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Old 01-10-2013, 07:17   #1
rms
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Advice on wood hull and epoxy coating

I am contemplating purchasing a 28 foot sailboat that has been refurbished as follows:
"The hull from the waterline down was encapsulated with fiberglass cloth and epoxy resin."
I have read that due to different flex patterns, wood and fiberglass-epoxy tend to separate or delaminate. Also, apparently a minor scrape can puncture the glass layer, thereby exposing the wood hull to moisture (and consequently also rot). Is this true, and hence reason to avoid such refurbishments? Is there, in fact, any practical reason to choose a wood hull over fiberglass?
Your opinion would be much appreciated.
Thanks.
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:31   #2
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Re: Advice on wood hull and epoxy coating

Quote:
Originally Posted by rms View Post
I have read that due to different flex patterns, wood and fiberglass-epoxy tend to separate or delaminate. Also, apparently a minor scrape can puncture the glass layer, thereby exposing the wood hull to moisture (and consequently also rot). Is this true, and hence reason to avoid such refurbishments?
Have owned wooden boats but not one that was glassed over so cannot confirm from personal experience but this concern has been expressed by some knowledgeable people.

One thing to be aware of, fresh water is the main cause of rot in a wood boat and glassing in the hull may create places for fresh water to collect.




Quote:
Originally Posted by rms View Post
Is there, in fact, any practical reason to choose a wood hull over fiberglass?
Your opinion would be much appreciated.
Thanks.
If you mean an all glass hull vs an all wood hull then this is question has been asked and answered many, many times and probably nothing new to be added at this point. Do a quick search on the forums and you will find many long and detailed discussions on this. If you want the 25 cent summary:

- Two reasons to choose wood. They are usually much cheaper for the same size boat and some people just love wood.
- Glass boats if left and neglected and almost always be brought back to life. Wood boats will almost always die.
- To keep wood boats from rotting away requires regular, ongoing maintenance and repair and fairly often a big job like all new paint, some new planks, fastenings, etc.
- Glass boats in general are easier to sell and retain more value when it's time to move up or just move on.
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:55   #3
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Re: Advice on wood hull and epoxy coating

Quote:
Originally Posted by rms View Post
I am contemplating purchasing a 28 foot sailboat that has been refurbished as follows:
"The hull from the waterline down was encapsulated with fiberglass cloth and epoxy resin."
I have read that due to different flex patterns, wood and fiberglass-epoxy tend to separate or delaminate. Also, apparently a minor scrape can puncture the glass layer, thereby exposing the wood hull to moisture (and consequently also rot). Is this true, and hence reason to avoid such refurbishments? Is there, in fact, any practical reason to choose a wood hull over fiberglass?
Your opinion would be much appreciated.
Thanks.


Never buy a wood boat that's been glassed, unless its cold molded or at least diagonal planked.
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:54   #4
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Re: Advice on wood hull and epoxy coating

Quote:
Originally Posted by rms View Post
I am contemplating purchasing a 28 foot sailboat that has been refurbished as follows:
"The hull from the waterline down was encapsulated with fiberglass cloth and epoxy resin."
I have read that due to different flex patterns, wood and fiberglass-epoxy tend to separate or delaminate. Also, apparently a minor scrape can puncture the glass layer, thereby exposing the wood hull to moisture (and consequently also rot). Is this true, and hence reason to avoid such refurbishments? Is there, in fact, any practical reason to choose a wood hull over fiberglass?
Your opinion would be much appreciated.
Thanks.
It is highly unlikely that the wood is "encapsulated" (think about what that means). It is much more likely that FRP has just been slathered on the outside. The butt edges of each plank will still transmit water to lower planks, water will also migrate from inside the vessel.

I've seen this done several times and each has been a last ditch effort to get a couple more years out of a boat.

A truly encapsulated, cold mold wooden boat is one of the most durable construction methods. Doing it after the fact on an old wooden boat simply delays the inevitable .... a little bit.

If she is near free and you can get a couple years use out of her, why not ?
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:14   #5
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Re: Advice on wood hull and epoxy coating

The place to go is the woodenboat forum, and past editions of wooden boat magazine. from there you can find the relevant 'experts' in these areas and contact them... but I caution you: You will get many, many, many opinions on this. None of them will be worth much, until you have a very experienced surveyor - one with considerable experience in wood and epoxy - have a look at the boat. The question is not answerable in a general sense since there are always exceptions to any position taken.

There are unquestionably many very poor examples of 'glass and epoxy over wood ( I have owned a couple). There are equally unquestionably several very good examples of this method of sealing and preservation - full 'encapsulation' is not necessary in all cases.

I have also owned 2 different, but very successful examples of this construction, quite happily. But during the years of ownership of all of these boats - many 'experts' told me all kinds of things supporting and refuting the abilities of the materials and methods. None of it is meaningful in a general sense when you are considering specifics.

Deal with the specific boat in question, have a survey done (pick your surveyor very carefully); and base your decisions on the known data in front of you... not on overall comments on various potentials and vague historical experiences of others in different situations!

... just my 2 cents! good luck!
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:27   #6
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Re: Advice on wood hull and epoxy coating

It seems to me that a critical question here is WHY the glass was applied?

Was it because of failing caulking... ie, to prevent leaks?
Was it because of structural failures... ie frames cracking or fasteners failing?
Was it because of worm damage weakening the structure?
Was it simply to avoid worm damage?
Or some other reason that I've not mentioned?

The possible success of the encapsulation depends a great deal on what the desired outcome was, so a generalized answer to your situation is not available IMO.

Personally I would avoid such a boat (this said as the happy owner of a strip plank/epoxy glass composite boat).

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:28   #7
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Re: Advice on wood hull and epoxy coating

Find out if it's a "planked" boat or a plywood boat that has been fiberglassed. Big difference. Planked boats will "work" under sail, more so as they age. Fiberglassed ply boats are best when epoxied on the inside, as well. One will leak as the planks crack at the seams, the other will probably be sailing fifty years from now.
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Old 01-10-2013, 18:53   #8
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Re: Advice on wood hull and epoxy coating

Just rolling on epoxy and fiberglass cloth on a plank boat might not work too well.
Research the Vaitses method by Allen Vaitses, and my favorite, C-flex fiberglass.
Both methods have had much success.
A lot of it, of course, depends on the boat and who did the work.
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Old 01-10-2013, 21:07   #9
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Re: Advice on wood hull and epoxy coating

Thanks, much appreciated. I will follow up/research as suggested.
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Old 01-10-2013, 21:42   #10
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If you take a traditional plank hull and glass it over there is an issue. You could argue that its a good worm shoe/barrier but at the get go its a issue. Run. Somebody here is going to disagree.
You don't take a cheap bail out solution and seal wooden boats in glass. Unless and it ain't cheap the best hope is to glue goop on wet wood.
If it was designed with a glass/epoxy sheathing then why is it being redone? Better hope that's how it was built but given the boat length your probably going too cheap.
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Old 01-10-2013, 21:42   #11
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Re: Advice on wood hull and epoxy coating

Get the book “Covering Wooden Boats with Fiberglass” by Allan H. Vaitses, ...He wrote the book he also wrote the best book I've read on lofting ,
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Old 01-10-2013, 21:45   #12
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Did not read the book yet. Why would you buy 28 foot wooden boat sheathed over with glass .
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:27   #13
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Re: Advice on wood hull and epoxy coating

Two other advantages of traditional wood boats is that wood is a very good insulator and also noise abater. Still, the ease of maintenance of fiberglass is a very big plus.
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:55   #14
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Re: Advice on wood hull and epoxy coating

Wooden boats are great but if you can't answer this question yourself buy visual inspection, probably backed by a surveyor of boat yards estimate of repair costs maybe you need to learn more about wooden boats before comitting to one. On a DIY basis they are fun and cheap boating but if you have to have them yard maintained become very expensive!
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Old 02-10-2013, 15:29   #15
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Re: Advice on wood hull and epoxy coating

I recall l from the above book that his main point was that the glass had to be very thick and each layer had to be mechanically attached. Thick as in 3/8 to 1/2". The hull had to be very dry. In the end your building another boat using the wood hull as a plug, hence attaching the glass to the hull and frames. I think it s a pretty good idea although I would not cross and ocean it it. I have a hunch what the OP is talking about is not what I describe here.
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