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Old 02-05-2011, 18:29   #1
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Getting Away From Wood

greetings gentle people,

Has anyone replaced their wood inside or out, with something else and if so what, where and what kind of problems were encountered and of course what does it look like.
Or alternatively has anyone come up with some method of impregnating wood with something so that it can take a direct hit from a cruise missile, withstand 28 hours a day of hot sun and require no maintenance. Obviously inside the hot sun is less of an issue but even in the relatively protected environment I see posts about delamination and veneer replacement and even marine plywood will warp, expand and eventually turn to mush if left unattended long enough near the bilge.
Before I am flamed by woodies. I love wood. I have spent most of my life working with wood. I love the look, the feel, even the smell of wood. I am just not sure that in this age of nano everything that there is not something better for a saltwater environment.
thanks for your thoughts.
SK
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Old 02-05-2011, 18:53   #2
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Re: getting away from wood

i've just replaced all my saloon ceilings with gelcoated fiberglass panels,lighter than original wood panels and totally impervious to damp etc,and cheaper than marine ply
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Old 02-05-2011, 18:59   #3
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Re: getting away from wood

Thanks Atoll,
Did you gelcoat the fiberglass panels or did they come gelcoated. Where did you get them and/or where can I get info about them?
Thanks for the information.
sk
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Old 02-05-2011, 19:03   #4
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Re: getting away from wood

The plywood that my boat is partly made of is 31 years old, and the boat is in EXCELLENT shape. This is because it is EPOXY glassed on the outside in thicknesses and fiber orientations that are appropriate to the area, and it is WEST system on the inside. In fact, the very BEST boats in the world tend to be the better "one offs". These are often a wood/epoxy composite like ours.

We do avoid (at all cost), ANY exterior varnish. Clear finished or bare wood, on the outside of a boat, is a makework project! IMO... We made all small bits like toe rails or cockpit enclosure skirt, out of Starboard, and the hand rails are all SS. Only down below is it evident that it is a mostly wood boat, and that's as it should be. Enjoy the beauty down below.

IF one wanted to epoxy over their teak hand rails or such, and then LP paint them brown, it would last well over 10 years before needing more work.

The thing you can't have is CLEAR or UNFINISHED wood on the exterior, AND low maintenance!

Even planked wooden boats have been epoxy glassed successfully, by laying up so much glass that the skin could be on its own... Then keep a bone dry bilge forever. It is MORE work than building from scratch, and once again... IF you want low maintenance, the outside needs to NOT look like a wood boat!

BTW American Marine ply is a very poor wood choice, as it is Fir, which gets checks & splits on the inside. For the WEST system, a good metric exterior Okoume ply will remain stable for more than your lifetime!

I started my career building &/or repairing boats, on old non glassed, planked woodies, 42 years ago. If varnished outside, they are VERY beautiful! I would NEVER want THAT type of wood boat for myself however. WAY too much work! If it was glassed outside & epoxied inside, made of plywood or cold molded, and painted over outside... THEN wood is a low maintenance material!

M.
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Old 02-05-2011, 19:24   #5
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Re: getting away from wood

Quote:
Originally Posted by shawnkillam View Post
Thanks Atoll,
Did you gelcoat the fiberglass panels or did they come gelcoated. Where did you get them and/or where can I get info about them?
Thanks for the information.
sk
i laid them up myself,using a melamine board as the mould.

no release wax nessacary,2 coats gelcoat, then 1 layer 450gm chopped strand glass,catalysed at 3% so about 15 mins between coats.

boards 50cm x 200cm,cure time about 90 mins, gel coat 500gms ,resin 1.2 kg ,mat 1.2 m2.

would use 2 layers glass for wider panels
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Old 02-05-2011, 22:01   #6
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Re: getting away from wood

The first thing that come to mind is epoxy over wood and then a coat of paint to stop the UV ray damage.

....or soak the entire boat in creosote.
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Old 03-05-2011, 09:30   #7
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Re: getting away from wood

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Originally Posted by David M View Post
The first thing that come to mind is epoxy over wood and then a coat of paint to stop the UV ray damage.

....or soak the entire boat in creosote.

David,
It is funny that you should mention that as an option. There is a chap in our local marina that spent the last ten years restoring and beautifying a 56 mono that is nearly all exposed wood. He applied a clear coating of some sort, then painted everything white and sailed off. His rational was that the paint would slowly deteriorate over the next couple of years while he was circumnavigating and the boat would look like it was poor. He claimed this kept foreign officials, marinas and other parasites from viewing him as a floating ATM. When he got back most of the paint would have come off and cleaning the rest would be simple.
It will be interesting to see how things pan out.

regards SK
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