Seacast: The Bottom Line

Discussion in 'Materials' started by foca, Jul 15, 2004.

  1. foca
    Joined: Jun 2004
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    foca Junior Member

    OK, there seems to be a good amount of debate surrounding this seacast stuff. But, not too many testimonials and longterm experiences from people that have used it. So, use it or not use it? where? why or why not?

    Some on this board question it's adhesion to existing skins. Some say it's too flexible. Some want to know exactly what it's properties are. All this is fine and dandy, but has anyone actually experimented with it. Compression tests, water absorption, bonding strength to dry wood, bonding strength to different resins, bondability to it by different resins, including epoxy, anything and everything.

    I got to speak with the biggest fan and user of the stuff, Wolfgang Unger. Of course, he came up with the stuff and sells it. But, needless to say he has the most experience with it, and has been in the fiberglass boat industry for a long time (over 20 years). And he seems to be a great guy, not that that's a good reason to use seacast. I am considering, and probably will, visit his shop next weekend, so there will be more to come.

    In our brief conversations, he states that he has never seen a failure in 15 years of using the stuff. He has a 12 year old data point, his son's boat. He says hollow out the bad wood. And even though his instructions say you must remove all wood, he told me that if you hit good, DRY wood, seacast will bond to it and bond extremely well. In fact, he went further to say that the Seacast poly resin will bond better to wood than to another poly resin (after I asked if I should add separation layer of poly).

    I am still new to this seacast and fiberglass repair game, so I am in the process of further researching and trying out some of this stuff. Just for background I have a open fish, closed transom, 26' scarab with a twin bracket. I need to redo the transom (some good wood) and some stringers, and all from the inside access panels.

    I know there are several knowledgeable people out there, so what is your take on the stuff? I'd like to start a discussion to try to get to the bottom line (or at least closer to it), from an engineers perspective. I am not satisfied with people saying that they don't like it, and they have never used it or at least experimented with it, or even looked at a sample of the stuff. Maybe this stuff is the greatest thing since sliced bread, why not give it a try?
     
  2. JR-Shine
    Joined: May 2004
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    JR-Shine SHINE

    I don’t know enough about the physical properties of the resin to say if its a "good" idea or not .... but I guess what your saying is that no one knows because it has never been tested? The resin might bond better to wood than any other polyester out there, but even that’s not close to as good as epoxy.

    For a boat I really cared about, I would probably go the proven route of replacing the core with wood/foam and laminating it back in with epoxy and directional glass.

    Joel
    boatbuildercentral.com
     
  3. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I have been in contact with SeaCast and have had a milk toast list of questions answered, but not the ones that count. They've said repeatedly that they would send me a detailed list of the properties, but I've been waiting months.

    The sample, advertising fluff in a brochure, and a few emails have netted the following.

    It is a polyester resin, intended as a core material, they said 0 water absorption, but I don't believe this, didn't give compressive, tensile, heat distortion, hardness, (not that important in a core material) or any other data other then cured weight (near 50 pounds per cu. ft.) The sample had a 1/6" skin of 'glass on each side set in what I don't know (epoxy, polysomething who knows) and the glass type I'm also unsure of.

    The sample was quite flexible, though to small to do any real testing on, was subjected to a few. The bonded skin over the core material was well bonded (polyester and cloth is my guess) heat distortion was easy to see at 160 plus degrees, no measured moisture absorption over 3 days under 20 PSI 100% emersion (but epoxy wouldn't have shown any, I could measure by then either) Resin alone has little strength, so what's the reinforcement? It had the same texture and feel of cured CPES, but much thicker then you'd have on a surface, sort of what you'd get with a pot kicking off on you with too much still left to do. I sliced little pieces off and noted the very rubbery nature and lack of a grain direction, though the pieces were very small and I just a 10x glass.

    If this bond could be duplicated in a rotted out scraped clean, hollowed out, transom void, where mold, mildew, little beasties of all sorts like to live, much unlike the clean and surely sanitary conditions the sample was done in, then I say it would make a heavy, but serviceable core to pour into a transom shell with it's holes plugged.

    In reality, the surface of the skins on the inside of a transom that's had some rot in it will be a bonding nightmare. So the idea of splitting open the top of a transom, pouring in some goo in a can and all's better, isn't realistic. At least one skin will need removing to do a reasonable job of cleaning the surfaces to be bonded.

    I'm going to question any product/material that has the hype their (SeaCast) brochure has. Maybe it's the southerner in me, or the lack of data to support the advertising fluff. Most companies support their products with testing and basic data, so they can justify the hype and make their salespersons jobs much easier.
     
  4. foca
    Joined: Jun 2004
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    foca Junior Member

    My thoughts were exact. It seems like you took the sample pretty far. I simply did an imersion test. But bonding is a big question mark in my mind. However, with an exotherm of ~190 deg, this may be more of a "weld" to the old skin. Rather than your standard glue-type bond. what do you think PAR?

    I am tempted to go by Wolfgang's shop this week, checking out what he's got and what is going on project-wise there. 15 years of use, you'd think he'd of come across a sample he could pour and then cut out to see how well the bond worked to the once rotten-laden skins. Maybe I'll get the chance at a few pictures. More to come...

    As far as my transom goes, I am removing many sections of the skins from the inside. Getting a good, clean surface, will be possible, though painfull. I am divided with just going a little farther and replacing everything in sections of wood. Of course, lapping over seems with 2-3 layers of marine ply. Then relaying onto this fresh wood. mat, mat, weeve (vert), mat, weeve (45 deg off), weeve (20 deg off).

    I think I may want to explore more of the seacast though, whether I end up using it or not. I may just pick-up a 1/2 gallon and do some experiments. PAR, if there is anything you can think of trying that would help come to a conclusion, perhaps I can perform the experiment during my trials. I am interested in seeing how it bonds to what I got, both skins and dry wood. Perhaps coming up with a list of questions would be good too. maybe I could get those answers they have been promising you.
     
  5. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I just deleted the email they sent me a few weeks ago saying it would be a few days before I got the technical info in the snail mail (right)

    I don't give a damn about what he's been doing, I just can't justify the use and cost to a client without the material spec sheet in my hand. What do I tell a customer when his transom falls, because I wanted to save a few bucks and short cutted his job on an untested product.

    You'd think after 15 years they'd have some testing or tech. data info available.

    Screw 'em, I don't have time for folks uninterested in doing the right thing for their customer base or potential base.

    If you want to play with the stuff, which seemed too flexible for my liking, then have at it. My main concern is still the bonding issue with areas having had delamination, rot and a host of other ills, for several years and making it work with the little access their flyer suggests it can be done with.

    Try that line of crap on the folks at WestSystem, FGCI, SystemThree, Crown or any other manufacture of long chain poly blends and see what they have to say about the performance of their products. More importantly, how fast they'd respond to the suggestions placed in the SeaCast advertising, but used on their products . . .

    My first email request was back in February. Screw 'em . . .
     
  6. foca
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    foca Junior Member

    trip Unger's place

    PAR,

    I am totally with you. From what I have gathered from a few conversations, the shop up there seems a little disorganized. I cannot fathom how this guy has been using this stuff for so long, without doing a series of tests to justify claims and properties. The only thing I can think of, is that his attitude is one of "trust me, it will work", as if there is no doubt in his mind. This confidence supposedly comes from the years of experience with this stuff and in industry, but I hope the confidence is not built on his possible ignorance in getting to the truth about the product.

    Perhaps it is not as good of a replacement as wood, but it is so "easy" and it is good enough. And that's the hook. get back on the water quicker. All ideas that make me nervous.

    PAR, can I use your name as a reference when I ask for that property list. You know, give him one more chance, see if he came up with something. Maybe the stuff is at an independent lab right now getting all those specs professionally calculated and tested. fat chance, right? Well, it's worth a look at his shop. maybe I'll learn something.

    PAR, here's my number: 305-527-7223. gimme a call if you have some time, maybe we could collaborate on this when I go up there. Do a conference call or something. I will be going on Friday.
     
  7. foca
    Joined: Jun 2004
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    foca Junior Member

    trip to Seagull

    went out there. Wolfgang was gone, so I did not meet him. Spoke with some of the shop guys. real helpful and nice. great people out there, all around.

    saw a transom that was poured, got some picts. rough conclusions:

    - thick stuff to pour
    - does not stick to wood
    - final result is SOLID
    - fiberglass filler made of scrapped boats. strands are about 1/2" long.

    bought a half gallon. will do some experimenting.

    More to come.
     
  8. JR-Shine
    Joined: May 2004
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    JR-Shine SHINE

    I wonder what kind of polyester resin (It's polyester right?) the mix is made of. If it is all polyester wouldn’t that make it quite brittle? I think most polyester resins have a very small amount of "flex", so could a quick change in the load on the Seacast transom make it crack. Maybe all the chopped glass you said they put in keeps this from happening. Let us know how the tests go.
     
  9. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    According to SeaCast, it's polyester. It's intended to be a core material. The sample I have is quite flexible, even with the two thin skins of 'glass applied to each face. They still haven't sent any test data nor material properties.
     
  10. alan wallis
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    Location: europe uk

    alan wallis New Member

    has you heard of a alernitive to seacast i live in the uk and seacast due not ship it to the uk
    and i dont want to put ply back in if ican help it
    alan
     
  11. tja
    Joined: Sep 2004
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    tja Senior Member

    Why don't you just forget about Seacast and do the job the right way with the proper materials. If your replacing a transom in an outboard boat for example remove the deck tear out the rotted wood and put in new wood. If you do it right it will be better then new. Hope I wasn't too direct, Tom
     
  12. SeagullVolusia
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    SeagullVolusia New Member

    Seacast the Actual Bottom Line

    We have had, in the past few months, personnel problems. We will be posting our new website next week - which will have third party tests posted. If there is anyone that needs to view our tests email us at wolflear@yahoo.com or call Toll Free (866)716-4820. Note, we have always had on our old website an entire page with testimonials and an entire forum dedicated to testimonials.

    -Staff
    Seagull of Volusia County, Inc.
    www.transomrepair.com
     
  13. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Lookie here, a post from the SeaCast folks, several months after the questions were raised. A whole page and forum of testimonials! Wow, we learn what from them, that the folks listed there are pleased, imagine that. Sort of like calling the references listed at the bottom of a resume, all saying how great a worker the person is. Who'd of guessed.

    At 50 pounds per cubic foot for SeaCast, I can build a lighter and stronger transom that does stick to wood. They told me via email they would send "detailed" product info, test results and would do so in a "few weeks". That was February of 2004. Test results are the best selling tool going if interested in sales to more then the backyard Joe. There are hundreds of repair shops in Florida, installing new transoms each year. They'd likely use the product if they understood what it was, it's properties and how it related in a cost effective comparison to other transom repair products and techniques.

    I don't have time for companies that don't have time for me. I got two boats that need to be in shape for shows in early March and two designs that need to be finalized before that. I'm going to hold my breath, right . . .
     
  14. tdmuir
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    tdmuir New Member

    I would like to have some help here....I'm very new to the boating world...I have aquired a 1970 Reinell I/O Boat....I have already removed 100% of the rotted wood from the transom area....A very minor little bit of wood is left between the floor deck and the transom outer fiberglass shell....The wood is very dry....My question is in regards to this seacast product....I was almost ready to purchase this product to rebuild my transom until I have read the posts here....My question is what is the major difference between today's composite hulls made of the 1/4" fiberglass / foam material / 1/4" fiberglass construction and a full solid material like seacast? What I'm reading in this forum is the flexibilty in the product. I'm not trying to back seacast...I just would like some helpful imformation to better make my decision to the best and longest lasting transom...Time is not of an issue...I don't have to be anywhere in a week or be on the water in a certain time....I would greatly appreciate any feedback positive or negative....Thanks in advance to any help!
     

  15. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Do yourself a favor and rebuild your transom with the same methods used for it's original construction, except use epoxy to glue everything back together. The poly resins used in the original construction, don't stick well to the plywood used in the transom. This and leaks around fasteners allowed water to enter you transom, rotting it out. If your fastener holes are bonded with epoxy and the replacement transom is bonded with epoxy, this issue is much less likely to reappear.

    SeaCast has been unwilling or unable to respond about the properties of their product, which makes me and others think something isn't right.

    Do a search for transom replacement on this site and a bunch of hits will show up. Log onto the WWW.WestSystem.com site and get their free how-to manuals and learn about the processes needed to get it done properly.
     
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