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Old 07-07-2016, 04:17   #1
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Epoxy slurry to bed ballast

We've bought ourselves a cavalier 39 but there are extra ballsst lead ingots under the saloon floor space that are not fixed down.
Our intention is to move them to the lowest part of the deep bilge and glass them in. The eb research suggests an epoxy "slurry" around the ingots is a good measure... what exactly is an epoxy slurry? Is it just epoxy resin or resin mixed with talc/ silica....
I intend capping with a fibreglass ceiling to tidy things up and leave a clean bilge floor. Any advice here would be appreciated.

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Old 07-07-2016, 04:43   #2
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Re: Epoxy slurry to bed ballast

Consider concrete? A lot cheaper. Otherwise Seacast might be an option. Friend of mine used it to repair a mast step. Also cheaper than epoxy. Link below.

http://www.transomrepair.net/index.php?cPath=1
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Old 07-07-2016, 05:01   #3
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Re: Epoxy slurry to bed ballast

Epoxy slurry probably refers to mixing up epoxy with a filler so you don't need as much of the expensive epoxy.

I'd also consider other media to glue the lead in place such as pour in 2-part foam, concrete, Seacast.... Almost anything that will hold them in place and won't dissolve in water. (avoiding silicone)

Take up the majority of space with something relatively cheap if you want the area filled.
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Old 07-07-2016, 05:17   #4
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Re: Epoxy slurry to bed ballast

Are you sure that you want to do that (securing the free ballast blocks by putting them in the deep bilge)?

Have you talked to a naval architect? Checked with the specs of a Cavalier 39?


My concerns, which may be completely unfounded, are:


1. Why were unsecured ballast ingots added to the boat? Are they surplus to the design ballast? Did the Previous Owner add them for a particular reason and if so, what was that reason? Was the boat built such that some ballast ingots are optional (perhaps for sailing in some conditions, such as bluewater, and not others)?


2. Is spreading out the ballast along your keel a good idea? My understanding is that having ballast concentrated in the centre of the vessel (versus spread along the keel) can change the pitching/hobby-horsing characteristics of the vessel?


3. Will moving ingots of ballast from where they are now to further aft (or wherever your deep bilge is) change the fore-and-aft trim of the vessel? For the better or the worse?

4. Is reducing the volume of your deep bilge a good idea? You would be reducing the volume that stray water could occupy before it gets close to your engine, your wiring, etc?
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Old 07-07-2016, 05:34   #5
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Re: Epoxy slurry to bed ballast

More than likely, when they say “epoxy slurry”, they mean epoxy thickened to a gel like consistency. Which some folks call “bog”, especially when it’s structural. And you’d likely want something akin to mayonnaise or ketchup in thickness/viscosity. Creating such a mixture, using a thickener that’s at least semi-structural in nature.

The reasons behind this are, that if you were to pour neat resin into a cavity in any quantity, to a depth of more than ¼” or 1cm, it’ll go exothermic on you. With a possible half a dozen things ensuing, all of them being Bad Juju, as Tarzan would say. Whereas with the right thickening agent, it’ll help to prevent things from kicking too quickly, assuming that you’re using the right flavor of epoxy for the job. Which in this case would be a super slow curing blend.

Nicholson58 has a good recipe for thickened epoxies that can be mixed, & applied in quantity, without things going exothermic. As he used such a mixture when rebuilding his rudder, & on a few other projects. Plus, as of last check, he had the sequence of steps that he used when rebuilding his rudder, documented in sequence, in his photo albums here on CF.
And some folks, including boatbuilders, will come up with some creative "fillers" to mix with a resin, so that less actual resin is needed when doing such a pour.

In addition to gluing in the ballast with bog, glassing over it surely wouldn’t hurt. The catch for both glassing over things, as well as doing a thickened resin pour, is to first get squeaky clean surfaces to bond to. Which in a bilge can be challenging. But often times, after a good degreasing, multiple wash & rinse cycles with a pressure washer, will yield up a clean surface. And, a steam cleaning may also be called for.
Then you’d want to abrade as much of the bonding surface as you can access with a sander or hand sanding.


PS: Were it me, I'd be leery of using pour foam to hold lead bricks in place. While it is strong, the consequences if it fails are just too severe. And it's likely that it would break down in a bilge, especially when exposed to petroleum products, prolonged contact with seawater, & cleaning agents. Which, even when it's glassed over, is likely to happen, over time.
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Old 07-07-2016, 06:04   #6
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Re: Epoxy slurry to bed ballast

For cleaning: Big fan. Start with a putty knife and a wire brush and get all the gunk that can be vacuumed out, out. Then start with a parts cleaning brush and Acetone. Wipe down rag it, anything that can be dissolved... Will change the color of the rag. Spread your rags to dry on something that won't be harmed before disposing. Wet rags covered in acetone dissolve paint, harm varnish, etc.

Don't pile up wet rags... Clean 1 foot by 1 foot areas until a white lint free rag comes up clean, then move lower. If you have any stubborn looking sticky grease spots, Interlux 202 solvent with a paint brush. Put the rag over the spot, and keep the rag wet. It should dissolve it.

Most nasty looking bilges are bare laminated resin, and laminating resin is sticky. You can't water wash the uncured sticky resin that has the junk in it, but you can dissolve the uncured resin and junk off with Solvent.

For the most bilges... So long as they are dry, you can skip the water wash down as you are dealing with dirt, which can be vacuumed... Or oily grease, which solvent cuts. If you start with soap and water, you really shouldn't be pumping it overboard, and if you are on the hard it ought to go in buckets to a waste disposal site.

Epoxy:
Look into Composite Polymer Designs Super Slow hardener if you are going to do this...

Depending on where you are, it's 80 degrees here at night, and even with west systems 209 tropical hardener you'd be hard pressed to do an inch at a time without things foaming up and getting messy. You can do 50/50 milled glass fiber and glass microballoons fairly easily to a 1/2 inch pour even in the summer time if you care about weight, but if you want to go thicker then you need something like talc

You can chill off the resin down to 60 degrees or so in a cooler full of ice, right about to the temp where things start getting difficult to mix you can buy a little more time.

Screed the top of the last batch. Take a pair of 1x1 cleats and hot glue them to the side of the hull as a guide runner. Cover them in packing tape, and pack any cracks full of modeling clay.

You'll need a load of different length sticks to pull level across the top, so you can either keep a long one that just does fit and use a jig saw to cut it to size as you go, or have a stack of sticks ready to go.

Over fill the middle, and make the last batch a little bit juicy compared to the rest, but not so loose that it runs with gravity. Wiggle the stick back and forth as you very slowly work down the length of the fill. If you take off excess, pick the stick up and take a putty knife and clean the stick moving the excess to a low spot or back to the mixing pot.

When you have a clean run of it, you want to wait until it goes green and run some screws into the cleat and pull your guide rails out before it kicks off fully.

Mix up a slurry of milled glass fiber, and brush it into the surface filling any low holes while everything is green, but keep it out of the guide rail grooves.

If you use something smaller than 1x1, it is difficult to get a grinding bur down inside the groove, and you don't have much room to wiggle back and forth. If you aren't doing a big space, you can just tip a mini grinder into the groove until its scratched up... Though the nicer you can keep the 2-3 inches beside the groove, the easier it is to use a putty knife and just fill the groove by eye to the hull.

What you end up with should give you a flat surface. Grind lightly any of the high spots, and put an even scratch on everything. When you go to glass it in trowel a layer of cabosil a 1/8th or so thick over the filler using a drywall knife, let it tack up, and then lay in a few layers of 1708. Use a 6 inch wide air roller for the flat surface and roll it in lightly enough to float it into the troweled cabosil, but not so hard that you push little waves of it around. You are glassing over bog, a little more bog to float out flat without grinding saves grinding the bottom of the bilge... Which you will have done enough of by this point.

If you use a 3 inch air roller, you'll work the glass down into all the imperfections that your 5 inch grinder cut in. So use a 6 inch air roller everywhere it will fit.

Add another coat of resin to fill the weave, then peel ply it...

If you are going to use Interlux bilge coat paint, you need to wait a few weeks for the epoxy to fully cure and amine wash/acetone wipe it or it will stay wet for weeks...

Cheers,

Zach
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Old 07-07-2016, 10:44   #7
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Re: Epoxy slurry to bed ballast

The people at Fiberglass Coatings are pretty helpful & have a ton of products available. I'd give them a call & see what they recommend. Also, make sure your fore & aft trim is where you want it before you do this.

https://www.fgci.com/default.aspx
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Old 07-07-2016, 10:45   #8
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Re: Epoxy slurry to bed ballast

Before going permanent, try sailing with the extra ballast put in place exactly where you want to put it permanently. Got to make sure it will not affect adversely the boat's sailing characteristics.

An acquaintance dumped a lot of pigs into his Rhodes 41 yawl's bilge and found it made the boat more tender, not stiffer as he expected. It also may have contributed to hull deformation that occurred a year after sealing in the pigs. So try a temporary installation to make sure it works as expected.

If you have external ballast, be sure the keel bolts are not at the bottom of the bilge.
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Old 07-07-2016, 11:01   #9
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Re: Epoxy slurry to bed ballast

How much of your deep sump are you going to fill up??? Sumps to me are a must have to contain the water that inevitably gets below in rough weather. With an insufficient sump, this water will slosh up the sides and soak anything that comes in contact with it. That can create an unholy mess rusting cans, dissolving paper, soaking anything that will absorb water and ruin things that you don't want ruined.
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Old 07-07-2016, 11:09   #10
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Re: Epoxy slurry to bed ballast

Quote:
Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
How much of your deep sump are you going to fill up??? Sumps to me are a must have to contain the water that inevitably gets below in rough weather. With an insufficient sump, this water will slosh up the sides and soak anything that comes in contact with it. That can create an unholy mess rusting cans, dissolving paper, soaking anything that will absorb water and ruin things that you don't want ruined.
Yup, and does he really need extra ballast? Presuming the boat was designed by a competent naval architect, the ballast ratios are planned out for a lot of reasons. Suddenly the OP wants to play naval architect, most likely without the background nor training to do such.
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Old 07-07-2016, 11:51   #11
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Re: Epoxy slurry to bed ballast

Because epoxy is more sturdy than poly resin, it seems an obvious choice. Making a slurry can be done with a multiplicity of different fillers but the use of microbaloons is a good choice as they will add structural integrity where used. They come as a powdery form that should be added to the epoxy (not to the hardener). The West system epoxy is more expensive and a better quality (not that pricy=quality). If memory serve me correctly, the mix is 2/1 and you can add the microbaloons to your desired consistency and then add the hardener. You will have 20 minutes to an hour of work time before it goes off depending on heat and moisture levels.

All of that being said, I would suggest like others before me, you check on the reasons for the placement of ingots and their impact on sailing quality of your boat. Better to find out before than after so you don't have to redo - it is a difficult task to undo.
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Old 07-07-2016, 13:12   #12
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Re: Epoxy slurry to bed ballast

Thanks everyone. Yes we'll take some test sails with the ballast moved first... Most cav39 have additional blast added. They were reportedly tender with original ballast. Mine has been taken off-shore. I'll talk with PO who added balllast in 1980 about placement.
My main concern is that it's not held down in place.

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Old 07-07-2016, 13:14   #13
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Re: Epoxy slurry to bed ballast

If its been fine as is for 36 years....

Ain't broke. Don't fix it.
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Old 07-07-2016, 13:26   #14
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Re: Epoxy slurry to bed ballast

I'd want it firmly attached, God forbid you roll the boat, big chunks of lead flying around may not be good.
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Old 07-07-2016, 14:06   #15
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Re: Epoxy slurry to bed ballast

But is there an alternative method of securing the lead? I'll bet there is. For example, that removable floor could be used to press them in place.

I can think of a lot of reasons to want them out.
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