Fiberglass skin on old plank wood boats

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by LewisHB, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. LewisHB
    Joined: Apr 2012
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    LewisHB Junior Member

    Seems I remember that in Fairhaven (New Bedford) Mass in the 60s/70's there was a company that put fiberglass skins/hulls outside old WOODEN planked sailing and fishing boats extending their life for many more years........
    they actually stapled glass matt to the wood hull and layered up maybe half to one inch thick hulls AFTER any dry rot had been removed.........

    Actually worked VERY WELL..... Yes, eventually they got more dry rot I guess but it was FAR cheaper than building a new boat......
     
  2. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    You are thinking of Allan Vaitses who did this work in Massachusetts:

    [​IMG]

    http://www.amazon.com/Covering-Wooden-Boats-With-Fiberglass/dp/0877421374

    If you have a wooden plank boat and you're done with replacing planks or she's nearing the end of her life, this is definitely a good alternative. I know a couple of commercial guys in Maine that used this technique with great success.

    After the glass, you'll only rot from fresh water inside the boat, so if she rots then, it's your own fault. ;)

    Get the book and follow it to the letter if you want to do it...
     
  3. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    Last summer I saw a number of wood fishing boats in Newfoundland and Labrador which had been covered with fiberglass. Looked like a relatively thick layer of mat was used. Seemed to be standard practice there.
     
  4. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    This is a fairly common practice, with just one goal; to get a few more years of service from an old gal that's long past her prime and not worth fixing properly. You see in it work boat fleets, which gets the new boat built about the time the now freshly embalmed boat is falling apart.

    It doesn't work very well, considering the previous life span of most of these boats will be half a century or more, getting another 10% is just wishful thinking and again a stop gap measure, for the more economically challenged (read usually mismanaged) among the fleet.

    The successful route is to commission or buy a sound, proven vessel, work it, maintain it, then sell it once it's paid for itself a couple of times over. All the while having a new commission or purchase in the works just waiting for her turn. Working a boat until it's near death, before using a stop gap measure, to offer the owner some breathing room, before they have to make the obvious decision anyway, is just crappy business practice and typically why the vessel is in the dire straights it is.

    This isn't a good technique, just the sign of stupid owners and yards that will do nearly anything to keep their crews working.
     
  5. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Par, I respectfully disagree. This guy did plenty of sailboats in the 70's that are still in use today. Just like the example boats in the Gougeon book, the boats are all listed by name. It works perfectly, if you follow the method he invented and makes for an indefinite, fiberglass life span.

    Maybe you didn't read Allan's book and are thinking of a different method?

    This guy invented the proper method. The only successful one.
     
  6. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    There is a difference between sheathing an old boat and doing it from new.

    I would not do it.
     
  7. Silver Raven
    Joined: Oct 2011
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    Silver Raven Senior Member

    Bunkum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    "PAR' for Gawd's sake - get back in your box !!!! Your comments are a total load of - - 'crock-****' - - when you can show me your degree in Polymer Plastics, related fields or ANY knowledge - at the coal-face level - - & - in real time- in the Fibreglass Reinforced Plastics Industry Or with any of the associated fields. then - Please show all of us your qualifications - - - your comments are almost totally incorrect & have been not correct for over 50 years of very highly professional practice - - world wide -. Get your facts right before we all have to suffer your crap - please. I don't really want to 'pick-a-fight' with your lousy advice to others - as I'm far to busy doing constructive yachting activities - but I'll take this time to tell you - without any fear or favour - that your introverted lack of knowledge is only hurting this forum & some people looking for good sound practical advice. Bloody shame you opened your mouth. Non professional attitude/advice in the "plastics industry" gives me the shits & so does your very very wrong advice. Regards, james
     
  8. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Applying a completely new hull over an old has never been a successful approach, regardless of the supposed success stories. I'm completely aware of the the process and it wasn't invented by this fellow either, but has been a practice since the late 1950's. Maybe some education on the part of the supporters, in regard to the actual processes and the actual success/failure rates, comparative to the durability or life span of the re-skinned boats, is in order. Lastly, my chemical engineering came from the U of D, which is the highest accredited chemE school in the world and I think my professionalism, has spoken for itself in the past decade on this forum, though yours (or lack of it) is clearly showing in this thread.
     
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  9. LewisHB
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    LewisHB Junior Member

    .... :p ....
     
  10. Ilan Voyager
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    Ilan Voyager Senior Member

    Dear Par; very wise words about working boats management.

    After the embalming operation, the boat becomes more than heavy and less seaworthy. Not a good thing.
    An old worn boat, even "plastified" remains what it is: an old worn boat. Just a slight delay of the inevitable fate is obtained. The irony is that operation is done generally on boats already badly made with sub-quality woods, often rather green.
    A well made wood fishing boat has a life span of about 30 years if cared. A wise owner will change it at 15 years, when the boat has a resale value, and build a new one. It's like trucks and trailers; at mid life span it's better to change it. Not being able to do this exchange means that the activity does not give enough profit to make reserves for the investment (so better stop the activity) or there is mismanagement.

    On yachts that sail in 30 years what do a fishing boat in one year, maybe...very maybe. But if the boat presents any architectural or historical interest it's a true crime.
     
  11. TeddyDiver
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    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    Well said PAR :)
    Sounds like brother Silver has own agenda involved in this..
    BR Teddy
     
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  12. Ilan Voyager
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    Ilan Voyager Senior Member

    Par knows his work, he showed it amply in this forum...like a small bunch of us here he gained a lot experience after a good theoretical formation.
    I do agree with Par. And I'll add it's bad practice, a common fact in a lot of shipyards in the States, specially in polyester.
    Polyester on wood does not work well.
     
  13. LewisHB
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    LewisHB Junior Member

    I totally dispute that comment :rolleyes:
     
  14. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    This is a fairly controversial subject, debated many times, but the facts are still the facts.

    Even Vaitses knows this method is really a stop gap and not really a rational "repair" or "restoration". He staples the very heavy sheathing, because he knows the physical attributes of the resin system he employs and it needs mechanical help, just to remain attached! He also acknowledges the huge weight burden, this heavy sheath places on a boat, though with working craft you can afford to lose some weight capacity. He also clearly states the structure should be sound.

    Simply put, it's cheaper in most places to have proper repairs made, in a timely fashion, then it is to wait until you're hull needs wholesale replacement, just to doctor it up with a mechanically fastened (because the glue sucks on wood), burdensome GRP sheathing.

    There's really no debate, at least not among those that make repairs for a living and attempt to keep costs reasonable. Fixing cracked and broken ribs, re-fastening, re-caulking and hanging a new plank when necessary, are all normal parts of some build type ownership. If you elect to ignore the signs and maintenance cores, you can hope to "save" you boat with a stop gap measure like this, but most of the time it's the last gasp for the old, tied hull. I've inspected and surveyed countless hundreds and the extreme vast majority are in their death throws, with or without the sheathing. Sure a few do get lucky with owners that try to keep up, but any boat, regardless of build method or hull material choices, will do well with these types of owners.

    Thanks Teddy and Ilan, I'm not sure what's up with Silver bird. His comments sure took me by surprise. At least it's the first time I've been called introverted anyway. As to not wanting to pic a fight as he put, well he's got a really funny way of going about it. Wholly inappropriate and an indication of his discussion skills, possably indicative of other skill sets as well, which is how I placed it, when I dinged him for the insults.
     

  15. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    Here we go again. This subject has been cussed and discussed ad infinitum. I agree totally with PAR from both personal experience with a boat that was glassed, and from other's experience. This is stop gap measure to extend a boat's life a few years, and within a few years you will have a thin fiberglass shell with a wood hull inside it that is not longer structurally sound. I too have looked at the various methods of doing this, but every one of them depends entirely on achieving something that is almost impossible to achieve, a perfect mechanical bond between the glass and the wood. Unfortunately wood is a dynamic material and fiberglass is not. After a few years of the wood working, the bond is broken and the problems start all over again. Yes there are some boats that this has been done successfully but they are far outweighed by the number of failures.

    Yes this does work well on new boats if the wood is well saturated with resin (as in the West method) but even some of those boat end up with problems from water intrusion under the glass.
     
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