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Old 03-10-2019, 16:10   #1
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Foredeck re-core.

I'm finally starting to think seriously about re-coring my foredeck.

Essentially the whole of the foredeck needs doing. I am also going to mount a windlass at the same time. I am a bit concerned that the side decks ought to get done too, but I don't intend to do them this time, but to learn enough to do them at a later time if needed.

The deck is 1/4" glass on top, 1/4" balsa core, and 1/8" glass on the bottom.

Is it worth buildng up solid glass under the cleat, stanchions and where the windlass is going? Since these are all concentrated in the foremost part of the deck, perhaps make the whole front part of the deck solid glass?

What about the transition to the side decks ... on the assumption that I don't encounter properly dry balsa, would a small dam of solid glass/thickened epoxy work to prevent moisture transfer between the old core in the side deck and the new foredeck core until I get round to doing the side-decks in a year or two?

I know absolutely nothing about fibreglass work, except for watching dozens of youtube videos ... but that doesn't compare to real experience. So I am quite nervous about such serious surgery on my boat.

My plan is to cut the top glass about three inches inboard of the edge of the non-skid. This will give plenty of glass for a 12:1 bevel to re-bond the top surface to ... but will leave about 1.5" overlap over the edge of the core that will have to be extracted beneath. Is this a good idea?

The hawsepipe will have to be moved from the front to beside the windlass, but hopefully filling the old hole isn't the hardest part of the job.

Since I have a moulded headliner, I can't tell how close the core goes to the cabin trunk. How close will the deck core go to the steep side? or are the cabin trunk sides also cored continuously that might also need replacement? I hope not.

I'm still not sure what to do about making a cosmetically nice finish to the non-skid and gelcoat at the end. Probably paint and kiwigrip, which won't hide the repair at all, but should at least look clean and functional.

While I'm thinking about it ... there is currently just a single large cleat in the middle of the deck ... but once the windlass is installed it won't have a fair lead to the bow chocks. Should I replace it with two cleats one each side so that mooring lines don't rub against the windlass?

I'm looking for all the advice and reassurance I can get for this job, since fiberglass is a whole new world for me.
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Old 03-10-2019, 17:05   #2
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Re: Foredeck re-core.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelkara View Post

My plan is to cut the top glass about three inches inboard of the edge of the non-skid. This will give plenty of glass for a 12:1 bevel to re-bond the top surface to ... but will leave about 1.5" overlap over the edge of the core that will have to be extracted beneath. Is this a good idea?

T\

You don't need a 12:1 bevel, that's for gluing wood, any bevel at all is enough for a fiberglass deck. Just make the cut to minimize your work hiding it when the job is finished.
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Old 03-10-2019, 17:36   #3
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Re: Foredeck re-core.

I think it's not worth making the deck beneath the strong points solid glass but it might be worth making it solid structural filler. Just drill large holes in the core material where the strong points will be, fill the holes and then re-drill to the correct size when re-installing everything.

Cleats at either side can always be installed at your convenience later on. Depends on how you use the boat.

I can think of three options:

1) cut a section out as you describe, replace core etc. Easiest option but I can't see a way of preserving the aesthetics of the moulded non-skid.

2) cut a large part of the deck out, outboard of the non-skid where the deck is not textured. Can be properly faired to make the repair invisible once finished, but requires doing a very large section.

3) Remove the headliner and do the repair from underneath. Hardest option to execute but would probably give the best result.

For my foredeck I went with option 1, but I don't have a moulded non-skid surface. I just cut the deck out with a circular saw, did the repair, stuck the deck back down, then ground away over the seam and glassed a strip about 2" wide. Faired, then painted.

In your place I would explore the feasibility of option 2. Is there a break in the non-skid on the side deck just out of shot or does it continue right aft?
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Old 03-10-2019, 17:51   #4
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Re: Foredeck re-core.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jt11791 View Post
You don't need a 12:1 bevel, that's for gluing wood, any bevel at all is enough for a fiberglass deck. Just make the cut to minimize your work hiding it when the job is finished.
I'm not going to say you're wrong, just that I disagree. While the 12:1 bevel is most important in the hull, a considerable bevel for reglassing deck is advisable. With a 1/4" top skin 12:1 is three inches which is, in fact, a comfortable working average, and in fact makes it easier to feather the seam.
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Old 03-10-2019, 18:14   #5
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Re: Foredeck re-core.

I did something similar a few years back. Cut deep enough into the non skid so it can be kiwigripp'd to hide the repair. Getting the remains of the core out from the overhang is a bit of a chore, but not impossible.
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Old 07-10-2019, 12:12   #6
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Re: Foredeck re-core.

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Originally Posted by DefinitelyMe View Post
2) cut a large part of the deck out, outboard of the non-skid where the deck is not textured. Can be properly faired to make the repair invisible once finished, but requires doing a very large section.
...


In your place I would explore the feasibility of option 2. Is there a break in the non-skid on the side deck just out of shot or does it continue right aft?
Unfortunately the non-skid continues further outboard than the core does, so I'm going to have to cut into the non-skid. And the moulded pattern continues about a foot down the side decks before there is a break in the non-skid.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Reefmagnet View Post
I did something similar a few years back. Cut deep enough into the non skid so it can be kiwigripp'd to hide the repair. Getting the remains of the core out from the overhang is a bit of a chore, but not impossible.

Thanks for that ... good to hear it's all possible.


SO I've got all the fittings removed, it's almost time to start cutting ...
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Old 07-10-2019, 12:32   #7
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Re: Foredeck re-core.

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Originally Posted by Kelkara View Post
Unfortunately the non-skid continues further outboard than the core does, so I'm going to have to cut into the non-skid. And the moulded pattern continues about a foot down the side decks before there is a break in the non-skid.





Thanks for that ... good to hear it's all possible.


SO I've got all the fittings removed, it's almost time to start cutting ...
Most core is 1/2". I've never seen 1/4". I think I saw 3/8" once.

I did mine from underneath avoiding all the painting , matching, beveling and glassing issues. Yes it was a bit of a mess, but doable and worked out fine. You have 1/4" of good solid glass on the deck, why mess it up?

It's very doable and you don't have to worry about weather etc.

I covered the entire area inside under the "deck work area" with thick cardboard taped in place. I got a couple refrigerator boxes from the appliance store for that.

-Yes build up thick glass under cleats etc. But really, you can buy fiberglass sheet and just epoxy or laminate it there easily. Or layup a proper size pad on wax paper out on the work bench. Then laminate it under deck with one simple layer of glass/resin.
-BTW, you can determine the extent of wet core by drilling test holes from under deck in places like closets etc. Drill through the inside glass into the core, remove the drill, scrape the balsa out of the drill twists, press it between your thumb and fore finger hard. If wet: water will come out.
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Old 07-10-2019, 18:10   #8
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Re: Foredeck re-core.

We repaired extensive delamination in our cabin top by going at it from underneath. It avoided messing up the nonskid and having to repaint everything. We figure this saved about 4 weeks and a lot of hassle and expense. As Cheech suggests, it is a mess. But you’re working inside, so precipitation and temperature impede progress less. After our repair was done we had gelcoat sprayed on the overhead to match the rest of the surfaces. It was quick, easy, & looks like new.
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Old 11-10-2019, 14:34   #9
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Re: Foredeck re-core.

Thanks everyone. I've now got the new core laid down. Once started it hasn't been too bad so far. The good news is that the core down the side decks seems to be pretty dry, and certainly still well bonded to the glass, so I left a bit of the old core in the corners. From the distribution of the mushiest core it's quite clear that the hawse-pipe was the main location of water entry.



so far so good.
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Old 14-10-2019, 05:42   #10
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Re: Foredeck re-core.

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Originally Posted by Kelkara View Post
Thanks everyone. I've now got the new core laid down. Once started it hasn't been too bad so far. The good news is that the core down the side decks seems to be pretty dry, and certainly still well bonded to the glass, so I left a bit of the old core in the corners. From the distribution of the mushiest core it's quite clear that the hawse-pipe was the main location of water entry.



so far so good.
Looks like a really nice job so far.
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Old 18-10-2019, 11:08   #11
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Re: Foredeck re-core.

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Looks like a really nice job so far.
Thanks.


The top skin has been glued back on. Then I had one of the most miserable mornings of my life grinding away the bevel on the firerglass ... oh horror! the dust! the dust! I haven't seen so much dust since I visited Mt St Helens soon after it erupted! Then I laid down eight layers of new glass.



Now I hope the repair is structurally sound and waterproof. Theres still a lot of cosmitic work sanding, fairing, and paint or gelcoat and finally non-skid still to go. Unfortunately the weather isn't cooperating today.


progressing.
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Old 28-10-2019, 14:07   #12
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Re: Foredeck re-core.

The boat is finally back together ... I still need new lifelines, and the kiwigrip will have to wait for spring to get better conditions for a proper cure ... but the deck is now recored and hopefully seaworthy again.


I certainly learned a lot about fiberglass work ... there was no individual step that was particularly difficult, but just a lot of little steps that added up to a big job ... hopefully it will never need doing again.
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Old 28-10-2019, 16:52   #13
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Re: Foredeck re-core.

When you record, don’t use balsa..... I did both side decks top down. Used a circular saw cut the top off and removed all core. Then used nidacore as core material..... I also glassed solid under all stanchions and deck hardware. I did a reverse mold for the nonskid.... worked good but might change a few things today.

Good luck!
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Old 29-05-2022, 04:08   #14
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Re: Foredeck re-core.

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When you record, donít use balsa.....
Greg
This is often good advice as the balsa core may likely absorb water and rot again; however, recoring with balsa can be done well without this risk if the balsa tiles are laid down on a tacky epoxy film with a very small space between each one. When an epoxy coating is then spread over this, each balsa tile is isolated and any future potential leaks can not spread throughout the core.
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