refiberglassing my rudder

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by bluwateronly, Aug 8, 2006.

  1. bluwateronly
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    bluwateronly Junior Member

    I have a 26' 1968 Ericson sailboat. I just got it and it's been on the hard for years. The only problem I see is cracks in the rudder. I took it off and checked it out and the cracks are only through the gelcoat, (cracking off). I think the best thing to do is to lay some fiberglass after I sand it good. Any help on this would be great, I have never done fiberglass before but does not seem to hard. Thanks, Bluwateronly
     
  2. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    If you are going to fiberglass, all the gelcoat needs to be removed or the resin will delaminate.
     
  3. bluwateronly
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    bluwateronly Junior Member

    whats the best method for gelcoat removal

    Thanks for the info Gonzo. Do I just need to sand till I see the fiberglass or is there a better way. Some of it I was able to chip off with a putty knife. I'm hoping to just use a palm sander to get the rest off. Any tips would be great. And also when I re-instal the rudder is there a better greese than others to use. Thanks, Bluwateronly
     
  4. kenJ
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    kenJ Senior Member

    Are you sure it is the gel coat that is cracking? I would guess it is a salt water boat so it should have some sort of bottom paint on it. For the repair remove all the loose material by sanding. If it is just gel coat, a new layer of cloth may not be necessary, just apply a new coat of resin. For repairs, epoxy resin is preferred over polyester. After the resin is cured, apply a good coat of barrier paint.
     
  5. bluwateronly
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    bluwateronly Junior Member

    looks like gelcoat thats cracking

    Well, looks like gelcoat I can see the fiberglass under it.However, I don't see any cracks in the fiberglass just a thin layer of white looking stuff thats cracking. I had a guy look at it and he said he would re-fiberglass. I was going to go the epoxy way first and now sounds like might be the best. What kind of barrier paint, do I need to since I'm just going to put bottom paint on or is barrier paint different, so other paint will stick. I can take a pic of it and post in a bit so you can see what I'm talking about.
     
  6. bluwateronly
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    bluwateronly Junior Member

    A pic might help explain

    Here is a pic of what i have. Hope you can till if it needs refiberglass or epoxy coat. Thanks,Ray
     

    Attached Files:

  7. kenJ
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    kenJ Senior Member

    I think you have some structural problems with your rudder. Most rudders of that age were made by welding a steel wire mesh to the rudder post, then adding layers of fiberglass to form the rudder. The picture looks as if the mesh as rusted causing the staining and the lack of structural support has caused the cracks. Most rudders now have a stainless shaft and mesh to prevent the problem. Before you put a lot of money and effort into fixing the cosmetics, I would get it inspected by a knowledgeable surveyor or repairman.
     
  8. bluwateronly
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    bluwateronly Junior Member

    KenJ, thanks for the concern. However, the rust is coming from a washer on the bottom of the pole and dripped down. I'm going to replace washer with a stainless steel one. I don't see any evidence that there is leaks in the rudder itself. Seems like I just need to sand down and put a good coat of epoxy and I guess a barrier paint coat, (waiting to get more info. on this) The rudder is below water line and is getting a couple of coats of anti-foul anyway.
     
  9. SeaSpark
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    SeaSpark -

    cracks

    The rudder does seem to have some parallel cracks in place where (stainless?) steel stiffners connecting it to the rudder post could be. More complicated repairs may be necessary.
     
  10. chumnuts
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    chumnuts Junior Member

    Looks like the "white stuff" could be fairing (bondo). I just fixed a similar deal fri. Take a aggressive grit sandpaper to it, or even a grinder. Get a good look, and if its decent, put a couple coats of interlux e-2000 bottom paint primer. Its a epoxy based 2 part primer. Avaliable almost anywhere. Just make shure theres no areas for water to intrude and put the primer on all the other bare spots on the hull. That stuff runs about $75.
     
  11. gggGuest
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    gggGuest ...

    Like others I wonder if there's something structiral going on there. I don't like the alignment of the cracks...
     
  12. kenJ
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    kenJ Senior Member

  13. water addict
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    water addict Naval Architect

    Grind off the exterior coating and then look at the structure underneath. If you see systematic cracks or delamination in the glass, then you may have a structural problem. The exterior cracks shown in your photo can't really tell you much because they aren't part of the structural system, they are just a water barrier type coating.

    From your photo, it does not look like a deeper structures issue, but you can't tell until you get the outer coat off.
     

  14. fiberglass jack
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    fiberglass jack Senior Member

    the white stuff is fairing compound and back in the sixties the boatwrights made up there own with resin mixed with talc cabosil and even abestos anything that would make a paste when you are fairing a rudder many coats may be used to make the rudder true to shape some times the mixes where a little different and over the years 37 in fact old age can sit in and the different layers may expand at different rates , you will have to grind it all off right down to the bare fiberglass once this is done wash it down and look for cracks in the glass if you have any grind them out and reglass then fair the rudder with fairring compund but make sure you have a patern of the orginal to follow you dont want the rudder to be not true or you will be all over the place
     
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