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Old 20-01-2022, 11:28   #1
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Help with cabin sole

The teak & holly plywood on my cabin sole is badly stained and delaminating in some areas. I removed all the delaminated parts and a figure it would be best to glue in something to even out the level of the floor before glueing in a new layer of 1/4 inch teak & holly. Any thoughts on what to use as a filler? I was leaning toward some fiberglass sheet from the local hardware store.
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Old 20-01-2022, 16:18   #2
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Re: Help with cabin sole

Photo would help define the problem better. Evening up everything sounds good, but am not familiar with 'fiberglass sheet' and wonder how well it might adhere to the ply. Adding different material to the mix of layers might not end up the way you'd want it to.
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Old 20-01-2022, 18:17   #3
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Re: Help with cabin sole

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Photo would help define the problem better. Evening up everything sounds good, but am not familiar with 'fiberglass sheet' and wonder how well it might adhere to the ply. Adding different material to the mix of layers might not end up the way you'd want it to.
Not only that, but wood expands and contracts with temperature and humidity changes, and plastic sheet definitely won't.

Imo, you need to get the surface flat, and a little filler for small voids, then put down the skins.

When you've got to the varnish stage, one thing I've seen that I really like, is for the last coat, they masked the blond inserts and sprinkled glass balls on them for non skid below decks, which really helps to not slide all over the place when you track salt water below.

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Old 20-01-2022, 18:23   #4
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Re: Help with cabin sole

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Imo, you need to get the surface flat, and a little filler for small voids, then put down the skins. Ann
But what to use for filler that would not have the differential expansion problem? Maybe some wood veneer?
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Old 20-01-2022, 19:39   #5
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Re: Help with cabin sole

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But what to use for filler that would not have the differential expansion problem? Maybe some wood veneer?
...or thicker plywood in the first place. Most of the teak & holly available around here seems to be 1/2" or 3/4".
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Old 20-01-2022, 20:11   #6
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Re: Help with cabin sole

Ann's comment about the expansion of wood is a good one, but it really only applies to solid wood, not plywood. One of the strengths of plywood is that the alternating plies greatly increase dimensional stability. This is why we can safely apply fiberglass over plywood or cold molded wood hulls.

However, the fact that you mentioned delamination, suggests the plywood is not made with waterproof glue, very common in older boats. I would be concerned about doing all this work to it and having it delaminate more later. The best move is to replace the plywood with new exterior or marine grade plywood and laminate your new teak and holly onto that.
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Old 20-01-2022, 20:50   #7
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Re: Help with cabin sole

Had the same problem where the PO had a long term leaking through hull (above the water line except on stbd tack). The teak and holly veneer peeled off the top of the plywood floor in an area.

I made up a batch of thickened epoxy and filled in the low spots, leveling with a wide putty knife.. Good so far after a year and 2500 miles.

Now laying down teak and maple flooring over the old veneer.
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Old 20-01-2022, 23:29   #8
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Re: Help with cabin sole

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Ann's
However, the fact that you mentioned delamination, suggests the plywood is not made with waterproof glue, very common in older boats. I would be concerned about doing all this work to it and having it delaminate more later.
I'm not concerned with the existing plywood. The delamination is localized in a couple of areas where the boat endured water leaks for some time. It's also limited to the top layer of teak & holly.

Thanks for all the help guys. I found a source for some 1/16 inch Baltic birch. I think I'll glue that down in the low spots and smooth it over with some thickened epoxy.

Now to research the best way to make some templates. That teak & holly plywood is spendy.
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Old 21-01-2022, 06:05   #9
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Re: Help with cabin sole

Now to research the best way to make some templates. That teak & holly plywood is spendy.

What you could do next, after you’ve leveled it all, is what I did to my damaged cabin floors. I veneered the surface with good quality veneer, then inlaid holly strips to match the existing.

As regards none slip, I just varnished the new surfaces with Epifanes, but didn’t sand between coats. The surface is shiny but slightly rough and not slippy.

These two articles published in Cruising World explain it all, and might give you some ideas.

Schooner-britannia.com/cabin_sole.html

Schooner-britannia.com/chart_floor.html.
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Old 21-01-2022, 07:38   #10
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Re: Help with cabin sole

I originally planned to redo my sole with teak and holly ply but realized I would have to chop it into several long skinny pieces to get it through the companionway. For that and a few other reasons I went the tongue and groove planks.

For non skid I varnished the teak leaving it nice and smooth but on the holly (actually hard maple) strips the last coat of varnish I mixed in a bit of non skid additive. The non skid doesn't show much at all on the light strips, the teak looks very nice but still has great traction.
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Old 21-01-2022, 07:48   #11
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Re: Help with cabin sole

Sorry folks, I gave the wrong link for the veneering story. If this doesn't work, go to my website and look in the navigation page for TEAK VENEERING.

http://schooner-britannia.com/veneering_my_sole.html
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Old 21-01-2022, 07:54   #12
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Re: Help with cabin sole

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Originally Posted by Propellerhead View Post
I'm not concerned with the existing plywood. The delamination is localized in a couple of areas where the boat endured water leaks for some time. It's also limited to the top layer of teak & holly.



Thanks for all the help guys. I found a source for some 1/16 inch Baltic birch. I think I'll glue that down in the low spots and smooth it over with some thickened epoxy.



Now to research the best way to make some templates. That teak & holly plywood is spendy.
Fair enough. But you're going to spend a fair bit of time and some cash repairing what you have, when you could have spent $70 a sheet for some decent 1/2" ply. And after you have cut and fit this ply you have your template.

As for templates, I like to make templates out of thin strips of 1/4" ply glued with a hot glue gun.
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Old 21-01-2022, 08:57   #13
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Re: Help with cabin sole

I would worry about moisture getting between the layers causing rot and mold. Spend a few $ more and get 1/2" teak and holly. Then finish both sides with table top resin. Do the underside first because this epoxy tends to flow around the edges to the other surface. Sand the drips off before doing the top surface. This produces a glass like, thick, finish in one application. I recommend doing the under side for moisture prevention.
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Old 21-01-2022, 09:00   #14
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Re: Help with cabin sole

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Fair enough. But you're going to spend a fair bit of time and some cash repairing what you have, when you could have spent $70 a sheet for some decent 1/2" ply. And after you have cut and fit this ply you have your template.
Whether this is faster or easier depends on how the boat is built. In my boat the plywood floors were built in then the settees and cabinets installed. So the plywood flooring goes under most of the cabinetwork. To replace the flooring would require disassembling the interior of the boat.
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Old 21-01-2022, 09:11   #15
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Re: Help with cabin sole

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Whether this is faster or easier depends on how the boat is built. In my boat the plywood floors were built in then the settees and cabinets installed. So the plywood flooring goes under most of the cabinetwork. To replace the flooring would require disassembling the interior of the boat.
Indeed. This is how my Caliber 33 is built. I was beginning to wonder if I was misunderstanding the plywood suggestion but I guess it comes down to the difference between boats.
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