Fiberglassing over steel hull

Discussion in 'Materials' started by Thor2005, Apr 19, 2006.

  1. Thor2005
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Thor2005 New Member

    I am the owner of a steel sailboat (Kanter 45 built in 1983). Had it for about 1 1/2 years now and corrosion has thinned the inside of the hull. Plating the weak areas won't guarantee that others won't open up later and with a completely teak-finished interior it's not as easy as cutting out sections and rewelding new plate. Considerable dissasembly required (read: expensive).

    I am considering glassing over the hull. The shipyard in Texas where she is hauled has suggested sandblasting, a coating of 5200 adhesive and 3/8 inch of glass over the entire hull. The cost is over $50,000 so I'm looking for alternatives.

    Any ideas?
  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    You can re-plate the hull for that kind of money. I think that whoever suggested that repair is not a boatbuilder. A layer of flexible goo may keep water out but will not be structurally sound. In bad weather, it is likely your hull will fail.
  3. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Ike Senior Member

    Fiberglassing over anything that will corrode or rot behind the glass is not a good idea. You will pay a lot to get it done and in few years have to grind it off and replate anyway. Just bite the bullet and get it done right. Replate.
  4. hansp77
    Joined: Mar 2006
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    Location: Melbourne Australia


    Not to take away anything from the numerous experts around on this forum,
    but have you tried

    When I was looking at buying a steel hull 30 ft Bollard, I found this forum very helpfull.
    While they require a payment for membership (I think), you do get a decent free trial period.

    You say 'corrosion has thinned the inside of the hull.'
    Do you mean from the inside out?
    To me it sounds like this, and if so, no matter how good a job is done on the outside of the hull, the problem would not be solved, just dangerously covered up.
    This sounds very similar to the last ditch and lazy efforts some people make to try to get a few more years out of a rotting plywood hull, by glassing it up. Always a mistake, and a death warrent for the boat.
    From what I have learnt of the advantages of steel hulls, is that along with being tough, it is easy to fix.
    You cut out the problem and you weld it up.
    If the fit out of the interior of your boat makes this very difficult to do, then that is a rather annoying problem. It doesn't however change the way that the steel hull needs to be fixed.

    How safe would you feel in your 45ft boat, if all you could really be sure of was a measly 3/8 inch of glass.
    To bury a problem like this seems to defeat the very purpose of a steel hull.

    Good luck.
    Hope you find a cheap and safe alternative.
  5. hansp77
    Joined: Mar 2006
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    Just though I'd add that in researching other Van De Stadts (as I own one)
    I found a steel hull 15 meter that has been encapsulated in epoxy fiberglass.
    seems there are at least some other people doing this.
  6. Wynand N
    Joined: Oct 2004
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    Wynand N Retired Steelboatbuilder

    Bad idea.....
  7. antonfourie
    Joined: Oct 2005
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    antonfourie Senior Member

    Juat because others are doing it does not mean that is a good idea, anything that can split and trap saltwater on steel is a bad idea.

  8. hansp77
    Joined: Mar 2006
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    Wynand and Antonfourie,
    not to pick nits,
    but I never did say that it was a good idea,
    In fact if you read my previous post I do sort of say that it is a rather bad idea,
    I simply posted the link to show that there are at least some other people out there doing this same thing, mistake (as I think) or not..
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