As you know, we just finished the Hunter
54. On inspection
,found about six feet of the the 300+ Lbs owner side deck
flexing under his weight, not good. Faced with the mess and expense of core
replacement on a boat with no money
left in it, I decided to try a trick this same owner suggested for sopt wet core repairs
. I mean, why the hell not right?
The fix is something he used some 20 years ago and the boat's still good. So, I went out and bought a manual greasegun, System 3 "Silvertip" Laminating Epoxy
(which I really like after using it) and some grease zerts.
Arianna or Arie as she likes to be called, (my new assistant), and I, loaded up the cart and went on deck
to puzzle this out. I started with two rows of holes drilled to the bottom of the core, which was wet, and inserted the zerts (grease nipples). This was problematic as the damned things didn't wanna go in so with judicious use of a hammer and a socket, we got them in. Drilling the holes 3" apart turned out to be way too close as the epoxy
started pouring out of adjacent holes immediately on pumping.
After doing those first holes, I settled on a square pattern with holes in the corners, about 6-8" apart and one in the center. This worked well and each hole took 10-15 pumps before epoxy started flowing out of adjacent holes. Another problem with the zerts is that they pull out of the holes 99% of the time when you attempt to pull the gun off. If you don't leave the gun on for at least 30 seconds for the pressure to dissipate, you're rewarded with an instant backflow of most of the epoxy you just injected.
You can tell that it's working as you move to new holes when epoxy starts flowing from the holes you left again and also from holes you haven't yet injected.
Word to the wise, do not open the gun to check it because it's getting hot. The 200F catalyzing epoxy under pressure will burn the piss out of your hands no matter the thickness of your gloves. Thankfully, Arie was quick to yank them off of me before I got scalded. Very sharp and observant Lass that Arie.
So, we continued to drill holes and inject epoxy along that 18"X72" section. BTW, if you have a break in the bottom skin, you WILL find it or at least the epoxy will. This is a very messy procedure so make sure you have an entire box of good, thick gloves, a large bag of rags and a gallon or two of DeNatured Alcohol.
It took about three hours to finish the job and we left it to cure. he next day, we sent our own 300 pounder up to walk the decks. wow! It actually works! Just a bit of fairing and deck paint
and it's DONE! Sweet!
Apparently the key here is hydraulic pressure which gets the epoxy into and through the wet core. You can see water
being displaced as you pump epoxy in. The System 3 Laminating apparently cures just fine in wet core.