Plywood or balsa core?

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by nwguy, Feb 7, 2010.

  1. nwguy
    Joined: Feb 2010
    Posts: 35
    Likes: 11, Points: 8, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Poulsbo, WA

    nwguy Junior Member

    I'm building a 16 foot trimaran to replace this boat:

    Will keep the rig, but am building new amas of foam/glass construction and a new center hull. I bought 29 end grain balsa panels from a guy that are 7/8" thick, and I'm considering using these for the hull construction. My other choice is okoume plywood either stitched and glued or traditionally built. Am leaning towards a hull shape like an international Moth 14, but with 2' high side walls for a dry ride. Obviously this would be a day sailer that lives out of the water, and I'm aware of balsa's tendency to rot when wet. What I don't know is the following:

    1. How thick is balsa normally when used for hull walls and bottoms? Is 7/8" too thick?

    2. Would it end up being heavy due to the amount of epoxy resin that would be absorbed into the end grain balsa? And heavier due to glass needing to be laminated on to the inside too, whereas with plywood it wouldn't be mandatory everywhere?

    3. Must you vacuum bag when laminating fiberglass on balsa, or can you prime with resin, lay the glass on and wet out with a roller like with stitch and glue?

    Thanks, nice to be here (my first post).

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  2. jmolan
    Joined: Dec 2008
    Posts: 66
    Likes: 2, Points: 8, Legacy Rep: 65
    Location: Mexico/Oregon/Alaska

    jmolan Junior Member

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