Getting the Bilge Ready for Epoxy

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by gillam77, Nov 7, 2010.

  1. gillam77
    Joined: Jan 2010
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    Location: Maine

    gillam77 Junior Member

    I am getting the bilge of an 18 Penn Yan Magellan ready for epoxy. This is mahogany plywood on oak frames.

    Should I treat the bilge with a linseed oil and turpintine combinations first?

    After the above treatment (if indeed needed) do I then apply a wood sealer before the epoxy? If so, what are some good products?

    The bulkheads or sides under the gunwale are also stripped and ready to be coated. This part, that will be exposed to view, sunlight etc. should I bother do epoxy in this area when doing the bilge? Or do I stick with just varnish above the floor over the bilge? That said, I was considering using West Systems new clear epoxy. Has anyone here worked with it? What is the best way to ensure a complete and smooth coat throughout the bilge?

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Why are you coating the bilge and under the gunwale with epoxy?

    On your boat using epoxy as a coating isn't recommended. Just use varnish or polyurethane and keep up after the surface defects, damage or wear and tear.

    Epoxy is only effective as a moisture and rot preventive agent, if the whole piece is fully coated. In a boat like yours this means every side to the planks, frames, floors stringers, etc. including fastener holes, cutouts and especially end grain has at least 3 coats of neat epoxy on it. Nothing short of this is worth while on a traditionally built (like yours) boat. This "encapsulation" as we call it stabilizes the wood from moisture gain or lose as a result of environmental changes. The stabilized wood can be handled differently as a result and will live much longer too, but encapsulation is very difficult to accomplish in repair work, though fairly easy in new builds or extensive restorations where each boat piece will be removed, reconditioned, encapsulated and reinstalled.
     
  3. mydauphin
    Joined: Apr 2007
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    mydauphin Senior Member

    Don't do anything to the wood .... Others here might give you better and fuller responses.
     
  4. GG
    Joined: Jan 2008
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    GG offshore artie

    gillam77 , i would use CPES , penterating Epoxy Sealer made by Smith & Co which is excellent for prepairing bare wood before varnish or paint . Hey guy ,anything that will be exposed to sunlight ext will need a varnish with high Ultraviolet inhibitors and absorbers and to tell you the truth some of these products are made by Awl grip , Systems three, Interlux which has two new products which is there Compass , and there Schooner Gold ,or the old stand by made by z-spar and not to mention Epifanes and just about any wooden boat restoration out there at this point is getting a few coats of CPES because you can apply mutiple coats back to back in one sitting depending on if you use the cold forumla .
     
  5. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    That was not a proper advice.

    As PAR already said, one does not need Ep. in this case. A good paint job is the better choice for the bilge.

    Encapsulating just one side of the timber leads to rot.

    And the so named "penetrating" stuff is not worth a penny.

    Regards
    Richard

    Hey GG,
    how often will you edit your post? It does not change the fact that your recommendation is worthless!

     
  6. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    alan white Senior Member

    You see, gillam77, epoxy is about the best waterproofing coating for wood in existence. Do an experiment. Take a sponge and set it on the counter. Cover the top and sides (but not the bottom) with plastic wrap.
    Now spill some water on and around the sponge. Leave for a couple of days and then check the dryness of the sponge. Note that it remains wet.
    Now instead of covering the sponge with plastic wrap, cover it with some paper. The paper is like paint or varnish. It protects but doesn't hold water in for long. The sponge will dry quickly. Any mold in the sponge just hasn't got the time to grow before it's too dry for it to thrive.
    A steamed or sawn framed boat with planking applied is a pretty complicated structure. unlike, for example, a cold-molded or strip-built boat or even a simple plywood boat, your kind of construction has hundreds of situations just like the piece of bread I mentioned. There is no way to seal every last water entry point. Not even building new with epoxy would be ideal since there are so many little fastener punctures and (over time) stress cracks.
    In this respect the boat was never intended right from the drawing board to remain dry. It was. however, designed to dry itself when the opportunity comes along. This cycle of wet and dry is how virtually all traditional boats have been built since the first canoe hit the water thousands of years ago. What's amazing is that a boat can do that for decades, especially in salt water, but also if the mold process that becomes rot can be interrupted by bailing or emptying the boat and occasionally applying a protective coating to the hull.
     
  7. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    It's amazing that people still use CPES (and other penetrating epoxies), in spite of all the testing and documentation, people still think it's something other then dramatically diluted, nearly useless epoxy.
     
  8. mydauphin
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    mydauphin Senior Member

    I met someone the other day that told me that he would get old ChrisCrafts like the Constellations. Setup up to dry for a few months then build a new epoxy/fiberglass hull around the original. He said this would last for 40 years, almost like a new boat, but retain the original wood interior. I thought this sounded like a disaster in the making but didn't argue too much with him. What do you guys think of this.
     
  9. michael pierzga
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    Location: spain

    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Many times its best to simply use the same products and procedures that the boat was originally built with. Obviously they did a good job. Modern products have their applications. When you talk refinishing brightwork and general painting , the modern stuff like Epifanes PP sealer and two component products are very good. Fast dry, coat on coat, Rapid build up time and a very hard durable low maintenance surface when finish coated. Working with modern chemicals in places like bilges is obnoxious , toxic , expensive , provide little benefit and may make future repairs or maintenance even harder. If its anchor chain bilge or high impact, abrasion bilge area , an Epoxy toughened surface can be worthwhile
     
  10. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    Your thoughts are right.

    It is extremely unlikely, that the structure was dry enough to hold the sheathing for long.
    Another point is, that the added weight makes the boat even weaker, not stronger.
    There have been successfull jobs made in the past, but they were done by highly skilled pro´s, and not all of their jobs came out perfect.

    Leave it, is the best recommendation.

    Alan,

    I have to contradict, that epoxy is not th right stuff for a newbuilt! It is!
    On a proper done newbuild, one CAN encapsulate the entire wooden structure, including screw holes and the like. (which is easier to achieve by a homebuilder with much time, than for a yard)

    PAR,

    yes, the wonder goo is hard to kill, at least the belief in it.

    Regards
    Richard
     
  11. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I once thought I could do the same thing Mydauphin (20 years ago), but I found that you couldn't dry them out long enough, especially on some of the build methods. Chris Craft did some carvels, which would have worked, given enough time, but the double planked and lapstrake builds just wouldn't tolerate this treatment. The only way for this treatment to work, is to provide a new hull shell of 'glass and goo, surrounding the old hull, that was just as strong or nearly so, as the original hull.

    This is a common tactic in workboats, but it's usually a death nail in the coffin of a yacht's hull shell. On a workboat, if they get a few more seasons out of the the "ol lass, then it was worth it and the boat is hauled to the dump. On a yacht, this is less acceptable.

    In short, using epoxy on these old, traditionally built structures is limited at best. You can remove each and every plank, encapsulate it, then reinstall it (I've done this), but this is usually much more work then a restorer is willing to do. I did this to a 40' carvel some years ago, we removed each plank, sanded them clean (raw), encapsulated each plank, filled each fastener hole, then rehung them where they used to live on repaired frames, which also had their faster holes plugged. New "bonded" fasteners were installed, then the whole hull sheathed with two layers of 10 ounce fabric. This made the hull a monocoque shell of cedar planks, with a 'glass skin. It would have been easier and cheaper to just repair the planks, and refasten the hull, but the owner insisted he not have to worry about caulking the boat again. If you can get a client to pay for this level of extra effort, then a well laid plan will permit epoxy on a traditionally built hull.
     
  12. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    I have fiberglassed quite a few workboats. They get four or five years of work and it is worth it.
     
  13. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    We have sheathed a old 8KR yacht about 28 years ago. And to my shame I must say, with polyester! The boat is still afloat, and not rotten away. (meanwhile sanded down to bare and glass/epoxy coated, some 8 or so years ago)

    But.....the shipwright in command did know his business, the entire drama did take nearly 2 years, and the boats structure was at some times more fragile and vulnerable than a wedding cake. Keeping the shape was possibly the most expensive (labour intense) part of the opera.
    Almost everything is possible............

    It took less than ten years, and the owner argued (with himself mainly) that the value of the boat was dramatically decreased. The "original" boats (you know, same axe...), were seen as several times the value. But it was doing the job, sailing.

    So, if one is keen in doing a proper job to decrease the value of a boat, and to keep it alive for decades to remind him of his fault, why not.

    If it pays to get another few years out of it, before it finally is burned up, why not.

    If it has to live as long and as much in value, as possible, don´t sheath a classic woody.

    Just my 2c of course.

    Richard
     
  14. GG
    Joined: Jan 2008
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    GG offshore artie

    ******** , there are a lot of restortaion shops that do classic runabouts here in the states using it today and you really need to climb of you high horse mr attidude and if i decide to edit my post so be it ! <anti-German remark removed>
     

  15. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    That is flagged for moderator!

    The fact, that you don´t know the business does not give you the right to get hostile!

    The product you recommend is at least superfluous, if not counterproductive. The fact that it is still in use at places you mention, makes clear and obvious YOU do not know the pro´s in the business.

    I produce more wood epoxy boats per annum, than the entire US industry, so, tell me, how the game goes?

    If you would have the ability of a 2nd grader, to read and comprehend, you would have noticed, that your recommendation was called worthless by another member too. One you can hardly call a novice in that field, nor a Nazi!

    You are just a bad tempered bigmouth with nothing to provide than drivel, insults and false info.

    Go back up your Buddy, the (ex) champion........
    your manners fit perfectly.

    ...offshore artie....
    nice art
     
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