It's going well. I have learned more than I could have imagined over the last few months. Since I posted these messages (nearly 5 months ago) I've read about a dozen books
on the subject, taken a few brief courses and got a full time job with a very reputable boat builder
. It turns out that I really like this kind of work!
I've finally admitted to the scope
of the project
that I've gotten into with my own boat and pulled her from the water. She is now "on the hard" in my back yard. It's the only way I'm ever going to be able to finish the project properly.
I have since discovered that the "cabin overhead" that I thought I was removing was in fact the core
of the deck! At the time of writing these posts I believed that it was more of a deck liner of sorts. Unbelievably, the CORE
GRADE 1/2 inch plywood. This is VERY unusual from what I understand (at least for American built boats) and the reason for my assuming that it was a liner. The inner skin of the deck was just a SINGLE
layer of fiberglass cloth. The outer skin is much more substantial but not strong enough to stand on it's own. To my horror, I also discovered that the entire fore deck had the same problem. Every square inch of core throughout the boat had become saturated and de-laminated! A nightmare but not at all surprising considering the material used for a core.
So once I finally had the boat in my yard I got to work. Seriously got to work! I have gutted everything from the boat. Galley
, bulkheads, absolutely everything. I am sure that I am going to extreme measures considering the value of the boat. I really don't think it's worth all the effort and money that I will be putting into it but I don't care. It's a learning project and I will have one solid boat when I'm done. After stripping her down to a bare shell, I started grinding. And I've been grinding ever since. Upside down. Call me crazy but I'm doing it anyway. After the inner skin was removed (most of it peeled right off after grinding around the edges of cored sections) the core came out quite easily. The plywood had de-laminated from itself as well as from the laminate so it mostly fell right out. The layer of wood closest to the outer skin required some encouragement with the use of a chisel and hammer. Once the core was completely removed I continued grinding. I'm nearly done grinding (hopefully by the end of today). When I am satisfied that the only thing left is good quality laminate, I will start fiberglassing. My plan is to layup
at least 2 or 3 layers of alternating mat and woven roving to the underside of the original outer skin. I will then glass in a couple of significant stringers that will run the length of the main deck on either side of the companion way (the larger portion of the fore deck had two of these originally on either side of the forward hatch
and I will also replace them with new ones). I'm fairly convinced that this will provide enough strength and stiffness to function as well or better than the original cored construction.
Let me know what you decide to do about it if you find that your problem is similar to mine.
Best of luck.