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Old 23-03-2011, 11:13   #1
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Epoxy glass an old classic ketch??

My boat is a 50 foot classic ketch. Mahogany plank on frame carvel type. It was built in 1964 and other than the hull, is starting to get in good shape.
I want to repair the hull once and for all (or at least for a few years). Gougen Brothers publications and others suggest that routing the caulking, replacing with woodes strips sealed with epoxy is the single best thing you can do to seal the hull. I would then follow this up with 2 coats of glass cloth and then surfacing and epoxy paint.
I know there are several other steps and processes but I would like to ask for your combined opinions on going this route.
The boat is in Mexico and the climate in Puerto Vallarta is not kind to wooden boats (neither are the hurricanes or tsunamis!!!).
I know using epoxy would change the "classic" status of the boat but constant leaks and haulouts is becomming a problem.

I have several frames that would need to be repaired or sistered at the same time - nothing too critical.

She sails great and is worth saving and I have the skills to complete this project but I get so much advice from other in the marina that my head is starting to spin!!!
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Old 23-03-2011, 12:52   #2
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Re: Epoxy glass an old classic ketch??

This is a hard question.
This is just my opinion but if you are going to keep your boat in Mexico I'd say go ahead with what you plan but if you are going to take her to more northern or extreme southern climates I'd keep her wood and just keep replacing planks and sistering where she needs it. In a rainier area I'd not recommend glassing the hull because there would be a lot of freshwater seeping into the bilge which would start the dry rot process from the inside out. Your challenge once glassing the wood hull will be to keep freshwater out. Consider the added weight with adding glass to your hull and keep the layer thin. You don't need it for strength just for keeping the sea out.
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Old 23-03-2011, 13:10   #3
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Re: Epoxy glass an old classic ketch??

I would step up my hull maintenance efforts and try to make it right. Once the glass goes on the next step is to the boneyard. A glass job on a planked hull never looks right.

Wooden boats are rare these days and they are special! I would work toward preserving it as a wooden boat.
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Old 23-03-2011, 13:11   #4
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Re: Epoxy glass an old classic ketch??

If you must <sigh>

Everything else seems to be going to hell in a hand basket at the moment, so desecrating your boats heritage wont make a big difference to the world turning.

Yeah ok, go for it.
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Old 23-03-2011, 18:47   #5
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Re: Epoxy glass an old classic ketch??

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I would step up my hull maintenance efforts and try to make it right. Once the glass goes on the next step is to the boneyard. A glass job on a planked hull never looks right.

Wooden boats are rare these days and they are special! I would work toward preserving it as a wooden boat.
I'd urge you to follow LakeSuperior's advice. You've got a classic ketch and the e-glass route would completely destroy the authenticity of the vessel. I've seen it done and it works for what you're wanting to do but it looks and feels lousy.

I guess if you bought it that way you might be grateful some other bloke did it (you could've blamed him with impunity ) but doing it yourself is something you'll always regret imo.

Fix it in the traditional way properly and then maintenance of that standard won't be too onerous. And you won't be forever trying to explain to us puritans why you took the easy path with such a fine vessel.
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Old 23-03-2011, 19:29   #6
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pirate Re: Epoxy glass an old classic ketch??

You already know the right thing to do.
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Old 23-03-2011, 19:40   #7
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Glass onthe inside?

The whole point of the WEST system is that every piece of wood is encapsulated, sealed with epoxy resin. In theory water can get in, in practice, no.

If you only do the hull on the outside then fresh water will find it's way to the interior and there it will find wood to rot.

Would it be possible to clean the inside back to bare wood, and then to completely epoxy coat every bit of wood.

The exterior is just for show. The real work is on the inside.
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Old 23-03-2011, 20:03   #8
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Re: Glass onthe inside?

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Would it be possible to clean the inside back to bare wood, and then to completely epoxy coat every bit of wood.
In a word, no. A timber boat has too much in the way of structural timbers and it's simply impossible to properly coat all those sharp deep corners and crevices in the bilge. Water will find its way in and under and the rot will quietly bloom. I have seen such an attempt and it failed miserably. It was even worse where some chopped glass was added - that hid the problem further.

I'm all for nifty short cuts but carvel construction seems to resist them all.
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Old 23-03-2011, 20:10   #9
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Re: Epoxy glass an old classic ketch??

Thanks Guys and Girls.
Yes, you are right. I do know the right thing to do but your opinions are valued. I still might edge-bond the planks with epoxy but I do not think glassing the boat is a really good option.
I have already forsaken the teak decking which was too far gone to save. I ripped up the teak and laid plywood with a non-slip surface. It does look good now and the boat is several degrees cooler inside.
I have attached a few photos that show the previous work I have done.
I keep the boat in Mexico and the climate there takes its toll with a vengence!
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Old 23-03-2011, 20:30   #10
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Re: Epoxy glass an old classic ketch??

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I keep the boat in Mexico and the climate there takes its toll with a vengence!
Sheer textural beauty imo. But what's the issue with the Mexico climate? We've hot & dry summers here but as a rule haul carvel only between Easter and October (winter) and they seem to cope just fine.
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Old 25-03-2011, 06:16   #11
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Re: Epoxy glass an old classic ketch??

The folks at West System will tell you anything to market their crap. Please do not kill your hull with a layer of ..."frozen snot"
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Old 25-03-2011, 06:35   #12
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Re: Epoxy glass an old classic ketch??

You'd just create problems trying to coat wood with epoxy. Never want to trap water inside a piece of wood. What I've seen done many times is a complete fiberglass hull laid over the wood hull from waterline down. This works out remarkably well. The first 2-3 layers of glass are nailed to the old hull and then many layers are placed over that, reinforcing stress areas just like you would if you were laying up a new hull. There is no weight gain because there is no longer any water saturating the hull. Many boats actually float higher. The BEST way to do this is to flip the entire boat over in the water if possible and haul it upside down to be able to use gravity but it can be done right side up as well.
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Old 25-03-2011, 06:42   #13
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Re: Epoxy glass an old classic ketch??

I know of two people that tried this with their boats, one a classic Kettenberg. In a word it didn't work. The bond between the planking and glass didn't hold over the long run due to differential expansion and contraction as the timber absorbed and then gave up moisture.

FWIW...
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Old 25-03-2011, 06:42   #14
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pirate Re: Epoxy glass an old classic ketch??

Hi... I did something similar to my first boat...
An old Magyar 7 with oak frames and strip planked pitch pine... she'd been on the hard for years and had been abandoned...
I sanded back the hull then caulked the seams well with hemp.. then applied 3 liberal coats of West epoxy... she looked lovely when I'd finished.
The interior upto the waterline I painted with 3 coats of specialised bilge paint then a couple of weeks before launch I lined the bottom with old newspaper and then soaked it well with seawater and left to stand with an occasional re soak to keep her well wetted.
When we parted company 3yrs later she was still looking great and no problems...
dry inside and I did not have to worry about gribble eating the timber any more..
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Old 25-03-2011, 07:05   #15
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Re: Epoxy glass an old classic ketch??

I guess it all depends on getting people who know what they're doing to do a job like this. The bronze ring nails used to fasten the first layers of glass are spaced very close together. Can't imagine how any separation could ever occur. The ones I've seen done have lasted for many years, 20+ now and were done with standard polyester, not epoxy which should be much stronger and more flexible. The procedure creates an entirely new rigid hull, not just a glassed hull, dependent on the old structure. The old wood becomes nothing but a plug. How nice to not worry about springing planks, caulking falling out, screws falling out, rot, pounding in miles of cotton every few years, refastening, water in the bilge....etc. If I still had a wood boat that I thought was worth it, would do this without hesitation. You can still maintain the feel of a wood boat, the appearance of wood planking above the w/l, without the constant maintenance and leak worry of wood.
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