Paint for oily bilges

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by davflaws, Feb 1, 2009.

  1. davflaws
    Joined: Jul 2004
    Posts: 12
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    Location: Whangarei, NZ

    davflaws Junior Member

    Last year we bought "Sylphe", a 40 yr old wooden boat. One of John Spencer's few round bilge designs. She is double diagonal kauri, resourcinol glued, fastened with bronze boat nails. Over the years, lotsa oily bilge water has penetrated the stringers and planking to the point where even the original red lead primer is "floating" off many of the timbers. There are also some places where the inner layer of planking has become "furry". We could of course rout these out and epoxy in a doubler, and we might yet do that, but we still have the problem of what to do with an expanse of oil soaked timber in the bilge.

    Any ideas?
     
  2. marshmat
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    Location: Ontario

    marshmat Senior Member

    Hmm.... sounds like it could turn into a rather tedious project.

    Hopefully some of the members more familiar with wood restoration can chime in with ideas on how to fix up the timbers.

    I've had good success with Interlux Bilgekote for keeping the oil, gasoline, bilge water, etc. from penetrating the wood in the first place, it's a pretty durable finish. Might be worth looking into once you're done cleaning it all up, to prevent the same thing from happening again.
     
  3. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Once the wood gets oil soaked, getting it out is very difficult an always requires a great deal of time. This is because it needs to be dry, which takes a long time on soaked solid lumber.

    The fuzzies you're seeing is rot. The only way to fix this is to remove the rotten wood, back to known good wood, either scab in a repair piece or fill with thickened epoxy (if the area is small or shallow enough). There is no magic goo in a tube or can that will fix rotten wood, regardless of what is printed on the side of the latest "marketing team approved" product.

    Once you get the wood good and dry (15% or less) then drop back in for the rest of the explanation, which involves epoxy and a fair bit of labor, but is owner performable fortunately.
     
  4. PJR587
    Joined: Mar 2009
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    Location: New York

    PJR587 New Member

    I bought a forty-five year old boat that came w/ about forty-four years of waste oil in the engine room.

    I pumped out the water, of course, and sopped up the oil, and kept the bilge dry for two weeks(The longer the better, of course). When the wood was apparently dry, I went at it w/ spray bottles full of mineral spirits. It was much cheaper back then, and I would use kerosene to start now, then go over it w/ spirits. A rag or soft scrub brush got the tougher areas to release. After removing the spirits from the bilge, I went back over everything w/ Gunk S/C. Very important to use this product in a waterless environment, since water vastly reduces it's effectiveness. After this application, the bilge is washed w/ warm water, then pumped dry, and then scrubbed w/ soapy(dishwasging liquid) water, and pumped dry. Areas that need more attention will be evident if the water beads off of them.

    After another drying period, possibly employing a dehumidifier, the wood will hold paint pretty well.

    Paul
     

  5. TollyWally
    Joined: Mar 2005
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    Location: Fox Island

    TollyWally Senior Member

    Try starter fluid, ether makes a dandy solvent. Use all applicable safety measures, you know the drill.
     
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