Boat Restoration Project

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by Barred label, May 17, 2012.

  1. Barred label
    Joined: May 2012
    Posts: 26
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Saraaota

    Barred label Junior Member

    Hello all,
    I'm new to this forum though i have been lurking around for a bit. I wanted to track the restoration of a boat I'm working on and thought this to be a great place to do it. The boat is a 1973 Seeker Craft 15' CC. Surely few, if any, of you have heard of this brand boat before but the reason it peaked my interest is the manufacturing plant was located just down the road from me though it closed back in '79. I like the idea of restoring a local relic. I paid $500 a couple months ago for the boat, motor (somewhat running early 70's johnson 60hp O/B) and trailer. I've got a newer merc to throw on the back instead of the johnson.
    I'm not so much interested in restoring the boat to it's exact original appearance so much as i'd like to lend a more updated style to it.

    The overall assessment showed the floor to be in remarkably sound shape. not a single soft spot at all. The same couldn't be said for the inside walls unfortunately. both sides showed cracks and rot around the midsection of the boat. I assume this could be due to either poor construction or more likely it was overpowered for awhile. Aside from the weak walls i was fairly surprised at how good of condition the 40 year old components were in.
    I'd like to point out this is only my second boat restoration and perfection is a far cry away from my operation. My main goal here is functionality. I'm open about the fact that i can't afford premium materials. This is a learning experience for me and i'm posting this to share with others what i've learned and so those who are able to, can teach me.

    Here's some shots from the day i brought it home
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 17, 2012
  2. Barred label
    Joined: May 2012
    Posts: 26
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Saraaota

    Barred label Junior Member

    After I stripped everything off the boat i needed to decide exactly what i wanted to do with it. I thought the boat could use an aft flush platform. the platform would hide the gas tank and battery & also be useful for fishing. I prepped the entire interior of the boat for for the glass work and also for painting.
    I even got my girlfriend to help in the sanding!
    Grinding the old gelcoat off was definitely more tedious than i anticipated. I've grinded fiberglass before so i was already familiar with the itching but i learned a new trick this time around. I learned that if you liberally cover any exposed areas of your body with talc powder prior to the grinding, not only was the itchyness vastly reduced, but also a cold shower seemed to wash off any residual glass. I guess that talc powder clogs your pores.
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Barred label
    Joined: May 2012
    Posts: 26
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Saraaota

    Barred label Junior Member

    things got a bit more fun once i had most of the gelcoat removed. I measured once and cut twice :eek: the platform. Once it was mounted in i noticed relatively large gaps around its edges. I needed to find something to fill the gaps with that i could lay glass mat over. to the best of my knowledge the appropriate thing to use would have been a mixture of chopped glass and resin. While i recognize this mixture to be quite strong, i chose instead to use bondo hair. Before anyone gets started, i've heard the arguments against bondo and i fully respect them. I didnt need it to provide any structural integrity or adhesion, only to support weight. I've also heard from many that bondo is porous and will absorb moisture and induce rot. i believe this to be a fallacy entirely but as a precaution i soaked the bondoed areas with resin anyway. Now that i've defended my choice to use bondo, i'll say that areas turned out nicer than i expected.
    the pictures i've attached here are prior to sanding out the bondo and it looks pretty rough.

    After sanding i was so pleased with the outcome i decided to use the bondo in some areas at the bow of the boat as well. there was a large gouge taken out of the foremost tip of the bow and i was able to fill it in with the bondo easily. Again, the photo is prior to the sanding being finished.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. Barred label
    Joined: May 2012
    Posts: 26
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Saraaota

    Barred label Junior Member

    i forgot to mention i soaked the underside and edges of the platform in resin prior to mounting it.
    i wanted to lay all the fiberglass in one day so i could sand the following evening. it's fairly warm this time of year (and most of the rest of the year) here in florida so i opted to do my fiberglassing at night to increase my working time with the resin.
    regarding the walls of the boat:
    first i cut the existing ones out. some areas were rotted to the point where it was more of a scraping than a cutting but they were removed nonetheless. I cut an additional 10" past where the rot seemed to be just in case. then i cut plywood equal to the size hole i had made and screwed it into the existing vertical supports which luckily weren't rotted at all. i resin soaked the plywood and supports also. I'm pretty pleased with how the walls came out.
    the platform was somewhat of a nightmare. two major issues occurred. The first was that i didn't allow enough overhang for the mat to be able to wrap around the edges of the platform and stick to the underside. i cut the mat with between 2" - 4" overhang on the edges. i thought once the resin was applied, the mat would just "stick" to the underside of the plywood. It definitely didn't stick. mostly it just hanged down. once dried i was able to trim the overhang with an angle grinder and make it flush.
    the second issue was certainly a nubile mistake and one i only had to make one time to never make it again. I didn't put enough resin on the platform to soak out the mat and i was left with large patches that weren't properly adhered. Luckily i was able to fix many of these with a 2" 18ga syringe full of resin. By injecting it into the air pockets it seemed to fix the problem. while the issue seems fixed, i can't imagine its as strong as it would have been if i did it right the first time.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. tunnels

    tunnels Previous Member

    wow
    To save you the grinder blues and a lot of fairing try using some peel ply over your glassing !!,Its a material that you put on over the top of wet glass and roll it at the same time any excess resin will come to the top , the peel ply need to look almost shiny when it has enough resin on it !! the advantage is you can see humps and bumps and can roll them flat with your steel roller and save yourself having to use the grinder !!,it hides the weave of the glass and when you rip it off later when all is hard you have a surface thats just got the materal pattern on it !!, A light hand sand and its ready for paint !! Chopped strand matt is not the strongest glass to use so be carefull putting it over joins because it will fracture in time you need to use somthing with some guts ,I recommend 600 gram double bias glass in combination to Chopped strand matt under and over !!. the glass people will try to talk you into 1708 which is simular but overall its not as good !!
    Keep posting its all interesting stuff !!:D
     
  6. Barred label
    Joined: May 2012
    Posts: 26
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Saraaota

    Barred label Junior Member

    I sanding the fiberglass areas down with a random orbital sander and 40, then 80 grit paper.
    Then i was ready to paint! I'd been waiting for that moment since i started the project. I knew that once that first coat was down, the project would really look like it was coming together.
    I chose gelcoat. yes i am indeed familiar with the fact that there are other, better alternatives to gelcoat. As i mentioned earlier, this was a learning experience for me. i wanted this project to teach me about gelcoat. I'll most likely use an epoxy for my next project but for this one it's gelcoat all the way.
    i used an hvlp spray gun fitted with a 2.0 tip. I think a larger tip would definitely be preferable but thats what i had. the photos included are of the second coat. so far i've gone through just about a half gallon which is just a tad more than i anticipated. i'm not certain on how many coats i'll need but i was thinking 5-7 would be plenty.
    After the gelcoat i plan to splatter some black and yellow paint around the boat much like a carolina skiff. I'm hoping this will help hide the not-so-perfect areas.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. Barred label
    Joined: May 2012
    Posts: 26
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Saraaota

    Barred label Junior Member

    wow this is great information and very helpful! thanks a bunch. I've not heard of the peel ply but i'll certainly look into it.
    I'm not sure i'm reading correctly what you're saying about the double bias mat. are you saying to use it in addition to the strand mat i have? i can put it directly on top of it or it need to be done when the mat is wet?
     
  8. tunnels

    tunnels Previous Member

    looking at the pictures you have been skimping on resin and theres a heap of weave showing thats starved :(!!Peel ply will fix all that !! Done skimp on resin !! its the resin that holding everything together !!.:)
    Did you get sorted on speckle coating ??:confused:
     
  9. tunnels

    tunnels Previous Member

    If you are using glass and need to put down multipal layers its better and easyer and uses less resin if you do it all together with peel ply over the top as i discribes you can see immediatly what the surface is going to be like so highs and low's can be rolled flat !! wet glass is spongy and you can move it about here and there so rolling it flat saves time and filling and sanding and grinding !! a roller and peel ply will save you lots a time and materials get some and try it takes a little getting used to but one mastered you wonder why you never thought of it before . we use miles of it and the time saving along is well worth the little extra of the material. :)
     
  10. Barred label
    Joined: May 2012
    Posts: 26
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Saraaota

    Barred label Junior Member

    You're absolutely right. a lesson learned for sure. i was able to remove the cloudyness between the mat and the plywood by injecting resin between the two. if done correctly i should have little to no weave showing right? some areas thats the case but others its definitely visible. mainly the platform exhibits this. i think i did the walls more or less correctly. Since the platform doesn't need to add any strength or support to the rest of the boat and i've already gelcoated it, i think i'm going to leave it as is. Should it present an issue down the road i can always remove it and do it again, correctly.

    OK i understand now. that would have been fantastically helpful during this process but i know for next time. After all, i set out on this project to learn and what better way to do that than through mistakes
     
  11. Barred label
    Joined: May 2012
    Posts: 26
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Saraaota

    Barred label Junior Member

    Oh no, not yet. I did however post a separate thread in hopes of getting some good answers.
     
  12. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
    Posts: 3,817
    Likes: 153, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 971
    Location: Coastal Georgia

    SamSam Senior Member

    Did you use polyester resin for laminating the glass? I just ask as gelcoat is polyester and doesn't stick to epoxy very good.

    This is the steel roller tunnels refered to, do you have one of these?

    [​IMG]

    You should only need one coat of gelcoat. It isn't paint, it should go on way thicker than paint. Waxed gc on top of waxed gc creates adhesion problems, and there is no way you can sand off all the wax with a laminate so rough as what you have. Your laminate was not ready for final gelcoating. (not ready for primetime ;))

    If I were you, I would set the gelcoat aside and back up a little. I would strip the wax off the gelcoat with cleaner or stripper and a stiff brush, rough it up with a wire brush and then fill in all the resin starved weave and things with filler. Then sand all that smooth, then if needed fill some more, then sand some more, etc.

    As far as learning lessons from your experiences...

    1. I always pre resin plywood and let it set up before I laminate glass to it, or the wood seems to suck the resin out and leaves the glass starved. If you did that then the lesson to be learned is that too little resin is worse than too much.

    2. Next time, don't let your girlfriend help you sand, try and get her to do ALL the sanding.
     
  13. Barred label
    Joined: May 2012
    Posts: 26
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Saraaota

    Barred label Junior Member

    Wow! I see. I had no idea! The resin i used is in fact polyester. I think youre absolutely right about the wood soaking up the resin. Thats why the walls turned out so well. I coated both sides if the wood for those with resin beforehand.
    Between coats i was wiping down the surface with a rag damp with acetone. That seemed to get the smooth finish off. Now im gelcoating the entire interior. The bow looks like it only needs one more coat. Would you advise me to remove what i have currently and start over? Or just j rough it up a bit with the sander and out the final coat on?
    As far using filler... does this just mean more resin?
     
  14. Barred label
    Joined: May 2012
    Posts: 26
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Saraaota

    Barred label Junior Member

    Oh and yes i do have a roller just like that and it worked very well.

    Good call on getting the gf to do all the sanding! She was actually enjoying it until she got itchy.. then it was game over!
     

  15. tunnels

    tunnels Previous Member

    Glassing ply wood is not to difficult ! Yes its is a good idea to prewet it witha good coat of resin and let it go hard ! if there is any Crain raise then it can be lightly sanded . Thinning resin is preyy pointless because the resin will only soat to the glue line and it the veneer is thin then that all you get sp the less plys the thicker they are and the more soak in takes place . hot brews have no place here it penetration you are wanting and a hit brew wont give you that !!. on the other side of the coin dont make the brew slow either becasue the resin interface will not be good and the under cured resin will simply let go . do the job and do it properly wood exspands when it get wet so seal it every where specially the edges . water get sucked up the end grain with capliary action so seal and cant get in !!. If you are using treated ply like exterior grades the treatment will slow or stop the penetration of the resin , as long as the grade is ok and the veneers are thick the resin is soaked the glass you put over the top will stick reasonably well if its polyester resin you are using . same principles apply with Vinylester and epoxy resins to :D.
     
Loading...
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.