Drilling holes in bulkheads

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by 23feet, Feb 22, 2021 at 2:30 PM.

  1. 23feet
    Joined: Dec 2014
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    23feet Junior Member

    I have drilled holes in my stitch and glue boat's bulkheads to pass wiring. Is bulkhead strength significantly compromised by drilling holes through it for wires, instrument mountings etc.? The boat is a 21' Wharram Tiki in 1/4 ply and glass.
     
  2. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Barbados

    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Generally no - but how many holes have you drilled, at what sort of density?
    If the bulkhead looks like a swiss cheese slice that has been ambushed by mice, then the strength might be compromised.

    Perhaps more importantly, you should seal the holes that the wires and cables go through, in order to maintain water-tight effectiveness of the bulkheads.
     
  3. 23feet
    Joined: Dec 2014
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    23feet Junior Member

    I drilled a 5/8" hole on each side of the bulkhead to pass wiring. The holes are represented in the picture by the red dots. I wondered if the holes could become a failure pathway under extreme loads, although I can't imagine a scenario where such loads would occur.
    Tiki Bulkhead.jpg
     
  4. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    I very much doubt that the two wee holes drilled by you would adversely affect the strength of the bulkhead - especially as you have a huge hole already in the middle of the bulkhead.
     
  5. 23feet
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    23feet Junior Member

    OK - thanks.
     
  6. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    messabout Senior Member

    Is the drawing somewhere near scale? If so, the problem is that the bulkhead gets flimsy where the opening comes near the sides. The tiny holes for wiring is of little consequence. Did Wharram draw it that way?
     
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  7. rangebowdrie
    Joined: Nov 2009
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    rangebowdrie Junior Member

    A pair of 5/8ths holes, not to worry
    If we who build boats were to build airplanes, they wouldn't fly, their framing looks like swiss cheese, only with bigger holes.:);)
     
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