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Old 18-06-2017, 06:09   #1
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Waterproofing an old wooden sailboat with epoxy or fibreglass

I would like to re-furbish an old wooden boat. I don't want the hassle of pre-soaking in water each season so the planks expand to seal it. I want to coat it in resin of some type. Is this possible? Tried to add picture of boat but didn't succeed.
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Old 18-06-2017, 06:28   #2
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Re: Waterproofing an old wooden sailboat with epoxy or fibreglass

I've never seen any wood boat / resin project work out as planned, but I have seen a beautiful Sparkman /Stevens ruined when splining the planking with epoxy. I'd continue soaking the planking but I'm sure there will be varying opinions.
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Old 18-06-2017, 08:25   #3
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Re: Waterproofing an old wooden sailboat with epoxy or fibreglass

I think what you want is doable but will harm the wooden construction that you desire (planks, etc). This is practiced on wooden racing hulls that race (and are lifted between races), NOT on wooden boats that spend the summer in the water.

Get a cold molded hull instead. They are wood but do not require soaking prior to use.

Cheers,
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Old 18-06-2017, 10:37   #4
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Re: Waterproofing an old wooden sailboat with epoxy or fibreglass

Why not talk to the West System people and see what they suggest?

We were told by them a while ago that this only works well on a new build, an old wooden boat you may be covering up problems
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Old 18-06-2017, 14:55   #5
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Re: Waterproofing an old wooden sailboat with epoxy or fibreglass

The issue with wood and epoxy or resin is that wood swells and contracts. Resin doesn't. That's why delamination always occurs.
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Old 18-06-2017, 16:31   #6
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Re: Waterproofing an old wooden sailboat with epoxy or fibreglass

Generally just painting on epoxy, or even just laying on a few layers of glass and epoxy, leads to the ruin of a good old wooden boat. But there is a technique called the "Vaitses Method" where you essentially build a complete fiberglass exoskeleton around your wooden boat, which is not only epoxied to the surface but also mechanically fastened. It has been used to save a few good old boats. But it is not a quick and cheap solution, and not for the faint of heart. . . .

There was an article in WoodenBoat #228, Sept/Oct 2012, on how it was used on the Caribe 2, a glorious old shallow-draft Bahamas cruiser.

If you're interested, just PM me. I have a PDF of the article that I can email to you.
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Old 18-06-2017, 16:41   #7
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Re: Waterproofing an old wooden sailboat with epoxy or fibreglass

I should amend my prior post. I just Googled "Vaitses Method" to refresh my memory and came across this CF thread:

Epoxy Sheath for an Old Wooden Sailboat

where both Minaret and CharlieCobra, CF members who know a hell of a lot more about this than I do, both advise against it.

to quote:

Minaret: "The Vaitses method has killed more boats than it has saved over the years. Don't drink the Kool-Aid."

CharlieCobra: "Not only no but HELL NO!"

Some other good advice in that thread. Check it out. Good luck!
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Old 18-06-2017, 18:33   #8
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Re: Waterproofing an old wooden sailboat with epoxy or fibreglass

I saw a beautiful 40 foot sailboat, and it had a wood hull that had been glassed over in the 1970s. It looked great (hull design, interior, condition).

There were no reported problems. It was kept in the water and cruised. It looked lovely and loved. That is about 40 years of service after putting the skin on.

I would rather see this done to a boat, instead of letting it deteriorate and be destroyed due to lack of upkeep on the wood hull.

But that is just an opinion, and I have not done it.

Good luck. And if you do it, post some photos.
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Old 19-06-2017, 09:05   #9
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Re: Waterproofing an old wooden sailboat with epoxy or fibreglass

try filling the gaping seams with Fels-Naptha bar soap before launching A dried out wooden boat. saves lot of pumping.
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Old 19-06-2017, 09:07   #10
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Re: Waterproofing an old wooden sailboat with epoxy or fibreglass

just rub the Fels-Naptha bar over gaping seam until dfilled in
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Old 19-06-2017, 09:25   #11
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Re: Waterproofing an old wooden sailboat with epoxy or fibreglass

Steady Hand, I find that success story hard to believe of a single planked hull. Maybe a double or triple. Ply for sure. Or the the Fiberglas hull is now just insulated with wood.
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Old 19-06-2017, 09:38   #12
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Re: Waterproofing an old wooden sailboat with epoxy or fibreglass

Quote:
Originally Posted by earthmover View Post
I would like to re-furbish an old wooden boat. I don't want the hassle of pre-soaking in water each season so the planks expand to seal it. I want to coat it in resin of some type. Is this possible? Tried to add picture of boat but didn't succeed.
I would stay with the wooden boat unless you just wand a dock boat/house boat. If you should wish to make a sound hull us C flex with monel staples and lots of glass in addition. You may as well build a boat. A boat size and description would be helpful.
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Old 19-06-2017, 09:52   #13
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Re: Waterproofing an old wooden sailboat with epoxy or fibreglass

Hi,

the trouble is, that your hull has been in contact with saltwater and the salt cristals are in the wood. Whatever you do you will always attract humidity, the wood will swell and the epoxy will break, facilitating more water to find its way in and speeding up the process where rot develops and finally destroys the whole boat.

The most successful way out is to laminate 1 or several layers of veneer or plywood (depending on the size of the boat) in strips of 14 cm (again depends on the shape and size of the boat) in a 45 degree angle to the planks on the outside of the hull. Once this is done you've got a strong and solid barrier on which you can laminate with epoxy and fibreglass to make the whole thing strong and watertight.

Important: do not use Polyester for this, but go for epoxy!!!

I have to face this whole process on my boat at the moment, as after 57 years the nails between the planks and frames are giving up, fair enough. My boat was built like this from the beginning, only trouble is that they used polyester instead of epoxy, so, actually fortunately, the whole stuff comes off easily. A process you don't have to go through.

As I'm quite heavy with 22 Tons and will sail to some very remote areas, I've decided to go for 3 layers in 6 mm plywood (each layer crossing the one before) and 3 layers of fibreglass with epoxy plus, at least from bow to stern under water another with kevlar or carbon (got to look into these two materials to make sure I get it right).

To understand what and how I mean this, there exists a little film. It's unfortunately in german, but it shows the process and how it can be done. You can find this film here: Furnier statt Leichenhemd

Also, to better understand it, you can download the book (for free) from the Gourgeon Brothers about wooden boatbuilding in epoxy: http://www.westsystem.com/the-gougeon-brothers-on-boat-construction

Good luck and fair winds
Dody
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Old 19-06-2017, 09:54   #14
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Re: Waterproofing an old wooden sailboat with epoxy or fibreglass

Simple solution is to keep her afloat during the winter and just lift out to antifoul. Seam seepage is normally minimal and and handled by the pumps. If its not needs repairing properly not covering over. The main problem if ashore for month than a month in dry conditions is that the topsides open up letting in rain water. Much more annoying and damaging than a bit of seawater in the bilges and takes ages to close up (best bet is a few hard beats to weather or a salt water washdown daily.
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Old 19-06-2017, 09:59   #15
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Re: Waterproofing an old wooden sailboat with epoxy or fibreglass

The Vaitses method has been used successfully. Another method is cold molding 3 layers of thin wood strips diagonally to the hull. Both of these methods are expensive & labor intensive. They are typically used to save boats in poor condition. Taking on a wooden boat with very little knowledge is a fool's errand.
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