Advice on repairing this ferro?

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by PacificJim, Jun 11, 2016.

  1. PacificJim
    Joined: Mar 2016
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    Location: Pacific

    PacificJim Junior Member

    Ferro Boat Advice.

    (NOTE: Pics are further down thread, or try...)
    http://s000.tinyupload.com/index.php?file_id=86766514303398267096

    Hi. Found this ferro cruising sailboat that is in our budget. It’s currently out of the water in a yard and needs some repairs and work. However I can find no one around here who knows ferro at all, or they simply lack experience or know how. i've got some concrete experience and have 20+ years experience working on wood boats, but ferro is new to me. We're on a tight budget and this would fit our needs IF it's not too difficult or expensive or extensive a job.

    I know some of you survey and know ferro and I'm hoping you guys can help me on here!
    I'm including some pics I'll try and post (I'm on a phone).
    "
    I welcome your advice and insight (esp. MikeJohns", "Steve W.", etc)!


    Some info:

    HISTORY:
    The boat was built by a semi-pro, who did a decent enough job as it’s over 40 years old and has cruised the S. Pacific a few years- reportedly took on 30’ seas without flex in the hull. It’s 3/8” rebar on 3" diagonals with 3 or 4 layers of aviary wire on either side. Hull thickness is between 7/8” and 1”+ LOD: 39’ BEAM: 14’ DRAFT: 7'6" -Very solid Collin Archer style Blue-Water design with flush decks, full headroom and cutter rig. Above-waterlines are so fair most think it’s FRP; under the waterline it’s a bit rougher from layers of paint that have accumulated AND from some of the issues: One side wasn't laid up as well as the other apparently, and there's been flooding mixed with leaks in the engine room aft.

    DETAILS:
    (1) The original builder didn’t layup the starboard side as well as the port -some of the aviary wire is too close to the surface on the starboard side. I thought maybe it was copper paint reacting to the metal armature in the hull, or rust starting int he outter layer of Aviary wire, but on scraping I found only bare concrete.
    QUESTIONS:
    -Is this what rusting aviary wire looks like? HOW BAD is this??? We'd see more chaos from deeper layers if it had penetrated further, correct?
    -Can this be fixed, repaired, waited on for a year or two with a good sealer?

    If it's rust starting, I'm guessing it's the beginning of the end of the outter layer of the hull -???

    NOTICE: that it's in patches, only extrudes at most 1/16" at the "deepest" extrusions, and on scraping I'm finding NO RUST to the aviary wire that I can see.

    --What is your diagnosis, and what to do about it?


    I'd like to fair it smooth somehow and stagger the boat to a part of the world where ferro knowledge and experienced workers are more common.

    ALSO NOTE:
    Because of the pattern of ONE SECTION (see pics) is of the rebar pushing out the aviary wire on top, that would also support that there IS rust in THIS section (a 16" x 20" path roughly). This is midships, midway between keel and WL. This pattern indicates to me that this is the ONLY place (since it exists no where else on the boat) that rust to the rebar HAS begun, and as such should probably be repaired to the bare metal at some point soon. Also the pattern does show more than one layer of aviary wire is being pushed up along the 3" diagonals. HOW LONG can we let this go on before demoing the cement and fixing the rust? How far, if it's sealed up, will the rust spread in a year or two with no more exposure???



    (2) The engine room (which has a water-tight bulkhead) has had some sort of flooding from what I'm guessing is rain water leaking in through a missing hatch, and mixing with the engine leaks. We've NOT sampled the leaks but it could be some diesel mixed in there. The bilges are being drained but they were ugly. It's sat like that long enough to STAIN THROUGH THE HULL. could be decades of slow engine room leaking though. Being that it is now on the hard, we can see small drops dripping through the aft-quarter port area right down at the bottom of the keel from leftover fluids in the engine room bilges.
    QUESTIONS: How bad is this (and possibly it's been cruising like this for a long, long time)? The concrete seems solid and the hull is fair and smooth (it's the "deadwood" part of the keel- long and thin and flat).
    -How would we do repairs?

    I know we'd need to find the crack and seal it up -probably need to chip away until we get to dry stuff and what- seal it with an epoxy-Quickset mix once the crack is dry?
    NO ONE seems to know anthing about having old oil sit in ferro hull bilges, or diesel. I thought diesel wasn't a problem but gasoline would be? someone who hasn't done this kind of work but has a ferro told me that we'd have to demo this area of the hull and probably replace the armature. I'd think if that was the case we'd only have to demo the concrete and re-apply once the wires were cleaned with acetone. Do we EVEN NEED to demo the concrete once we seal up the leak back here???

    again, we'd hope to get the boat to somewhere where people know ferro better and have experience with the material within the next 2-3 years at most.

    The boat would suit us perfectly if the hull can be repaired or patched up for now and we can get it from the USA to NZ, AUS or S.E. Asia where there's experience and professionals who know the material.

    We need a boat this size, the design is excellent and we love everything else about the boat. I can budget about $4k in repairs and paint/supplies, IF it can be done, and done within 60 days. I can also do anything that doesn't require a lot of heavy labor or welding. We don't mind a boat that will probably only last less than another 10 years, as long as it will last for another 4-5 easy with good repairs.


    Thanks for your insight, help and advice!!!
    -Jim

    P.s. "fly ash" (?) Was reportedly used in original construction -working on links for pics right now..
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016
  2. PacificJim
    Joined: Mar 2016
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    PacificJim Junior Member

    Is there a mobile version I can somehow switch to so I can upload the pics ???
    The phone won't allow multiple popup windows to "manage" anything...
     
  3. Boat Design Net Moderator
    Joined: Feb 2010
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    Boat Design Net Moderator Moderator

    No, but if you can't use the manage attachments function from a laptop or computer, you can use IMG BBCode or post a link if you upload from your phone to any web accessible photo sharing space, e.g. flickr or photobucket, etc.
     
  4. whitepointer23

    whitepointer23 Previous Member

    Jim. Get on the Hartley boats website and order colin brookes book , ferroncement boats. It will have all the info you need. There are not.many on this site with ferro experience but plenty who will tell you its no good. I am no expert but having owned a 30 ft ferro i would not think twice about getting another. Hopefully a hartley fijian.
     
  5. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    I think any material can be used to build a boat. However, they all have problems after a certain age. If the hull was not laid properly on one side and the chicken wire is rusting, the only solution is to chip away the bad section and re-do it. This is the proper repair for reinforced cement, whether it is a boat or a bridge. Old boats are often sold for cheap because the owner is fed up with never ending repairs and maintenance.
    The history part may just be a sales pitch or a tall tale. Every structure flexes.
     
  6. PacificJim
    Joined: Mar 2016
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    PacificJim Junior Member

    "...chip away..." Do you mean the outside layer until you can treat/replace the going bad wire, or ...all the concrete in that area?
    If just the outer layers that would imply one can fair out an old hull, correct?
    I'll be getting that book just FYI.
     
  7. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    Chip away until you find rebar and chickenwire that is not corroded and there is no damage/deterioration to the cement. It could be the whole side. If it is extensive, you will probably have to make a new female or male mold to keep the shape.
     
  8. whitepointer23

    whitepointer23 Previous Member

    i don't think it will lose shape, the rebar frame armature will hold the shape no matter how much chicken wire you remove. there are many additives on the market now for cement so you can choose one that gives a good key to the old plaster.
     
  9. whitepointer23

    whitepointer23 Previous Member

    after reading o p again i think you can repair this boat for under $1000 if you are doing the work. material cost is very inexpensive with ferro.
     
  10. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    That is assuming the rebar is not completely corroded. I was looking at the worst case scenario.
     
  11. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    SamSam Senior Member

    Stuck away in a corner on this site there is this...

    http://boatdesign.net/articles/index.shtml


    Way down the page is this ...


    [​IMG][SIZE=-1]U.S. Navy Ferro Cement Boat Building Manual - Volume 1[/SIZE]
    [​IMG][SIZE=-1]U.S. Navy Ferro Cement Boat Building Manual - Volume 2[/SIZE]
    [​IMG][SIZE=-1]U.S. Navy Ferro Cement Boat Building Manual - Volume 3

    On each of those sections you can go to the top or bottom of the page and either click on 'next page' or load the whole PDF, which is the best way to view them.

    The index page numbers refer to the numbers on the actual pages and not the PDF page list in the header.

    I don't know why all that good information is squirreled away in such an obscure manner. I was just roaming around the other day and happened to see that ferro cement stuff, there's no telling what else is stuffed into the shelves and drawers around here.
    [/SIZE]
     
  12. PacificJim
    Joined: Mar 2016
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    Location: Pacific

    PacificJim Junior Member

    http://s000.tinyupload.com/index.php?file_id=86766514303398267096
    There's some pics. .
    At this point I'm most concerned regarding the diesel or oil soaking into the engine room bilges over time. Won't that mess up the concrete?

    You can see how it's begun to make discoloration on the outside in the lower half so far. It's not black but it's darker than the concrete around it... It SEEMS solid though, so without destroying it JUST to find out if it's OK...?!!!

    Anyone ever experienced or seen this kind of thing in a ferro???
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2016
  13. gonzo
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    I have seen fuel go through cement. It soaks into floors too. The main problem is that you won't get any adhesion in a repair in that area.
     
  14. PacificJim
    Joined: Mar 2016
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    Location: Pacific

    PacificJim Junior Member

    won't stick...?

    That was my guess. There's at least two crack leaks there that will need to be sealed up- some form of epoxy squeezed in won't adhere to wet cement? I'll need a solution to go voyaging a year or so if possible, do a more complete repair/fix during hurricane season...
    If some form of epoxy can't suffice then the cement would need to be broken and chipped away to dry material...rebar and mesh dried and cleaned, treated against rust , and new cement done?
    If I ran into too much diesel or oil in the cement then quite possibly, just by starting I could be looking at a whole new engine room bilge replacement (least in concrete) needing to be done then possibly....?

    Anyone know of or have experience with doing these kind of repaira in the Pacific NW of USA or know surveyors?
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016

  15. whitepointer23

    whitepointer23 Previous Member

    I agree. Hopefully the framework is still good.
     
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