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Old 25-05-2011, 06:52   #1
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How to Water Proof my Head

So I am getting my new to me Westsail 28 ready for me to live on.

I will need to take some what normal showers in the head.

I have wood ribbon mahogany finished bulkheads in the head as I do in most of the boat.

Before I start using my head as a shower, what should I treat all the wood with something? If so what should I use and how often?

I don't want to get the wood water logged and have it fall apart on me, or worse the wood bulk head.

At the hardware store a guy told me he lives on his boat and used Thompsons Water Seal in his shower, so I bought some. When back at the docks I asked around and teak varnish was the majority winner on water proofing in the head.

Still have not applied anything yet.

A curtain idea would work, but I still need to treat the wood. The curtains will keep the direct water off it, the bulkheads will still get wet.

At Lowes I was looking at PVC sheeting to cover the mahogany and give the head a more modern white fiberglass look. I would still treat the bulkheads before glueing down the sheets.

Still have not done anything yet, but my time is running out....
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Old 25-05-2011, 07:42   #2
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Re: How to water proof my head?

An age-old problem! I shower as much as possible in the cockpit. When it's too cold, I use a combination of a curtain (pain in the arse) and an Absorber to wipe down as much moisture as possible. Both to save the wood, but also to cut down on condensation in the cabin.
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Old 25-05-2011, 07:51   #3
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Re: How to water proof my head?

What I did with the wood trim in the showers was to remove each piece of trim and then use West System Epoxy, thinned, to paint the teak trim pieces. You need to paint all sides and ends of each piece. Now all the pieces are encapsulated in epoxy and water cannot get to the wood. However, you need to "thin" down the epoxy so it will flow onto the wood and not just make a thick wavy coating.
- - You can also go to a Fiberglass house/supplier and they will have many different types of epoxies varying from lay-up epoxy to table top epoxy to clear (no pigment) "paint" epoxy. They also have the "thinners" which are unique to epoxy.
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Old 25-05-2011, 07:54   #4
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Re: How to water proof my head?

To keep the wood look, I would use clear polyurethane on the lightly saded wood and put on a couple of coats. YOU can use gloss or satin finish. Varnish has a tendency to yellow a little bit after a while.

Id you decide to pit the white panels over the wood, I would still put at least one coar of the polyurethane over the wood to protect it, just in case you want to remove the panels later.

The white panels WILL make the head look bigger and a lot brighter inside.

GOOD LUCK
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Old 25-05-2011, 07:56   #5
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Re: How to water proof my head?

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They also have the "thinners" which are unique to epoxy.
acetone works perfectly to thin WEST system epoxy.

for my head/shower I painted the whole thing with two layers of white Interlux 'Bilgekote', and I'm very happy with the results, both aesthetically and functionally speaking. I didn't have any pretty brightwork though, just a bare hull plywood hull and stringers.
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Old 25-05-2011, 08:25   #6
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Re: How to water proof my head?

your problem will be in the corners where normally you would caulk .. but if you have clear finished wood you can't do that. perhaps you could trim the corners with teak quarter round and seal this in place with some good caulk. then varnish or seal all surfaces. good luck.
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Old 25-05-2011, 09:59   #7
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Re: How to water proof my head?

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acetone works perfectly to thin WEST system epoxy.

for my head/shower I painted the whole thing with two layers of white Interlux 'Bilgekote', and I'm very happy with the results, both aesthetically and functionally speaking. I didn't have any pretty brightwork though, just a bare hull plywood hull and stringers.

Acetone is a terrible thinner for an epoxy split coat, because it evaporates much too quickly. It is the most volatile of the thinners for epoxy and will evaporate as soon as you put it on the surface. Much better way to go is to thin with methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) for a split coat on wood. MEK thins epoxy nicely and takes much longer to evaporate, allowing your epoxy to really soak into the wood. The other really common mistake I see in this regard is people using fast hardener for a split coat. Go with medium, slow, or even the tropical hardener. The longer it stays wet the more it will soak in. This also prevents solvent retention causing solvent popping down the road, because by the time tropical has cured enough to chemical bond another coat to it has thoroughly off-gassed. Just my 2 cents, but I have gone through thousands of gallons of WEST over the years...
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Old 25-05-2011, 12:16   #8
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Re: How to water proof my head?

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Acetone is a terrible thinner for an epoxy split coat, because it evaporates much too quickly. It is the most volatile of the thinners for epoxy and will evaporate as soon as you put it on the surface. Much better way to go is to thin with methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) for a split coat on wood. MEK thins epoxy nicely and takes much longer to evaporate, allowing your epoxy to really soak into the wood. The other really common mistake I see in this regard is people using fast hardener for a split coat. Go with medium, slow, or even the tropical hardener. The longer it stays wet the more it will soak in. This also prevents solvent retention causing solvent popping down the road, because by the time tropical has cured enough to chemical bond another coat to it has thoroughly off-gassed. Just my 2 cents, but I have gone through thousands of gallons of WEST over the years...
interesting tips, I'll take those under advisement this summer. living 100% at anchor with no access to a workshop or even a dock to work on though, having a longer open time isn't always a benefit...
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Old 25-05-2011, 12:25   #9
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Re: How to water proof my head?

I suggest wearing a hat.
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Old 25-05-2011, 12:55   #10
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Re: How to water proof my head?

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I suggest wearing a hat.
I wondered who was going to post that. It's what I did when I started loosing hair.

I know what I'm going to do if/when the wood in my head/shower begins to get tattered; replace it with FRP. Wood makes no sense at all in the head/shower area. However, touch-up varnish and drying have worked so far.
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Old 27-05-2011, 14:39   #11
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Re: How to Water Proof my Head

Thanks for the ideas!
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