Replacing Stringers & Floor - Novice needs help....

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by summit2282, May 27, 2009.

  1. summit2282
    Joined: May 2009
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Kansas City MO

    summit2282 New Member

    I am trying to get in touch with some knowledgeable people who can help me with a first time project....yes, I know I'm crazy for taking this on, but I want to learn. I am in no hurry, so I have plenty of time to learn what I need to. Yes I am a girl, but I am very handy, so muscle work and getting dirty is not a problem. I also have help for the heavy stuff.

    I have an 88 Wellcraft, cubby cabin, with Mercruiser Alpha One engine.

    I am replacing the back half of the floor and the stringers underneath. The front half is all good.

    1st) Is there any easy way (& safe way) to remove the foam? I have been cutting out chunk by chunk for days. Trying to expose the rotten stringers so we can yank them as well.

    2nd) when we replace the foam, is there a certain type that has to go back in it ? & where do I find it ?
     
  2. mark775

    mark775 Guest

    I believe that what you are referring to as "the floor" is actually "the deck". Where is the foam you are cutting out? can you get some wedges under the tape of the stringers? Might have to start with Sawzall and definately cut the length to be removed before wedging stringers up.. The stringers are important - the deck, not quite as so. Would you post pics of your project? Maybe you can acetone your rotted foam out and re pour-foam and leave the glass alone (fixing the path of water ingress, of course).
     
  3. summit2282
    Joined: May 2009
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    Location: Kansas City MO

    summit2282 New Member

    Yes, I mean "the deck". I will try to get some pictures on here later today, I'm sure that will help. I don't think I can leave the glass, it's pretty bad, you'll see. Thanks,
     
  4. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Likes: 473, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 3967
    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Actually the deck is the part the bow light and cleats sit on. The places you walk around inside the boat are called the sole.

    The easiest way to remove the foam is with a flexible hand saw, amazingly enough. Power tools will quickly show you how easy it is to cut through the hull. A hand saw can bend around the hull shapes and stringers. Remove big chunks at a time, but don't get greedy, just what you can handle. I use a regular cross cut and a key hole style drywall saw for the tight curves.

    You can try to pry up the tabbing on your stringers, but it's a lot more effort then just cutting the top off and whacking out the old stringer, leaving the tabbing intact for the most part, to receive a new stringer.

    The sole is just as important as the stringers. It provides the bulk of athwartship stiffness, the stringers bear longitudinal loads.

    You could try solvents to remove the foam, but then you have a pool of molten foam goo you have to deal with, which of course is going to be quite toxic. Hack it out as best as you can, then clean up the hull shell with a grinder or sander.

    You can place more foam in the bilge. I wouldn't bother, but if you elect to do so, use the 2 pound density, two part polyurethane stuff. Don't pour this stuff into a closed compartment, unless you want to see it rip apart from expanding foam. It serves to satisfy politicians, but little else. The buoyancy it provides, can be had from the same spaces below the sole, filled just with air (no foam) and if it's not there, it can't absorb moisture, fuel, etc.

    There are many previous threads on these subjects. It may be a wise investment to plod through the old back threads and get an idea what you're up against, the tools, techniques and materials.

    Good Luck and welcome aboard Mark . . .
     
  5. mark775

    mark775 Guest

    If it exposed to the weather, in my book it is the deck. A "sole" is indoors only.Tho I have heard reference to a "cockpit sole", I have always attributed the term to salesmen who don't know what the heck they are talkin' about. Is this used routinely on the east coast? Are you sure that I am wrong relative to tradition? If I am, then the zone from Mexico to Alaska is also wrong! If some traditionalist in Port Townsend or somewhere refutes me, then I'll still claim he got his terminology from back east.
    There are boats seriously constructed as a shoebox, where the sole or deck forms part of the box section that creates stiffness. In boats like this one however, it is a place to stand and probably doesn't even extend to the hull but only rests on other members (bulkheads, stringers, etc.)
    I have used acetone and it makes a pool of goo, it is cleaned up, and on to the next step in short order. I like the idea of cutting off just the cap of the stringer and getting the contents out as you see fit if the tape (tabbing) is sound.
     
  6. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
    Posts: 19,133
    Likes: 473, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 3967
    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Maybe in 'JimBob's Shade Tree Boat Shop', you can use solvents to melt foam, No one in their right mind, who has a business license, carries insurance or has OSHA unexpectedly walk through their shop would ever consider such a foolish method. So, where do you put the molten goo? In the trash? Down the drain? Please, just what we need, more laden ketones in the water table.

    Foam is easy to cut, very easy.

    I'm not going to get into a pissing contest with someone of questionable methods and unknown experience (though the methods offer a clue). The term decking and sole have become intertwined and used improperly, in recent generations.
     
  7. mark775

    mark775 Guest

    Listen, Par, it is obvious that you know what you're talking about most of the time but " I have been cutting out chunk by chunk for days..." indicates a problem that shows not that "Foam is easy to cut, very easy." If it is in a bear of a spot to get at, as it usually is, melting it with chemicals can be relatively quick and not as much of a mess as you think. Oh, and please, you people from Florida, quit building boats with foamed-in-place fuel tanks...
    . There Is a glob to deal with in the chemical method and I don't expect a shop to embrace this method when others are available but I'm trying to help a guy in a tough spot with his boat. Don't use the opportunity to downplay methods you don't know by being someone from Florida, The very land of "Jimbob's Shadetree", calling my background "questionable".
     

  8. Steve W
    Joined: Jul 2004
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    Location: Duluth, Minnesota

    Steve W Senior Member

    Ive got to agree with Par on this one,its the cockpit sole, it drives me crazy when people use the wrong terminoligy,the ones that i find really annoying are the use of the word "topsides" when refering to everything above the sheer and "drydock" for boats stored on land.
    On the repairs, again,i too just cut the top of the stringers out if the tabbing is well done and dig out the compost and then glue in the new stringer with epoxy,but i do replace the foam,i just dont trust air alone as trailer boats often get bottom damage.Unfortunatly many times when ive removed the foam i find it is waterlogged even though they are presumably closed cell so i dont really trust the 2 part foams either,in my experience the pour foams are good as long as you dont have to cut the skin that forms on the surface so i do use it as long as i can pour it into a closed space which requires good tecnique so as not to blow the whole thing apart,the one foam i will trust my life to is polystyrene,it simply wont take up water so you can easily cut blocks and fit them into the spaces before puting the sole down,the only thing that will cause problems is gasoline leaks but youve got bigger problems then.
    Steve.
     
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