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Old 27-05-2012, 20:06   #16
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Re: Wet Steel Punchings Ballast

Bilge/keel question. I am in process of replacing my tankage in a 43' FRP cutter rigged S/V at 16 tons. The keel is lead poured from the top (fully encapsulated) I am now looking at the top of the keel from inside the bilge and it appears they placed a laminated piece of wood over the keel to enclose the ballast. The thin fiberglass cloth is delamming and I was interested in epoxy waterproofing however the amount of epoxy would be expensive given the surface is not entirely level. Do you think I could pour a small amount of concrete over the laminate to level it all and enclose this space then lay another layer of cloth and epoxy seal the whole mess as a clean solution? If there is water in the keel does it matter? I plan on drydocking next year to dry the hull on the outside and epoxy barrier coat the outside but by that time the new tanks will be in and I will no longer have access to the keel and bilge.
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Old 27-05-2012, 21:11   #17
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Re: Wet Steel Punchings Ballast

There is nothing wrong with steel punchings as ballast as long as the ballast ratio was designed for it. The plan of putting a small hole at the bottom of the keel ( maybe 3/4 inch) to drain any water out is good . I would rip out the old bituman or coal tar epoxy and weld plate over the top of the punchings and not worry about them. Have a fitting to put oil or corrosion inhibitor in from the top and every haul out drain the bottom of the keel. If the welding is good you probably wont find any water at haul out time. I turned down a beautifull 35 foot rivited english sloop when I discovered that it had punchings for ballast. I went on to buy another steel boat that had welded in lead ballast and regreted it. The earlier boat was a better boat. My 2 cents worth.____Grant.
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Old 27-05-2012, 21:29   #18
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Re: Wet Steel Punchings Ballast

KaptainKaos Hi, when I was building my 50' 23 ton Daedalus in 1974-1977, I searched for and found a couple scrap steel bars, 12"X12"X14'. I layed them in my FG hull on top of a polyester mash mixture of asbestos and resin. You could hardly break that mixture with a sledge hammer. I then filled around the bars with steel punchings and a slurry of the afore mention mixture. You can eat asbestos, but do not breath it. OK, in your case, find a couple large scrap steel bars. Have them torched cut to shape, grind a bit and coat. at 450#/cf X 28' my bars weighed 12,600 #. You can get a lot of weight down low with solid material. Good luck and enjoy the accomplishment. Capt.Fred
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Old 28-05-2012, 12:38   #19
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Re: Wet Steel Punchings Ballast

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Bilge/keel question. I am in process of replacing my tankage in a 43' FRP cutter rigged S/V at 16 tons. The keel is lead poured from the top (fully encapsulated) I am now looking at the top of the keel from inside the bilge and it appears they placed a laminated piece of wood over the keel to enclose the ballast. The thin fiberglass cloth is delamming and I was interested in epoxy waterproofing however the amount of epoxy would be expensive given the surface is not entirely level. Do you think I could pour a small amount of concrete over the laminate to level it all and enclose this space then lay another layer of cloth and epoxy seal the whole mess as a clean solution? If there is water in the keel does it matter? I plan on drydocking next year to dry the hull on the outside and epoxy barrier coat the outside but by that time the new tanks will be in and I will no longer have access to the keel and bilge.
Solved my problem. Drill 3 inch holes in top of ballast compartment. Drill 1/2" hole bilge sump. Pour Methanol 10 gallons twice one week apart. Dry. Multiple scheduled pours of thinned low V epoxy. Capped by multiple pours of low v epoxy mixed with higher concentrations of sand to reseal and encapsulate. (Special thanks to a few "bush" shiprights.) Total cost less than a thousand dollars)
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Old 28-05-2012, 12:48   #20
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Re: Wet Steel Punchings Ballast

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Originally Posted by Lojanica View Post
Solved my problem. Drill 3 inch holes in top of ballast compartment. Drill 1/2" hole bilge sump. Pour Methanol 10 gallons twice one week apart. Dry. Multiple scheduled pours of thinned low V epoxy. Capped by multiple pours of low v epoxy mixed with higher concentrations of sand to reseal and encapsulate. (Special thanks to a few "bush" shiprights.) Total cost less than a thousand dollars)


Must be a small keel. I would expect this to take many gallons of epoxy, which is quite expensive. The epoxy won't stick to the wet oily bilge and so the final result will not be bonded to the hull, certainly not well enough to hold it in place if you capsize. And you can't pour more than 1/4"-1/2" or so of depth at once due to high exotherm temps causing the resin to crack and smoke, especially if the keel is very long. You would also have to thin quite a bit to get it to reach the bottom, and use a very slow curing epoxy so it has time to reach the bottom. Then all the solvents you put in will have to evaporate out. I could see this process taking a very long time and not yielding a great result, and I doubt it will cost less than a grand unless as I said the keel is very small. Try filling the necessary space with buckets of water. See how many gallons it takes to fill to the desired point and then price that many gallons of resin. I doubt it will be cheap.
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Old 28-05-2012, 12:50   #21
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Re: Wet Steel Punchings Ballast

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Originally Posted by perchance View Post
heat the hell out of it with propane salamders (I don't what they call them in Australian speak). The keel could be filled with with some type of resin by pumping it in from the bottom forcing any air out.
Any trapped water would turn to stream and become explosive. Not sure about pumping resin in, but a heavy oil would be possible.

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Old 28-05-2012, 21:12   #22
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Re: Wet Steel Punchings Ballast

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Must be a small keel. I would expect this to take many gallons of epoxy, which is quite expensive. The epoxy won't stick to the wet oily bilge and so the final result will not be bonded to the hull, certainly not well enough to hold it in place if you capsize. And you can't pour more than 1/4"-1/2" or so of depth at once due to high exotherm temps causing the resin to crack and smoke, especially if the keel is very long. You would also have to thin quite a bit to get it to reach the bottom, and use a very slow curing epoxy so it has time to reach the bottom. Then all the solvents you put in will have to evaporate out. I could see this process taking a very long time and not yielding a great result, and I doubt it will cost less than a grand unless as I said the keel is very small. Try filling the necessary space with buckets of water. See how many gallons it takes to fill to the desired point and then price that many gallons of resin. I doubt it will be cheap.
Thanks for the input. Will do.
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Old 28-05-2012, 22:27   #23
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Re: Wet Steel Punchings Ballast

I've built two steel boats which does not mean I know what I'm doing...but...I would drill and tap holes in the bottom of the heel and plug. Then fill the inside keel area with alcohol to combine with any water (by the way...no smoking) let it sit a few days, drain and let sit for a week. Then get a roofing company to pour hot tar over the mess and forget about it.
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Old 28-05-2012, 23:20   #24
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Re: Wet Steel Punchings Ballast

Just a suggestion:
If you do decide to drill a hole in the bottom and do the alcohol as Celestialsailor suggests. You can pump in compressed air (air compressor) thru the drilled hole(s) and it will dry out the inside a lot quicker, but actually two holes, fore & aft. It doesn't have to be a lot of air, just enought to keep it moving. Adding heat would help but no more then on a sunny day due to the alcohol.

The atoms that make up water molecules and alcohol molecules are arranged so that there is more positive charge in one part of the molecule and more negative charge in another part of the molecule. Molecules like this are called polar molecules.

The charged particles in an oil molecule are distributed more or less evenly throughout the molecule. Molecules like this are called nonpolar molecules.

Polar molecules like to stick together. That's because positive charges attract negative charges. So the positive part of a polar molecule attracts the negative part of another polar molecule, and the two molecules tend to stay together. When you try to mix water and oil or alcohol and oil, the polar molecules stick together, keeping the oil molecules from getting between them-and the two don't mix. When you try to mix water and alcohol, they mix fine, since both are made of polar molecules.

By adding alcohol to water it thins out the internal bonding effect and helps it evaporate faster. >>> Evaporation of sessile water/ethanol drops in a controlled environment - Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics (RSC Publishing)

And cold tar doesn't smell, at least, not as much as the other stuff on boats do. As for fire, if the heat gets that low the boat is already a loss.
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Old 28-05-2012, 23:29   #25
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Re: Wet Steel Punchings Ballast

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As for fire, if the heat gets that low the boat is already a loss.



Was thinking more of an autocombustion risk, particularly if you left a rag in the bilge for a very long time or something. But I know nothing about roofing tar and the like, never seen a boat done that way.
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Old 29-05-2012, 07:56   #26
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Re: Wet Steel Punchings Ballast

Back at the turn of the century it was common practice (according to a surveyor I once knew) to hot tar the bilges in ships. My surveyor friend chip the tar away on one of these ships, in the 80s and lo and behold...clean iron/steel. So who knows?
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Old 29-05-2012, 22:59   #27
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Re: Wet Steel Punchings Ballast

I am not on the hard. Therefore what I am proposing is a "cap" of relatively small size. The vessel when hauled at a later date can have the keel drilled from the exterior and drained with a method similar to those suggested. This is to "cap" the top of a lead keel which was encapsulated but the previous "cap" has been compromised. I do not believe there is any structural loss of integrity. I had a structural fiberglass pro look at it today and he concurs. Cap it with multiple "thin" pours of epoxy an 1/8" thick. I am wondering if I should skin it with a layer of glass impregnated epoxy as a final layer.
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Old 29-05-2012, 23:19   #28
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Re: Wet Steel Punchings Ballast

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I am not on the hard. Therefore what I am proposing is a "cap" of relatively small size. The vessel when hauled at a later date can have the keel drilled from the exterior and drained with a method similar to those suggested. This is to "cap" the top of a lead keel which was encapsulated but the previous "cap" has been compromised. I do not believe there is any structural loss of integrity. I had a structural fiberglass pro look at it today and he concurs. Cap it with multiple "thin" pours of epoxy an 1/8" thick. I am wondering if I should skin it with a layer of glass impregnated epoxy as a final layer.

You might look at using something like Chockfast Orange, it's made for this sort of thing. I know it's pretty pricy, but I don't do the buying so I don't know if it's more or less than epoxy.


ITW Chockfast Marine | Industrial Grouts, Adhesives, Repair Products and Coatings
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Old 30-05-2012, 21:48   #29
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Re: Wet Steel Punchings Ballast

Hi

I would like to thank everyone very much for all the excellent advice!!

I've contacted the designer Bruce Roberts and his agent in Australia has recommended that I fit some drain points at the bottom of the keel and drain the water. Then weld plates over the top with an inspection port and fill the whole thing with oil.

I think I'm going to follow this advice because removing and replacing the ballast require such an huge amount of money and time. We'll never go cruising!

I'm planning to drain the keel to ensure that oil and not water comes out each time I haul the boat. I'll also have a look in the inspection port at the top every few years to see what's going on in there.

Thanks again!

Cheers
Mark
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Old 31-05-2012, 07:41   #30
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Re: Wet Steel Punchings Ballast

Likewise. This thread as well as all the rest have been so helpful to me in figuring solutions. Thanks to everyone.

FYI another follow-up (If this helps anyone):

I spoke to an experienced keel epoxy pourer. He says "The keel is a HUGE heat sink. The metals and water cooling suck up all the heat and more. In fact curing is more of an issue than hardening or gassing, heat, or flaring. If you add sand that further adds to the heatsink quality of the pour and you can essentially pour GALLONS of the stuff without worry of too much heat or problems. He said go slow, that is, do test batches, check temps and cure rates, do a couple test batches and should be OK."
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