Fiberglass Center Console Restoration

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by Tscott, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. Tscott
    Joined: Jan 2010
    Posts: 6
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Keystoen heights,

    Tscott Junior Member

    Hello all, I am beginning a restoration job on my 22' center console. The main issue the old girl had was a rotten balsa floor. I have already cut off the top layer of glass and removed all the old core. I plan to adhere new balsa to the existing bottom layer of glass with thickened epoxy resin utilizing a vacuum bagging set up to get a good bond.

    Once this step is completed I have 2 options. Option #1. I can reuse the old outer layer of glass, by adhering it to the top of the new balsa with thickened epoxy, and then grind and glass all the seems before fairing it and painting. Or option #2, I can just add new fiberglass cloth and chop strand mat to the top of the deck, fair and paint.

    If I go with option 2, can I use vacuum infusion to do the top layer of the composite? I have seen infusion done on solid panels without core materials, but I am unsure if the same process can be used when a core material like balsa is in place. Has anyone done this?

    Thanks,
    Tom
     
  2. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
    Posts: 19,133
    Likes: 474, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 3967
    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    First of all, welcome aboard Tom.

    Reusing the upper skin to the sole is a wise idea. It saves a good bit of material and fairing out large surfaces isn't a fun task anyway.

    When using epoxy and fabrics in a repair or on a new laminate, you don't need nor is it desirable to use mat. You'll just waste resin like crazy and it doesn't make anything stronger. Use cloth or directional fabrics (biax, etc.)

    Don't even think about infusion unless you have the need for a bunch of equipment you'll probably never use again. Vacuum bagging is an option, though also not as necessary as one might think.

    You need to replace the balsa. If not balsa, then you have to use some sort of core material or you'll will need lots more fabric to recover the strength. Honeycomb or foam products are the usual choices instead of balsa.

    Have you checked the stringers and transom, which are also common places to have issues too?
     
  3. Tscott
    Joined: Jan 2010
    Posts: 6
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Keystoen heights,

    Tscott Junior Member

    PAR,
    Thanks for the reply. Yeah, I have checked the stringers and all is good. The boat is not all that old, and the reason the floor failed is due to the previous owner being a bit of a "Bubba" when it comes to repairs. At some point the mounts for the "T" top began to leak and he tried a number of repairs that appear to have made things worse. I have already removed the old wet core and have acquired enough balsa to do the job. I considered Nida Core, but I was concerned with strength, and using a material I have no experience with. I also figure I can do a pretty good job of isolating the balsa from moisture by keeping it away from hard points to ensure moisture cannot get to it even if a bolt or screw hole leaks.

    I will reuse the old deck as you suggest.

    Thanks,
    Tom
     
  4. Tscott
    Joined: Jan 2010
    Posts: 6
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Keystoen heights,

    Tscott Junior Member

    Par,
    I did not realize you were a fellow Floridian. I am up around the Gainesville area now, but used to live in Clermont. I used to travel through Eustis pretty regularly. Good to meet you and thanks for the help.

    Tom
     
  5. Herman
    Joined: Oct 2004
    Posts: 1,618
    Likes: 89, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 1240
    Location: The Netherlands

    Herman Senior Member

    What I do is drilling out a larger hole than neccesary, through the exposed skin, and through the core (not through the other skin). Speed drills are great for that (although they wear our rapidly, learn to sharpen them, it is simple, but saves a lot)

    Then pot the hole with epoxy. After cure, you can drill the right size hole, and screw into it, or bolt trough (or even tap threads in it, if needed).

    Re Balsa: as long as it does not get wet, it is OK. Hulls are less prone to ignorant owners with power drills than decks...
     

  6. rozoord
    Joined: Feb 2010
    Posts: 1
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: london

    rozoord New Member

    Hi guys, I have small doubt on where is the best place to mount a fiberglass center console and flip-flop cooler seat, towards the front, or more in the middle, or more to the back for the best handling and ride. It is a 1976, 15' sport Boston Whaler, thanx.


    tents and marquees for hire
     
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