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Old 17-12-2005, 06:20   #1
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Fiberglassing wooden boats....

Well I think I've officialy lost my mind. After Christmas I'm going to look a an old Chris Craft Constalation Woody.

I'm wondering what the collective expierence has been with sheathing a wood hull?
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Old 17-12-2005, 07:14   #2
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Don't do it. What size and year Connie are you looking at? I have a 1964 37' connie stored at my other house.
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Old 17-12-2005, 11:59   #3
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Hey Gunner,
I'm going to look at a 1957 48' Connie with Detroits and a diesel Genset.
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Old 17-12-2005, 12:04   #4
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I agree with irwinsailor. DON"T DO IT! This gives new meaning to the term "can of worms". If someone glassed the hull, you can bet they did it because the wood was rotted, or infested with worms, and those problems are still there. THey are just covered up now.
Also, never monday, check your email. I need an engine.
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Old 17-12-2005, 12:18   #5
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The hull is still wood now. I'm looking at doing the glass so I can be confident of it in fresh water.
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Old 17-12-2005, 13:52   #6
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Not familar with construction of CC --- if it's carvel planked, your glass will delaminate as the hull works. I know of one planked boat (a NY 32) that was successfully sheathed with very thin plywood veneer, two layers applied diagonally, then glassed. Good luck.
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Old 17-12-2005, 15:31   #7
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Carvel planked is standard on those boats, and as for glassing it for piece of mind, think of wood as a living thing. If you cut off the air, it will die. This is the argument against painting the inside of a wooden hull. Also consider that salt water preserves wood, so the wood will stay healthier if in contact with salt water. If you glass the hull, the only water likely to reach the wood woll be fresh water, and that causes rot. Now, before someone else suggests it, a number of people are proponents of penetrating epoxy on a wood hull. This will stiffen the hull, and those who are against it say it will make it weaker. I am not sure. I have heard both sides, and have decided not to try it. I know one person who did. He lost his boat off the coast of Baja. Related? no one really knows, but it gives reason for concern. As long as there is no worm damage, and no rot (especially around the transom area), the wood hulls on these boats are very seaworthy. The boat you are mentioning does have a reputation for having problems where the transom and hull meet, so pay close attention to this area. Personally, if I were to buy a power boat, the Constellation would be my first choice. I have gone out on a couple, and had one offered to me for free. Really wanted it, but no way I was up to owning 3 boats. (Oh well, best laid plans )
And Pat, thanks again for the info.
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Old 17-12-2005, 15:46   #8
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Thanks for the tips on the Connie. I know wood boats love salt water, what happens when I move it to this fresh water pond I live on? I'm seeing alot of older woodies on the Great Lakes, how are they surviving?
There has to be some modern invention to "improve" a wood hull? or do you just live with rebuilding every XXX years?
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Old 17-12-2005, 15:50   #9
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If I remember correctly Chris Crafts of that era were double planked mahogany with very light framing. There in lies the rub. It is almost imposible to fiberglass a double plank hull because water is able to move around between two plank layers and will cause premature delamination.

If I were to take on the task of glassing this boat I would start by refastening the planking (probably with copper rivets). I would then strip everything out of the boat, turn it over and allowing it to dry for months under cover. Then when really dry the hull will need to be refaired as drying will cause some cupping of the planking. I would rake put the seams to roughly a 1/8" width. I would then saturate the hull with mutiple coats of epoxy. Once saturated I would fill the joints and fastening heads with thickened epoxy. I would do at least three layers of glass and epoxy layup. Then you would begin the fairing process and painting process.

It is likely that this can be done but ultimately you will end up putting in more money than the boat could ever be worth. I have owned a wooden sailboat that had been glassed and also I have helped glass a couple wooden boats. It is a miserable process. Lastly the boat will be so heavy that it will not sit on its lines or perform worth a darn.
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Old 17-12-2005, 16:00   #10
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I was just copying what the broker lists of the hull construction. Then Jeff droped in with the same.

Hull structure looks to be fairly well in tack have no idea on age of fasteners but it would probably be a good idea to start on a refastening schedule. She is double planked construction below the chine mahogany on plywood on sawn frame construction and batten seem construction from chine up. It makes for a fairly stiff lightweight construction cosmetically she could use some help

I guess glassing is out of the question. So how do I make it live in fresh water?
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Old 17-12-2005, 16:10   #11
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I have inspected several wood boats in the Ca delta. This is a fresh water area, and they have included 2 Owens, and one Mathews power boats. All were in surprising good condition. No more rot than those I have seen in salt water. I would think the same would be true in your situation. As long as you keep the boat well sealed against the intrusion of fresh water, you should have no problems. Jeff's detailed explanation is right on the money, and anything short of that would lead to future problems.
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Old 17-12-2005, 20:47   #12
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Where is this boat? Also I know of what was and could be again with some work a great 1953 53' Chris*Craft that is very solid for sale that has been in fresh water sense new.
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Old 18-12-2005, 04:31   #13
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A friend of mine owns a fresh-water 50's era Connie, which has been featured in several classic boat magazine articles. “Pathfinder” is immaculate, but the owner is a multi-millionaire. These boats can represent a major commitment, in time & money.

Sheathing wood hulls, to add structural strength, is not generally recommended. Coating a hull to stop leaking, and for long-term durability is more feasible, but still problematic, especially of the hull is carvel, double-planked or lapstrake in construction (any construction where the joints “move”).
Coating or sheathing a hull should never be done until the wood is absolutely dry. This means that the boat must be stored under cover for a considerable length of time before the preparation process begins. On a larger boat, like a “Connie”, it may take over a year for the wood to dry to a satisfactory level. Smaller hulls will take less time.
The hull must be bare to original wood, and all repairs made before any coatings are applied.
All seams should be cleaned out, and filled with a flexible polyurethane sealant.

Some good references:

USCG Guidance on Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance of Wooden Hulls
NVIC 7-95
http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-m/nvic/7_95/n7-95.htm

Surveying Wood Hulls ~ by David H. Pascoe
http://www.yachtsurvey.com/Wood.htm
http://marinesurvey.com/surveyguide/wood1.htm
http://marinesurvey.com/surveyguide/wood2.htm
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Old 18-12-2005, 04:39   #14
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Gunner,
Thanks, this one is in Maine and about the cost of your generator.

Gord,
As usual you come thru with great links THANKS!!
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Old 18-12-2005, 07:07   #15
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That sounds expensive! I'm still recovering from that deal!
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