Built in ice-box foam....what's best?

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by paularey, Oct 20, 2005.

  1. paularey
    Joined: Oct 2005
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    paularey Junior Member

    I am looking to tear out an old funky ice box from a sailboat overhaul project I got myself into and I would be grateful for any input on what foam works/would be best for constructing a new ice-box out of..? As in best for its insulation/R-factor properties! Out of all the choices I’m not real sure what to use…. Polyurethane, Polystyrene, Styrofoam (as in most ice chest), core-cell, etc, etc! I’ll be lining it with fiberglass and probable epoxy resin.

    Much thanks Paul
     
  2. cyclops
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    cyclops Senior Member

    Home Depot or Lowe's Styrofoam is fine. Epoxy 2 thicknesses together to get what you want. Make sure it is SEALED against any leakage. Wet Styro is worse than air for insulation.
     
  3. Deering
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    Deering Senior Member

    You can get two-part liquid foam. Mix the two liquids and pour them into the interstitial space around the reefer box. Liquid expands into foam to fill the void. Fills every gap, no seams, and doesn't absorb water. Commercial fishermen use it all the time.
     
  4. cyclops
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    cyclops Senior Member

    DANGER! DANGER! If you do not know how much foam expands, DO NOT use it. It will bulge the walls or even crack them if you do not know what you are doing.
     
  5. FAST FRED
    Joined: Oct 2002
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    Location: Conn in summers , Ortona FL in winter , with big d

    FAST FRED Senior Member

    The pour in place foam stinks as an insulation when poured into a confined space.

    Not only does it produce huge loads on the form , but restricting the expansion the stuff does not expand enough and the resulting R factor is really poor.

    Sheet goods , with Freon blown Urathane being the best fitted with mitered joints covering other joints works best.Epoxy can be used to coat the interior , making it easier to keep clean.

    Making the lids air tight is usually the hardest part.

    Works for me,

    FAST FRED
     
  6. paularey
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    paularey Junior Member

    That’s a roger on caution with liquid foams, I used to love watching guys squirt that stuff around door jams thinking they were really doing a super job then have them come back the next day to find the door jams swelled out so tight you could not get through the door with a battering ram! Also that is one of the reasons I’ve torn the old ice box out, the previous owner thought he was fixing/sealing voids when he squirted canned foam here and there around the old box, but he only made it worse by swelling it up and separating the old foam from the frames, fiberglass and liner. Anyway much thanks for everyone’s input. It should be an interesting project. I just hope I can get it to be as efficient as physically possible to make it worth the labor I’m going to be sinking into this project. Would hate to spend a weeks worth of time and labor only to learn my ice box’s insulative properties don’t give me more than a day or so of ice holding capability!
     
  7. DGreenwood
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    DGreenwood Senior Member

  8. jimslade
    Joined: Aug 2005
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    Location: north Markham

    jimslade Senior Member

    Two part foams will absorb water. I know by first hand experiance. I would go with cyclops suggestion
     
  9. yokebutt
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    yokebutt Boatbuilder

    H-45 divinycell has an R rating a little above 6 per inch.

    Yoke.
     
  10. Sander Rave
    Joined: May 2005
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    Sander Rave Senior Member

    There is an old prof boatbuilder issue with a special on this subject. I guess about a year ago. If you're interrested send me an e-mail and I'll look it up and scan it for you.

    Sander
     
  11. paularey
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    paularey Junior Member

    The Glacier Bay info on insulation isolative properties was the most informative yet and given from a very practical prospective! I know everybody seems to think their construction method will be waterproof forever but time and practical experience has proven otherwise. The info pretty much clenched my decision on what I had originally first considered and that is the durable hard extruded foam sheeting (Blueboard) commonly used in a lot of home construction and available where I am at. I realize it’s not for everybody because of space constrictions but I’ve gobs of room where I’m installing this ice-box and plan on using two laminated/glued together 2 inch thickness all the way around. I’ll post how it works when it’s complete and tested. Just have to figure out now how to make an efficient drain in it now…? Thanks for all the input much appreciated. Paul
     
  12. DGreenwood
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    DGreenwood Senior Member

    For a drain I often simply flare a piece of copper or stainless tubing and set it into a tapered hole and bedded into epoxy. It can be stoppered witha small cork. Very simple but effective enough. Of coarse this method is for ply and glass lined boxes.
     
  13. paularey
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    paularey Junior Member

    I’m trying to squeeze every bit of efficiency out of this large icebox that I possible can because I plan on using it for cold storage during trips lasting several days or more! Trying to say away from any conductive material/metal. Probable us ½ inch or ¾ PVC plumbed out of the bottom of the box with it running between the two layer of insulation I’m using. I’ll cork it from the inside also.
     
  14. DGreenwood
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    DGreenwood Senior Member

    Yeah that is a good method as well. I use a flush thru hull fitting for the drain to get a drain that doesn't pool water, or if you go with a stainless liner, the metal worker at many good stainless shops will have the press mandrels to push a sink flange into the bottom sheet. (just like on a stainless lav sink) Scandvik sells the little right angle sink drains with a hose barb to carry the drainage away. Makes for an easy to clean reefer.
     

  15. paularey
    Joined: Oct 2005
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    paularey Junior Member

    Been avoiding this project for awhile now and concentrating on other headaches and priorities in the boat restoration/refurb process. Was hoping to get my hands on some extruded foam to make the ice-box out of but my location/Panama nixes that possibility (they mostly manufacture open cell foams in country). They make closed cell foam here that looks similar to divinycell foam but I’m unsure of the density or R-value and it’s very expensive compared to what else I’ve come across, Styrofoam in various thicknesses in 4X8 sheets ($3.00 for 4x8 foot sheet 4 inch thick). I think I will go with that 4 inches minimum and more where room allows (It’s under the cockpit seats on a Cat so I’ve a generous space). My original idea was to line the foam with fiberglass & epoxy but I’ve been reconsidering just because of the labor, time, material and hassle involved. I am thinking of fabricating the shell of the ice-box with just plain Styrofoam and then lining it with a thin gauge two piece stainless steel liner. It would have to be two pieces to get it into the compartment through the cockpit seating hatch. Seems like a practical/expedient way to do it to me but I just wanted to check out there with anyone to learn what some of the disadvantages of this approach might be. I’d have large overlapping flanges at the seems to keep it sealed and water tight. Seems pretty bomb proof. The cost is similar to what I would have to sink into a good fiberglass & epoxy liner w/labor. It’s a large ice-box also, approximately 36 inches wide by 42 long and 24 inches deep! Any comments or suggestions appreciated.
     
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