Restore old drift boat

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by jjpratt, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. jjpratt
    Joined: Apr 2010
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    jjpratt Junior Member

    I just picked up an old drift boat. A lot of the epoxy is milky and cracked. I want to restore it to a good working drift boat for fly fishing and possibly guiding. I have been reading a lot on epoxy systems and UV varnishes. Do I need to remove all of the old epoxy first? What do I do with all the checking in the ply? Thanks for the help.
     
  2. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    alan white Senior Member

    You might take some pictures of the damage. Milky epoxy is sometimes caused by lack of upkeep of the varnish--- common enough, but it (UV damage) really is one of the only ways to comprimise epoxy, which would otherwise last for decades.
    Is the boat glassed outside (and in)? Otherwise, is it just taped? Checking is pretty serious if it's occurring under epoxy. Or is it checking on bare wood?
    The checking is probably due to fir plywood being used, and it's not a big problem if you can seal the surface with epoxy.
    Try to get us some pictures.
     
  3. jjpratt
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    jjpratt Junior Member

    This is my first boat project so I am not to sure. I will take some pictures tonight will detail and post them.
     
  4. jjpratt
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    jjpratt Junior Member

    Here are some pictures of its current condition:

    2010-04-21-19.09.00.jpg
    2010-04-21-19.09.24.jpg
    2010-04-21-19.09.55.jpg
     
  5. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    What is that lifting? Epoxy? If so, you have a lot of work ahead. Consider painting after. You will thank me for suggesting this.
     
  6. jjpratt
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    jjpratt Junior Member

    So is it best to remove ALL the old epoxy right down to the wood? Any other suggestions? I would like to re-epoxy it as i love the wood look, so i want to epoxy and uv varnish it.
     
  7. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    You really don't need to epoxy it to see the wood. Just varnish it, which you have to do over the epoxy anyway. Yeah, you've got to remove all that epoxy. Ten coats of varnish will protect the epoxy if you are putting epoxy back on. It's the sun that kills epoxy and varnish has special additives to screen the UV from getting past the varnish. Then you have to renew the varnish regularly, two coats each season... or the epoxy will do the same thing all over again.
     
  8. jjpratt
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    jjpratt Junior Member

    So one doesnt even need to epoxy a wood drifter? All the stuff Ive read suggests epoxy and uv varnish on top. After I get down to the bare wood, what would you do to it?
     
  9. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    Epoxy is usually associated with fiberglass, which is often added to bare plywood exteriors for abrasion resistance. You are welcome to paint epoxy onto the hull but you won't be helping the wood to stay dry unless you epoxy the inside as well. Yet the wood will last fine without epoxy. You see what happened to the original surface. The epoxy can't take UV rays. It degrades and then you have a lot of sanding to do. Unless you are scrupulous in keeping a thick varnish coat up.
    I would paint, not varnish, as a rule because varnish is very impractical.
    If you must varnish, be aware plywood can't be sanded too deeply before the next ply down is exposed. Yet a lot of the old epoxy will be deep into the wood.
    i have a lot of varnished trim on my boat---- oak, mahogany, spanish cedar, and so forth. I wouldn't consider epoxy coating that wood prior to varnishing.
    Your information is wrong, I'm afraid. Or you misunderstood. Never use epoxy under varnish unless it's needed to fill fiberglass weave as in the case of a stripper canoe. and don't epoxy one side but not the other. The outer coat does nothing if the inner lets in moisture anyway.
     
  10. jjpratt
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    jjpratt Junior Member

    Thanks for the info. I am planning on starting work on this very soon. So I have never done this before, what would you use to paint? Some kind of primer first? I just done know where to start after I get all this off.
     
  11. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    The kind of paint best suited to your project is a single part polyurethane. Major brands are Interlux and Petit, but there are many others. Ideally, the primer should be chemically matched to the paint you use, so use the dedicated same-brand primer.
    One coat of primer and two of finish paint should be fine. Sand between coats, 320 wet sand grit is fine.
    The most important thing to address is the seams where the bottom meets the sides and the stem and transom seams. There you'll have to decide whether the fiberglass taped seams need to be retaped (assuming they have been taped to begin with). I think that might be the case. Pictures will help.
    I think you will be happy with a painted job. If you have the funds, an epoxy coat (actually three coats) inside and out will extend the life of the boat and form an excellent base for an epoxy fairing compound which will really clean up any irregularities. Now that you're painting, epoxy can keep future checking under control, especially if the plywood is fir.
    Or, just use fairing compound where needed and use a heavy-bodied primer to help fill in any checks, which will save a lot of epoxy, which isn't cheap to buy.
    All depends on how you value the boat and what you expect out of it over time.
     

  12. Dusan
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Dusan Junior Member

    What do You think about West System Epoxy (3 coats), and Epifanes PU Clear(3 coats)?
     
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