Paint vs. Epoxy Coated hull; Joel White Shearwater

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by ironheart, Apr 4, 2009.

  1. ironheart
    Joined: Apr 2009
    Posts: 2
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    Location: Treasure Coast, S. FL

    ironheart New Member

    An older and very kindly gentleman has GIVEN us Joel White designed Shearwater that he built himself some years ago. Just wanted a home where it would be appreciated.

    This is a light epoxy and plywood built interpretation of an open Norwegian faering, a traditional pulling boat. He did a nice job of it all the way around with one possible exception. He used correctly used WEST Epoxy for all the joints and laminations - but did not coat the hull inside or out with the epoxy, as I would have been inclined to do. He simply painted the hull in and out with a one part Interlux paint.

    I have built cold molded and glassed hulls that have lasted going on 20 years - but every surface was covered with the epoxy.

    We live on the Intracoastal in South Florida and the boat is used regularly (rows beautifully!) but of necessity will be kept outside all year, usually flipped upside down on the dock. She'll occasionally take a few inches of rain in her bilges out on our trot line in the canal during weekends.

    How well can I expect the paint alone to protect the hull even if the paint is maintained or the boat covered in this climate? (I'm a former Connecticut Yankee so my perspective is skewed.) What is the prognosis for this lovely boat holding up long term outdoors?

    I'm wondering if my only choice is to strip the paint down and try to epoxy coat it the way it should have been done originally. The stripped hull might not absorb epoxy the way it would have on raw wood originally. Thanks for your input.
     
  2. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Keep the paint in good repair, don't let sweet water collect in her, keep her clean and she'll do just fine. Epoxy as the adhesive is a good choice considering it's physical properties. The wood doesn't have to be embalmed with goo, though it can have profound effects on longevity if done properly.

    It's not how much epoxy that soaks into the wood that's important. It's the quality of the coating, it's water proofness and intactness that determine how well it will protect the wood.

    Most paints aren't especially waterproof, particularly compared to epoxy, but that's okay, so long as the coating is uniform and keeping UV off the wood. Repair dings and other damage promptly and you'll have a long life from this little boat.
     
  3. mydauphin
    Joined: Apr 2007
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    Location: Florida

    mydauphin Senior Member

    Like PAR said quality of Epoxy matters. Also cleanliness and moisture content of wood. Typical wood in bilge has oils and is reallly wet if you epoxy over it, it won't hold. Clean and dry boat, then use High quality epoxy, with reinforcement in stress areas. It should last forever.
     
  4. ironheart
    Joined: Apr 2009
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    Location: Treasure Coast, S. FL

    ironheart New Member

    mydauphin: This is not a new boat under construction.
    I take your comments to mean that I should consider removing the paint in select areas and apply epoxy and reinforcements as needed thereafter.

    It is conceivable that I could strip the inner bilges and epoxy up to the first garboards before repainting. That might address most sitting rainwater issues. Drying the boat is no problem and oil is not a problem as this is a motorless pulling boat.

    Just keeping up with the paint as PAR suggests would obviously be the easiest route but with plenty of paint on the boat I'm already seeing some problems. Leaving entire laminated ribs without an epoxy coating may have a price. The central rib has split at a laminated glue line at half it's thickness for about 20 inches from the gunnel down. Going to be interesting trying to get more epoxy into the split to repair it. Figure to drag it in with a thin cloth tape.

    Thanks for all you input on this, my first post.
     

  5. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Unless you can encapsulate the pieces you're putting epoxy on, you're not really protecting anything. The wood will still permit moisture gain/lose cycling which will sheer the coating or let rot find a nice protected place to live, under a plastic umbrella.

    Some damage, repairs and upkeep are normal things for wooden structures. If you have the option of removing a piece, then you can use proper epoxying techniques to further protect the part. Just slathering around some epoxy in the bilge, will increase the potential of rot, not decrease it.
     
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