Originally Posted by bwhit3
Another [question] is regarding the integrity of the front deck "how to repair
the deck itself if the plywood core
has been compromised by moisture penetrating the gel coat. I’ve read articles on how to patch the deck (generic—not necessarily a Cal
20) and I’ve heard people say that’s when you replace the boat. "
I don't know many cases of water
going through the gelcoat
, it's more likely that core rot
starts around mounting holes or through cracks.
Smaller boats are easy to work
on. I successfully replaced some rotted bulkheads and saturated flotation foam on our 19' boat. I also repaired some cockpit
floor soft spots by drilling holes, letting that wet core area dry for a winter
, then injecting runny epoxy
into the holes in the spring. So, if you're handy, some deck or cockpit repair
will add years of life to your boat.
If you know for sure you have substantial rot
on the deck's plywood
coring, you have two approaches:
- carefully cut and remove the top fiberglass skin, saving it for later re-installation
- cut off the underside skin (carefully or not)
With option #1, you have to take great care when removing the top skin, and you will have to do a reasonable cosmetic job when putting it back, but gravity will be your friend when removing the old core, fitting the new one, and re-attaching the removed skin.
Option 2 preserves the deck surface, and it means that you don't have to be fussy with restoring or replacing the underside fg skin, but all the work
will have to be done in the cramped cabin
, upside down, usually on your back.
There are a number of books
, magazine articles and online resources for doing core replacement. The Don Casey books
on fiberglass repair