Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by Stevej, Jul 19, 2006.

  1. Stevej
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    Location: Australia

    Stevej New Member

    Hi, I am now the owner of a "arafura cadet", the pontoons appear sound however someone has done a rather sad looking cover up with fibreglass on the underneath of the pontoons, luckily they did not touch the sides or top.
    the plywood has small 1/4" suface cracks where it has been sanded down to bare wood, I know nothing about restoring a wood vessel ecept that I like to do things right the first time. anyone have any advice before I start? my plan is to have this on the water this Summer for my daughter and I to go sailing on.
    any help would be appreciated.
    Regards Steve.
  2. hansp77
    Joined: Mar 2006
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    Location: Melbourne Australia


    Hello steve.
    I am not familiar with the arafura cadet,
    When you say sanded back to bare wood, do you mean that there is fiberglass over the wood, or is it just painted?
    Whichever it is, you will have to seal the wood, either reglassing (or epoxying) or painting.
    Is there any rot in the wood?
    Harder to check if it is glassed, but maybe it is not glassed on the inside.
    Is any wood soft, or when you knock on it with your knuckles does it sound dull or hollow?
    Hopefully you've got no rot,
    in which case your repairs will largely be superficial.

    well, it depends on your situation,
    but start by reading through different threads on wooden boat restoration.
    They may be different boats but the skills and products will be the same.

    What is the actual problem that you want to fix.
    Try to be a bit more specific.
    Photos of suspect areas will definately help as well.
    The sad fiberglass repair job may just need to be sanded back and faired and repainted. Hopefully.

    Summer is a long way off yet (at least in my part of the country).
    You should be fine.
    Good luck, Hans.
  3. Stevej
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    Stevej New Member


    Hi Hans, Thanks for the quick reply, I live in Mornington Victoria so am not far from you.

    The boat has been fiberglassed on the bottom of the pontoons and then had what to be appears to be yellow house paint slapped over unsanded fibreglass. the sides of the pontoons were bare wood painted and have been sanded back to almost bare wood by the previous owner. the top of the pontoons appears to have been varnished as the woodgrain is visible with no signs of fibreglass cloth or mat.
    The hulls sound dull and hollow when knocked on with my knuckles and feels sound, not soft at all.

    What I would like to do is seal the wood (CPES?) then paint it white, my question is; what products are available to ensure a good finish on the hulls, is there a filler I should use first, do I need to undercoat? do you have any suggestions on types of paint to use? I am sure there is a good boat under there and would like to save it.

    Regards Steve.
  4. hansp77
    Joined: Mar 2006
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    Location: Melbourne Australia


    a few issues.
    there could be many many different ways to tackle this.
    Preference, cost, usage etc, all wheigh in on this.
    My marine ply boat has for its entire (40+ yr) life just been painted with normal oil based exterior house enamel.
    This will do fine for your sides (topsides).
    Or of course you could use marine oil enamel (more expensive), or you could move up to two pack paints etc..
    My boat lives permanantly in the water, and house enamel has proved absolutly fine.

    For sealing the wood, there are ongoing debates over the CPES issue, one thread of which I have started on how to make your own CPES.
    If I was to go about my whole restoration again, I probably would not buy penetrating epoxy, but for the areas that I wanted to use it I would just thin my own, or simply use unthinned heated epoxy, which will penetrate and remain totally impermeable by water (which CPES is not).

    You could go the epoxy path, but for a boat that will spend most of its life out of water, you could also just prime and then paint. I used "international yacht primer" a grey paint that is really really good. Just get some on your skin and see how long it takes to get it off. It is fantastic.

    If you want to epoxy, and are not too concerned with cutting costs, then this is what I would do. I am also the sort of person that would rather do it right the first time. No doubt people with more experience than I will have different opinions, but hey, that is the nature of opinions.

    Buy a big bottle (or two with hardener) of epoxy. I used west system and was happy with that, but you could use anything else.
    Heat gun, scrape and sand back the entire pontoons (but don't heat gun the bottom fiberglass), so that you are all over back to raw wood (except bottom).
    Give the bottom fiberglass a really really good rough sand to remove all lumps, but not necessarily all dints.
    buy a fairing/filling powder mix for your epoxy, micro spheres or something.
    Use some thinners or something and completely dust and wipe clean all the dust from out of your glass bottom.
    Now this is where my suspicion sets in.
    I would then apply a thin layer of normal epoxy over the sanded (and toothed up) fiberglass, so it really sticks, wait for it to dry to tackiness, then,
    Mix up some thickened epoxy (thin enough to apply but thick enough not to drip or move) and apply wet to wet to fair the entire bottom of your pontoons.
    Hopefully you will nail this in one go, but if not, sand it back and try again with more fairing epoxy.

    Once this is done,
    I would then attack your topsides and your deck.
    These should alrewady be sanded and striped back to clean good wood.
    If you are going to use a penetrating epoxy, now is your time.
    Alternatively, just use unthinned epoxy, and if you want it to penetrate, heat it a little. I would do this. (for details try west systems extensive website
    One good coat on your topsides should do. For overkill you would also apply another layer of epoxy over your faired and sanded bottoms.
    If you want to have varnish on your decks, then I believe three coats of epoxy is recomended, under at least three coats of varnish (the epoxy needs to be protected from UV).

    Once you have finished epoxying, I would then wipe the whole thing down with some metho or thinners to remove the oily bloom that comes out of the epoxy, then I would give the entire pontoons a sand with some fine grade wet and dry.

    Then I would prime with your grey yacht primer above and below the waterline, and then I would do your topcoats, of house enamel (or whatever you decide upon), and of varnish (if you so choose).

    And that is my opinion.
    This will get it looking pretty nice. Hopefully it will not have added too much wheight.

    You could of course do this many other ways, but this is what I would do.

    Good luck,
    and ask more questions if you need to.

    [EDIT- as an afterthought, I have wondered why the bottoms have been glassed. I would check very carfully from the inside and out to see if there is any rot in the wood under that glass-]

  5. Stevej
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    Location: Australia

    Stevej New Member

    Once again Thankyou Hans, I will post some b4 pics soon and will let you know how it goes. now all I have to do is learn to sail!
    life is a journey.
    Regards Steve.
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