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Old 08-06-2021, 17:02   #1
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Sloop Restoration - Keel Repair

Hello Cruisers Forum Friends,

I have begunto restore a 1979 30' Sloop.

This restoration will occur over the next few months here on the Brooklyn waterfront (Come say hi)

As I begin the initial repair, I've started making a few lists of materials and scheduling the work needed.

I appreciate your ear and input on the project.

The main problem / challenge is the keel (I've included pictures)

The keel is a bolt on style made of concrete and iron, originally sealed with fiberglass / paint.

I've ordered a few book and I'm researching, but I want to run my current plan by folks / get some input.

Keel plan:

- Grind / Sand down, remove flaking metal and concrete. Sand down exposed iron, remove rust

-Prime Surfaces (concrete repair bonding primer?)

-Smooth out and shape with an Epoxy / Mortar / Concrete agent / mix.

-Epoxy Resin: Fill voids, seal any seams...

-Sand, shape, smooth

-New fiberglass, three layers, maybe 4

-More epoxy resin from inside the hull, reinforce seal from the inside.


So that's the basic plan for now. I am wondering if there is a better material / substance for shaping and smoothing the keel?

I welcome all input.

Also,

The chipped front/bow of the keel is a doozy. I can completely grind down and form something new... Though shaping the nose of the keel with just a resin or concrete agent seems difficult...

Could I use fiberglass to shape the front of the keel, let it cure, then fill the void with and epoxy / concrete mix?

I could also re-sheet it with iron or comprable material and fill with resin...

Appreciate you.
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Old 08-06-2021, 17:41   #2
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Re: Sloop Restoration - Keel Repair

Man.... Iím guessing this might fall outside the budget, but if I was in love with this boat (and therefore not bothered with details like finances), Iíd look into having a new lead keel fabricated.
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Old 08-06-2021, 17:46   #3
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Re: Sloop Restoration - Keel Repair

You have your work cut out for you. There are products called rust converters, they may be able to stop the rust you have going already. Trying to encapsulate it with fiberglass might be possible, but it would be very difficult to keep it from peeling off if it starts to rust again. Is the metal thick enough that a new leading edge could be welded on? I'm guessing it was an iron shell filled with concrete. A welded steel leading edge would be your best bet.
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Old 08-06-2021, 17:49   #4
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Re: Sloop Restoration - Keel Repair

If he does go the lead route, the keel would not be the same size for the weight, they'd need to make hollow parts in it in order to make it roughly the same weight and dimensions as the original.
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Old 08-06-2021, 18:16   #5
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Re: Sloop Restoration - Keel Repair

Concrete is not actually very dense, as a ballast material, compared to iron or lead. Was it used as a matrix for iron scraps? If that is the case, you may need to remove all the concrete (yikes!) because it lets water get through to the iron scraps, which will continue to rust and cause problems with whatever covering you put over it. If you can take everything down to a solid piece of unrusted iron (if that's what's in there) you can build back up from that. If it is an iron keel you might be able to bolt some lead to it and achieve better righting moment than was there with the concrete. Your budget likely precludes removing the keel you have and having a new bolt-on lead keel poured.
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Old 08-06-2021, 18:39   #6
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Re: Sloop Restoration - Keel Repair

How does the trailing edge look?

Is the keel foiled (like airplane wings) or flat?

How about a new one from plate steel?
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Old 08-06-2021, 21:02   #7
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Re: Sloop Restoration - Keel Repair

Side thought. If you can drop the keel and get the concrete out, might you be able to refill with lead? If you cover the holes appropriately, poured lead would not only give a better righting moment, but be less prone to the problems of encapsulated concrete. Some boatyards will have old keels that can be recycled for this purpose. Might be a bit of a pipedream though.
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Old 08-06-2021, 21:40   #8
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Re: Sloop Restoration - Keel Repair

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlissFactoryBk View Post
Hello Cruisers Forum Friends,

I have begunto restore a 1979 30' Sloop.

This restoration will occur over the next few months here on the Brooklyn waterfront (Come say hi)
"the next few months " !

Gotta love an optimist and admire a dreamer.

"I could also re-sheet it with iron or comprable material and fill with resin..."
and be completely bambozzled by a fantasy.

Show this boat to someone who knows what they are doing. They might save you 10yrs and a couple hundred thou.
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Old 09-06-2021, 05:21   #9
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Re: Sloop Restoration - Keel Repair

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatpoker View Post
"the next few months " !

Gotta love an optimist and admire a dreamer.

"I could also re-sheet it with iron or comprable material and fill with resin..."
and be completely bambozzled by a fantasy.

Show this boat to someone who knows what they are doing. They might save you 10yrs and a couple hundred thou.
Indeed.
Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, BlissFactoryBk.
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Old 09-06-2021, 05:48   #10
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Re: Sloop Restoration - Keel Repair

If you haven't already, I recommend searching for other owners of this type of boat who have been down that path already. They may have some details on what worked and what didn't work for them.

I recently completely refurbished my cast iron swing keel. It took twice as long as I had expected. There are a lot of Catalinas around, so there is also a lot of helpful information online about refurbishing their keels. Despite that, I learned some things the hard way including that the fiberglass woven cloth has a minimum curve radius, and the leading edge of my keel is smaller than that.

Good on you for gathering as much information as you can before diving into that huge project.
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Old 09-06-2021, 10:48   #11
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Re: Sloop Restoration - Keel Repair

From the photos and your description, that keel looks done for.

As the keel is bolted on I would remove and weigh it.

I would try to find a bolt-on keel from a more modern boat and adapt it.

With a monolithic keel you will not have these problems.

Lead keels are corrosion resistant and dense.

Cast iron keels are strong and finely faired.
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Old 09-06-2021, 11:46   #12
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Re: Sloop Restoration - Keel Repair

Hard to tell from the photos, but I agree with the above. That keel is likely finished. The Titanic’s keel is likely in better shape.

Hopefully this was a free boat.
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Old 09-06-2021, 11:56   #13
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Re: Sloop Restoration - Keel Repair

To me this looks like a steel fabrication with internal ballast. If that is the case I suggest it would be easier and cheaper to fabricate a new keel than to try to repair this one. It is almost impossible to stop surface rust in steel keels and frequently if you try to fill holes you will get rust happening behind the fill which will simply blow it off. If the keel was filled with a mix of concrete and ballast and has holes in the outer shell that means seawater will have penetrated into the concrete. Even if you could get all the free water out the salt residue left will make it impossible to dry so it is going to be rusting through from the inside. Fabricating a new steel keel would not be an impossible job but will need a hefty welder n the means to handle big steel sheets. The other option could be to fair it up and use it as a mould to cast a fibreglass one but you would need to consult a professional engineer for scantlines.
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Old 09-06-2021, 13:08   #14
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Re: Sloop Restoration - Keel Repair

What is the hull material. Can you see the keel bolts. Photos of the rudder please.
Any info on the design or the construction. Just some general photos of topsides, deck, interior and any rig. Engine?
Sorry to say, but it looks like new keel time IF you want to keep the boat for more than a season or two. The big question. What does it attach to...is the boat, when repaired, going to be an even greater problem...both in time and money.
Has the boat sat open to the elements?
There is little sense in discussing just a keel repair if the hull is not structurally sound. We just need more information.
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Old 09-06-2021, 17:19   #15
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Re: Sloop Restoration - Keel Repair

BlissFactoryBK, I have no idea of your budget or skill level but that keel looks shot. The blubber boys are right in asking about the condition of the keel floors and all the other important bits. Your best bet would be to find a boat wreckers and see if they have a similar keel.
Failing that I helped build a concrete keel for a Benford Dory once. We built a timber mold, then carefully positioned some large galvanised threaded rod keel bolts. After that we weighed all the scrap lead and steel we needed and proceeded to pour concrete and ballast into the mold. Once cured we coated with epoxy resin and paint. 14 years later that keel still looks perfect and it was way cheaper than a lead equivalent.
Cheers
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