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Old 19-06-2009, 18:23   #1
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Splining and Glassing a Wooden Boat

Does anyone have experience with splineing and glassing a wooden boat?
Were there problems aftewards? Where did you do it, was materials easily available?
West System manual says not necessary to epoxy sheath the inside of the boat, just have it well ventilated. Most other people say you must epoxy coat all surfaces. Inside ones too. If you're going to unplank and refasten the whole boat to do that, why bother sheathing it afterwards?
I've heard also that just epoxy splineing and glass sheathing (using epoxy resin) is strong enough to prevent the fastenings from 'starting'.
I'm leaning towards sister fastening the whole boat, splineing with epoxy and 406, then epiglass sheath the waterline down, maybe if I get carried above the waterline also!
Given the cost of replanking and refastening this feel like a better solution.
The boat is a 60 foot wooden hull, a bit like a Turkish Geluet, but the Italian version. Probably do the work in grenada or venezuala. Whether we just replank a serious chunk of the boat or spline and glass, something needs to be done.
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Old 19-06-2009, 18:46   #2
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I have owned an old glass over plywood vessel, that got two soft spots on the sides above the water line that I had to cut out and replace, the glass itself had de-laminated from the hull of the vessel, this was with polyester resin. I have repaired plank vessels that had been encapsulated with fiberglass cloth and polyester resin, which had water incursion and the planks rotted inside the glass. We have a local skiff builder here that makes an excellent plywood/fiberglass skiff using Systems 3 epoxy, and he uses glass cloth below the water line for abrasion protection. I used Systems 3 epoxy to repair my old glass over plywood fishing boat, and also used it to build glass over plywood hatch covers, the boat has long since been dead, and I am still using the hatch covers as pallets put stuff on; I built those 20 years ago. I am a believer in epoxy. I do not have experience with the West system epoxy. The general consensus in my village is, if you use polyester resin on a wood boat it is a death sentence. If you fully encapsulate take your time with the process and be very thorough, if you don't encapsulate, you are leaving yourself open for water to capillary into the wood and anywhere you get a high moisture content you will have rot. I would be inclined to coat everything. Would it be cost effective to re-plank the vessel and not use any coating?
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Old 19-06-2009, 19:22   #3
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Check on C-Flex. My boat, Oh Joy, was C-Flexed in 1994. They did a great job and the hull is plenty stiff and solid.
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Old 19-06-2009, 19:43   #4
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Having owned carvel and ply yachts and used 100's of liters of epoxy resins, I can endorse Capt58 comments; especially his thoughts on poly resins and wood.

If you plan to go the epoxy route (rather than just maintain the original structure by re-planking etc), I strongly suggest to fully encapsulate all the wood with epoxy inside and out.

Points to remember are:

You must fully stabilize the wooden structure from significant movement either by splineing with wood and epoxy glue or just epoxy glue (depending on size of gaps etc). If using wood, use a similar wood as the planking.

Ensure fasteners are tight after hull is fully dried out and before beginning the epoxy work.

As far as possible, remove any oil contamination from wood before using epoxy.

Epoxy bonds better to freshly coarse sanded wood.

The moisture content of the wood will remain constant after fully encapsulating with epoxy - so make sure the hull is fully dried out before starting the epoxy coating.

The amount of glass to add below the water line will depend on what you want the glass to do. i.e. add impact resistance, add tensional strength, simply bulk up the epoxy thickness etc.

Sounds a big job, good luck with it.
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Old 19-06-2009, 19:54   #5
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Depending on the boat, glassing can really detract from the value and beauty of a wooden vessel. I have read quite a bit on this because I looked at doing the same thing once and it seems that a properly maintained wooden boat comes in at about the same cost of ownership over the years as glassing over. And, the costs of repairs end up being less if you leave the wood as wood as you're not having to repair the wood AND the glass.

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Old 20-06-2009, 06:49   #6
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NVIC 7-95 is a good reference on wooden boats

USCG Guidance on Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance of Wooden Hulls
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Old 25-08-2023, 16:34   #7
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Re: Splining and Glassing a Wooden Boat

Long time since this post, I got a steel boat now
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