Deck Recore

By Jim Altice:

Full photos of Parveen's recore are available here. The photos below are a summary of that project. In 2009, Parveen is back in the water. The following are photos by Jim Altice.

Initially I concentrated on areas where there was visible weeping on the underside fastener nuts. I used a combination of tools. Here a standard 3/8 inch drill with a composite cutting wheel. It skipped around a lot, but got some of the intial skin cut-outs done.  The vast majority of balsa was painstakingly removed with a 3/8 inch wood chisel.  That was the safe and methodical tool to use; a grinder is too powerful.

You can see the rotten balsa next to the lighter colored (ergo good but wet) balsa. Amazing how well these boats were made; I'd completely neglected sealing the deck gear and the deck was still pretty stout. Even dark-colored stuff like this turned out to be pretty hard to remove. As I continued to investigate, I moved closer and closer to the mast post.  Almost all of this required a chisel to remove.  It's dicey business because you don't want to puncture or fracture the outer skin.  Patience.

I had a clean surface and I'd removed all the balsa (rotten and just plain wet) from a majority of the deck.

One of the tough decisions I had to make - after thinking about it for a few weeks, I couldn't figure out a good way to work around the mast support. The rot came right up to the upper plate and what wasn't rotten was wet. Sawzall time.
Had to take care not to damage the outer shell. I used a 4 1/2 inch grinder to take out a lot of the inner skin and balsa. Best were the sanding wheels, 36 grit for tough parts, 80 grit for finer surfaces such as this.

View forward. I spent some time squaring off the forward edge in order to facilitate core layup.  If you look carefully, you can see the blond balsa forward. Ground down the outer perimeter, knowing that I'd have to peg the corners of the interior glass with thickened epoxy.

First sheet of core pressed up fast. Find your centerline and try to keep all courses in line. It makes the perimeter layup much easier.

Almost all the way aft. Finally got to use clamps.Paranoid about amine blush, I religiously scraped the excess off before it kicked.  Then after it cured, I washed and then scuffed, the areas where epoxy had extruded before laying another course.

Finalized the layup. I spent some days grooming the seams, eliminating depth mismatches (meaning shaving core). Not sure why the color difference; it all looked the same color in my basement.

Masking inside. It worked perfectly. Both for the glassing and several weeks afterward, as I tacked the perimeter with thickened epoxy, applied three boundary coats and eventually painted the interior.

If I had one regret, it was not spending enough time squeegie-ing the runny epoxy before the first sheet of glass. I was worried that it'd set up before I got the glass laid in. That was not a problem. For the squeegie - make sure you stroke parallel to the core hatching (grooves), I fear I didn't get very good penetration.

The surface was a bit rough (chopped glass with a thin veneer of epoxy), so I applied three clear boundary coats of epoxy with a roller. Then cleared amine blush, scuffed the surface and washed with acetone. Painted a week later with Dura-White from Pettit. Had Sherwin-Williams add some beige tint. This stuff's for boat interiors and has a "tough hide." Matte finish, but it feels and looks scubbable. So far so good.

The welder used enough care that all four securing bolts are semi-loose.  There are 1/8 inch to 3/16 inch gaps on the flange from 40 years of wear.  I'll be filling the gaps with thickened epoxy so that I end up with 100% contact flange to deck surface.

I was able to install all of the deck hardware close to the companionway hatch.  Railings, Mast Step and Deck Organizer required a second set of hands.  All the fasteners are fastened through-deck.

As the snow melted off and we returned to rain, I noticed leaks in two of the windows.  So I (carefully) removed them, cleaned off the old sealant (thankfully I had used removabled caulk back in 1990), and reinstalled them.  Ran into the expected problem of stripped lugs, and had to use oversized screws in combination with washers.  We'll see if it works.