildew is likely.

    His wife wants him to get rid of it since she thinks it's an eyesore, and the entire time he's had it, it's never left that spot. I was tempted to buy it from him, move it 3 feet onto my property and then let it sit. ;)

    Seriously though, if the title issues could be figured out, it's probably a decent boat.
  16. I still have a bunch of West Systems 405, do you think that would work, or am I better using actual sawdust for this?
  17. Title issues on boat in WA are easy. You can get a registration that's provisional and then turns into a title after a few years. Call June at the liscensing department agency in Ballard and she can guide you through it. Only use the ballard DOL for this type of thing because they deal with so many boats and will know what you're talking about. The trailer is considered a vehicle and can be more difficult, but even that can be worked out.
  18. Don't use regular sawdust, but bandsaw dust is sometimes ok if it's really fine. 405 or commercial wood flour are better choices.
  19. I think they have the title for the trailer, so no problem there.

    Hrm.. do I have time & space for another boat? :)
  20. The West 405 would work fine. It's Ford or Chev on the 405 or EZFillet. Both do the job better than a "home mix". They both contain more than just epoxy and wood dust in their mixes.

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