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Old 22-05-2014, 06:40   #1
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Deck Core Soft Spot? -a Low Budget Amateur Repair

Here are some steps I've followed at little cost and moderate tools for an in the slip repair of a wet balsa core soft spot.

1- I tap out the border of the water impregnated area with the handle of a scredriver and make a quick cut with a cutting wheel on a grinder to lift the top deck plate. I sand clean the underside of the plate and remove the old wet core with a broad chisel and allow to dry throughly....




2- Next, I brush a tacky layer of expoxy on the bottom of the wound and place end grain balsa tiles that I have removed from their cloth matrix. This is to allow an expoxy barrier in the gap around each tile so no future water intrusion could travel through the core. You can see from the photo that I am not concerned with perfect alignment of each tile, but a fill to keep the deck light. The strip of solid epoxy at the bottom of the photo is where the hand rail will be attached. I do not want any fittings to enter the balsa......


3- I grind down the new end grain balsa and epoxy layer to accommodate the returen of the deck plate and an added 1/16" of long fiber epoxy over the balsa. I brush on a layer of epoxy on both surfaces, place and add heavy weights on the deck top...


4- I return with my grinde to widen the cut seam to a bevel to increased surface area for adhesion. With a fill of long fiber epoxy; some surfacing putty shaping I finish with white gel coat.....


5- After taping off the white strips, I use my deck paint followed by a shaking of quartz sand from a salt shaker. I pass the shaken quartz sand through a second screen for even distribution onto the wet paint....



The final photo does not yet show the replacement of the hand rail or the final finish on the white gel coat. This is the fourth deck area I've replaced and I expect to finish with a few more selected spots.
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Old 22-05-2014, 07:07   #2
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Re: Deck Core Soft Spot? -a Low Budget Amateur Repair

Nice job, I don't know why you think it is a quickie, in-slip, amateur repair - it is pretty close to how these are done professionally with the exception that the seams probably should have been glassed and not just filled. A couple of questions:

What is "long fiber epoxy"? Is it just epoxy mixed with chopped fibers and cabosil used as a glue?

The balsa tiles on the scrim have spaces between them for filling with resin to isolate them. Why did you feel the need to separate them more?

Mark
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Old 22-05-2014, 08:57   #3
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Re: Deck Core Soft Spot? -a Low Budget Amateur Repair

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Nice job, I don't know why you think it is a quickie, in-slip, amateur repair - it is pretty close to how these are done professionally with the exception that the seams probably should have been glassed and not just filled. A couple of questions:

What is "long fiber epoxy"? Is it just epoxy mixed with chopped fibers and cabosil used as a glue?

The balsa tiles on the scrim have spaces between them for filling with resin to isolate them. Why did you feel the need to separate them more?

Mark
"amateur" ,- because I'm self-taught & non-paid,- DIY

The longstrand fiberglass reinforced structural filler is a West Marine product that I tried without a need for cabosil. I had used 'glass mat on my other similar repairs, but thought I'd check this out. It was easy t work with and contained a lot of cross matted fiber.

My end grain balsa tiles that from Jamestown Distrib, abutt with no gap on a flat surface. I know I could have laid them on a concave surface and brushed epoxy into the cracks, but I did not want to deal with that step. I am very comfortable laying them in by hand for my small ca. 4sq.ft. repairs. I do agree that I'd leave the tiles with a method to fill the cracks for a larger area.
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Old 22-05-2014, 09:16   #4
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Re: Deck Core Soft Spot? -a Low Budget Amateur Repair

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"amateur" ,- because I'm self-taught & non-paid,- DIY

The longstrand fiberglass reinforced structural filler is a West Marine product that I tried without a need for cabosil. I had used 'glass mat on my other similar repairs, but thought I'd check this out. It was easy t work with and contained a lot of cross matted fiber.

My end grain balsa tiles that from Jamestown Distrib, abutt with no gap on a flat surface. I know I could have laid them on a concave surface and brushed epoxy into the cracks, but I did not want to deal with that step. I am very comfortable laying them in by hand for my small ca. 4sq.ft. repairs. I do agree that I'd leave the tiles with a method to fill the cracks for a larger area.
Ah, I was thinking in another direction, but that product sounds like Tigerhair or equivalent. In your application of small, flat, non-loaded areas, this is certainly sufficient. I actually find sanding that stuff smooth is more work than glassing in tape mostly fair and final fairing with a small amount of softer filler.

Again, nice work - I hope you don't have too many to do!

Mark
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Old 22-05-2014, 09:30   #5
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pirate Re: Deck Core Soft Spot? -a Low Budget Amateur Repair

Nice tips Capt. There's just no reason to job out all these do-able projects to a yard. Maintenance is part of it.
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Old 22-05-2014, 09:52   #6
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Re: Deck Core Soft Spot? -a Low Budget Amateur Repair

That type of repair can immensely benefit from completely feathering the edges of the final joint, ~1" on either side, and applying sufficient bi-axial cloth and/or matting to full skin thickness. Otherwise the joint will eventually open.
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Old 22-05-2014, 10:49   #7
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Re: Deck Core Soft Spot? -a Low Budget Amateur Repair

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That type of repair can immensely benefit from completely feathering the edges of the final joint, ~1" on either side, and applying sufficient bi-axial cloth and/or matting to full skin thickness. Otherwise the joint will eventually open.
I do have the 1"+ bevel on each side, but, as I said, not the cloth this time. My first one of these was done about 15 years ago on this same boat,- 'a build of mat & woven roving w/ epoxy to the top surface,- no replacement of deck plate with no problems to date. My only opening joint was when I completed half of a soft area with thoughts of completing the rest later. This gave me a hard firm deck adjacent to soft wet area along the seam that didn't last even with the bevel and cloth. This use of the long strand structural filler is a new trial for me. I always have the potential for a "redo" when trying something new,- we'll see. BTW, all my soft spots are cosmetic and not structural needs to the design.
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Old 22-05-2014, 11:02   #8
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Re: Deck Core Soft Spot? -a Low Budget Amateur Repair

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I do have the 1"+ bevel on each side, but, as I said, not the cloth this time...
What your photo shows is not a 1" bevel on each side. And spreading a bunch of filler between two thin-edged butt joints is neither glassing nor matting.

This repair requires grinding the joint to feather edges, then building up to full thickness with glass, not filler.
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Old 22-05-2014, 11:06   #9
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Re: Deck Core Soft Spot? -a Low Budget Amateur Repair

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Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
What your photo shows is not a 1" bevel on each side. And spreading a bunch of filler between two thin-edged butt joints is neither glassing nor matting.

This repair requires grinding the joint to feather edges, then building up to full thickness with glass, not filler.


I wasn't gonna go there. But, +1 for sure.
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Old 22-05-2014, 11:28   #10
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Re: Deck Core Soft Spot? -a Low Budget Amateur Repair

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Originally Posted by tTerra Nova View Post
What your photo shows is not a 1" bevel on each side. And spreading a bunch of filler between two thin-edged butt joints is neither glassing nor matting.

This repair requires grinding the joint to feather edges, then building up to full thickness with glass, not filler.
You're absolutely right and to show my work I should have taken more photos! You'll notice my photos for step 3 & 4 are of the same time. This is a photo of what I had at the point where I removed the weights after the plate was replaced with epoxy. This edge is only removed to the point of obtaining an unobstructed placement. I had taken a wheel on my DeWalt grinder over this seam before adding my layers to a span that was easily three times the span of this initial gap. To show all the steps clearly I should have taken more photos, but when your covered with fiberglass dusting it's a difficult thought. I didn't get any shots of my stages of making "pretty" either. "Pretty" comes hard for me,- I probably filled and removed material seven times before I had a final acceptable surface.

This gives me a purpose to share something else. Before I sand or grind any fiberglass I slather my entire body with Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion. I then don an old t-shirt, swim trunks, "crocs" shoes, hat, gloves, safety goggles, and respirator. After the work I sweep all I can gather into a plastic trash bag and walk directly to the shower on shore, rinsing as I remove clothing and removing my layer of lotion with cool water. This keeps me from suffering the itch and breathing risks that comes with this kind of work.
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Old 22-05-2014, 11:36   #11
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Re: Deck Core Soft Spot? -a Low Budget Amateur Repair

well done, but I gotta ask why put balsa back in after seeing how it rots!??
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Old 22-05-2014, 11:43   #12
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Excellent job and since you did another repair years ago that didn't have any problems I guess you're good to go but it's my understanding that polyester doesn't stick to epoxy very well so my question is did you have any problems with polyester gelcoat on top of the epoxy?
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Old 22-05-2014, 11:52   #13
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Re: Deck Core Soft Spot? -a Low Budget Amateur Repair

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well done, but I gotta ask why put balsa back in after seeing how it rots!??
'easy answer for me,- I'm cheap, the balsa is easy to work with and, most importantly, the balsa does not rot when it's entombed in epoxy. My original deck construction had nothing to keep water from moving through the balsa core. Any water intrusion at my repaired locations has only 1.5" to run before reaching an epoxy dam. This is another reason why I chose to reset my tiles with a little more gap than as they came on the cloth mat.

This is another reason why my job is "amateur". No professional could satisfy the cost of the time I spend completing the task. Retired "do-it-yourself" guys can afford to be obsessive compulsive and allow for a cheap job to take many hours of their time. Few people keep the same boat that they bought used thirty years ago without a tendency to be obsessive.
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Old 22-05-2014, 12:01   #14
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Re: Deck Core Soft Spot? -a Low Budget Amateur Repair

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Excellent job and since you did another repair years ago that didn't have any problems I guess you're good to go but it's my understanding that polyester doesn't stick to epoxy very well so my question is did you have any problems with polyester gelcoat on top of the epoxy?
Excellent question and I'll eventually have an answer. All my previous repairs were completed by removing the non-skid plate only and no gel coat was used. At one point I tunneled under an original white strip without the nonskid and shoved my epoxy coated tiles under this bridge. As I said, my boat is old and I've used Petit Perfection two part on these white areas before. I might prep and try a one part next,- once your paint, sanding and resurfacing is not only an option, but an eventual need. Only my freeboard is original gel coat.
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Old 22-05-2014, 12:20   #15
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I believe the Pettit is epoxy based. I would think you would get longer lasting results if after grinding out the seams for a feather to use polyester filler and polyester gelcoat
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