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Rhapsody Transom Re-core and Other Areas Too #6298
10/02/08 07:50 AM
10/02/08 07:50 AM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 2,581
Portsmouth, RI
Rhapsody #348 Offline OP
Past J/30 Class President
Rhapsody #348  Offline OP
Past J/30 Class President
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 2,581
Portsmouth, RI
Now that the 2008 New England Sailing season is drawing to a close, it looks like I'll be cutting into Rhapsody for re-coring in a couple of weeks. The transom is the 1st area since it sounds hollow and is the source of other problems via the engine exhaust.

It looks like I can cut into the transom from inside, but I've seen pictures of others who did it from the outside. In either case I'll use a hole saw to cut around the exhaust and cockpit drains since I need to isolate these areas anyway. For those who re-cored the transom, why did you cut in from the outside? It looks like there is more finish work to be done that way.

The Stbd side below the waterline is wet based on moisture meter readings I took last spring. Plan is to drill holes, heat and vacuum bag to dry the core. Depending on where the core shows up as "bad" from the holes drilled, I'll make the determination on where to recore, and do it from the inside where possible.

Finally, I know there are some wet spots on the cabin top. Again, plan is to cut from underneath and keep the outside deck as "clean" as possible. I think it is easier to fair in the surface on the inside surface, then repaint interior rather than redo the smooth & non-skid areas on the top.

I'm open to comments from those who have already been down this route. I need moral support before making the first cut :-)

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Re: Rhapsody Transom Re-core and Other Areas Too #6299
10/02/08 09:09 AM
10/02/08 09:09 AM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 140
New Orleans, LA
Rambunctious Offline
Senior Member
Rambunctious  Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 140
New Orleans, LA
The first cut is the hardest...

The only reason to do it from the outside is to the preserve the finish. If you are going to paint, then you might as well work from the outside where access is better; this makes the job much easier.

As far as the work on the bottom goes, I would suggest drilling pilot holes to assess the range and degree of core saturation. If the core is soaked, then just cut it all out and replace it. Core and fiberglass are cheap and you're not going to be doing yourself any favors filling and fairing all of those holes.

I have tried repairing wet core a number of ways on a number of boats and the one constant I've found is that it's quickest and easiest to just cut and grind the old stuff out.

As far as the cabin top goes: it will be easier to paint but the rest of the job will be more difficult. Not impossible, but harder.

There are two ways to go about it, assuming you go from the inside. You can either cut away and discard the old inside skin or you can try to preserve the old skin for re-use.

If you do try and re-use the old skin, brace it very well. The downside here is that it is hard to get a very good bond. Use a lot of thickened epoxy (thicken with colloidal silica) and press the skin back in place and brace it very well. Make your braces ahead of time and have them ready to go. You will probably have to hold the skin in place with your hands until the epoxy kicks; it's very hard to keep it in exactly the right spot and install the braces properly before the epoxy kicks. Place wax paper between the brace and the work surface.

After the old skin cures in place, grind the seams and lay in 2 layers of 10 oz. fiberglass tape. Sand, fair, and paint.

Depending on how good you are with fiberglass, it may be easier just to layup a new inner skin. One or two layers of 1708 biax cloth and an outer layer of 8 or 10 oz cloth is more than enough. This is a PIA to do on an overhead surface. Wet out the surface well before applying the cloth and use a lot of resin on your first cloth layer.

Use small pieces of cloth and hold the piece in the center until it will support its own weight. Abut the seams; if you overlap them, you'll have a lot more grinding and fairing to do. Then, on the second layer, make sure the seams don't line up with those from the first layer.

Let the 2 biax layers cure overnight. Sand well and then apply the outer layer of light-weight cloth, the purpose of which is to make finishing easier.

Also, when you're working overhead, strands of cloth will hang down all along your cut edges. You'll be tempted to deal with them while you're working with the wet cloth - just leave them and cut the cured stringy bits off later with a cut off wheel on a dremel or a similar tool.

As an FYI, white vinegar is effective at getting epoxy off your skin and is healthier than acetone. Have some of this on hand. When I recored my foredeck, a large drop of epoxy fell between my tyvek hood and my goggles and landed on my eye. I was in my anchor locker at the time - that really sucked.

Re: Rhapsody Transom Re-core and Other Areas Too #6300
10/02/08 10:25 AM
10/02/08 10:25 AM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 2,581
Portsmouth, RI
Rhapsody #348 Offline OP
Past J/30 Class President
Rhapsody #348  Offline OP
Past J/30 Class President
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 2,581
Portsmouth, RI
Jason - thanks for the comprehensive post and techniques. My thought on re-coring the transom on the inside was that the finished surface wouldn't need the extensive work that would be required on the outside, thus it would reduce labor (and materials). Lumpy edges are ok. I do understand that the access isn't as easy, but I figure by opening the cockpit lockers and removing the Yanmar engine panel, and wooden sides on engine compartment I'd be able to get good enough access to do the work.

Hull painting above the waterline and topsides may not come this year, so it will allow time to defer that expense if the work is done from the inside. I figure any work done below the waterline on the rest of the boat will be done inside where I can, and outside where I can't.

Topside, I don't have a lot of bad areas. I know the area by the anchor locker needs work, the stbd side where the foot rest / original traveler cleat was installed, near the chain plates, and by a few stanchion bases. Since the areas seem to be isolated, and easily sized, I'll see about the inside approach. I may need to reassess this after dealing with the cuts, core layup and refill.

On reusing old skin - would it be worthwhile to use some small screws with holes drilled in the skin to hold it in place? The heads could later be ground off and area faired smooth. Someone also suggested taping plastic around the patch and drawing a vacuum with a pump while the epoxy kicked in on the patch.

On the engine exhaust and cockpit drain through hulls - Did people reuse these, or get new ones to glass in?

Thanks for the vinegar suggestion - the acetone is a ***** to continuously use!

Re: Rhapsody Transom Re-core and Other Areas Too #6301
10/02/08 11:03 AM
10/02/08 11:03 AM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 140
New Orleans, LA
Rambunctious Offline
Senior Member
Rambunctious  Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 140
New Orleans, LA
The vacuum technique works with new layup to draw off excess resin and improve the bond, but I can't see it being effective with an existing skin.

You can use screws rather than braces - in fact, I think that's an excellent idea. However, don't leave them in. Coat them liberally with car wax before screwing them in and remove the screws and fill the holes the following day.

I've also recored from the inside for the reasons you've suggested. It's a fine way to go, just a bit more difficult.

Re: Rhapsody Transom Re-core and Other Areas Too #6302
10/02/08 11:33 AM
10/02/08 11:33 AM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 148
Iowa City IA
Phantom364 Offline
Senior Member
Phantom364  Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 148
Iowa City IA
I reused the exhaust tube, in fact it's glassed in and you don't have to remove it, just around it. The thru-hulls I repalced as they were plastic and brittle therefore they broke. Since the transom was isolated area to paint. I chose to do it from the outside, because it was easier to get to. I found that the water on my starboard side went down to the center line. You can't get to it all from the inside. The rot will not be uniform, some places will be completely rotted others just saturated. This creates problems if you are trying to save the old skin. In some places it is wet but still adhered to the skin, which cracks when you remove it. I found it easier to cut out 3x3 sections with a cirlcular saw, the expand the hole until I hit dry core. Some of the core may look dry but if you start chiseling you find that water seeps out.Working from inside the cabin will be difficult. When you are working over head, It's hard to keep the core in place without a lot of bracing and it's harder to get it to adhere evenly. Plus there no way around it it's a messy job, No matter how careful you are resin ends up every where. I plan on working my deck from the topside, but I need to repaint anyway.


Quote
Originally posted by Jason King:
The vacuum technique works with new layup to draw off excess resin and improve the bond, but I can't see it being effective with an existing skin.

You can use screws rather than braces - in fact, I think that's an excellent idea. However, don't leave them in. Coat them liberally with car wax before screwing them in and remove the screws and fill the holes the following day.

I've also recored from the inside for the reasons you've suggested. It's a fine way to go, just a bit more difficult.

Re: Rhapsody Transom Re-core and Other Areas Too #6303
10/02/08 06:22 PM
10/02/08 06:22 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 156
kailua, hawaii usa
mango madness Offline
Senior Member
mango madness  Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 156
kailua, hawaii usa
After the amount of time and mess of re-coring from the top, there is no way in hell I would even consider making these types of repairs from inside or underneath, unless there was no way around it. The level of epoxy that gets everywhere is astounding. I'm very careful and deliberate and I still have epoxy all over the place. Since there is no good way to remove epoxy once its set, I have to sand and repaint all areas that now have yellow epoxy stains. Not to mention the epoxy is relatively clear when its wet. It takes a couple days of curing to find where you dripped it.
Bill, I do not envy your future endeavor.


mangomadnessj30.blogspot.com

Former Owner, Mango Madness
Re: Rhapsody Transom Re-core and Other Areas Too #6304
10/04/08 08:48 PM
10/04/08 08:48 PM
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 49
Cleveland Hts., OH, USA
Blue J 503 Offline
Senior Member
Blue J 503  Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 49
Cleveland Hts., OH, USA
I have the same problem with Blue J, #503. When I had her surveyed in the spring, not only did the surveyor find the starboard side of the hull wet, but told me that the starboard backstay chain plate gusset was probably "garden mulch" and absolutely had to be replaced before sailing. Turned out to be wet but not rotten, and was a real PIA to cut out of there, since access from the quarter berth is very limited.
Now the boat's on her cradle and I want to get as much drying done as I can before it gets too cold here on the North Coast. I had in mind a scheme similar to Bill's, but I'm not sure how vacuum bagging would work either from the inside (preferred) or the outside. Can anyone provide a diagram or place to go to learn more?
I've drilled a couple test holes in the outer hull, at the transition point where knocking on the hull goes from a solid to a dull or hollow sound. Longitudinally, the holes are 1-2 feet behind the keel. The balsa that came out with the drill was wet but not rotten at all. I was expecting a stream or trickle of water, but only got a slight weep from one of the holes. I've also drilled some interior holes in the transom and under the aft half of the quarter berth. There may be a little rot in spots in the transom, but the rest appears just wet. There are some small blisters on the hull, even though it was barrier-coated with VC Tar by the previous owner. I suspect some of the moisture is due to osmosis, in addition to the exhaust pipe thing.
I'd like to do most of the work from the inside and was considering drilling multiple holes, using heat and possibly a dehumidifier to dry as much as possible, then filling enlarged holes with thickened West epoxy when it gets warm again in the Spring.
I'd use the bent nail technique to remove any rotted core. I'm also planning to address the exhaust pipe issue, from the inside if possible.
My wife and I are in our 60's, and we use the boat primarily for day sails and cruises on Lake Erie. I also race Wed. nights, primarily JAM, with a crew in their 60's. In other words, we don't push things too hard. Before I bought her in 2005, she had been exclusively and actively raced and well-maintained. I was not present for the purchase survey, and I'm somewhat disappointed that the hull problem was not detected at the time. Too late to worry about that.
I'd appreciate any thoughts and advice and will attempt to document my work as it moves forward. For now, I'm using a 100W trouble light to heat the transom/aft hull area, but I need a way to do some serious drying.

Re: Rhapsody Transom Re-core and Other Areas Too #6305
10/04/08 09:31 PM
10/04/08 09:31 PM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 148
Iowa City IA
Phantom364 Offline
Senior Member
Phantom364  Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 148
Iowa City IA
I don't think you can adequately dry the hul with vacum bagging. Even if you could it wouldn't help the core that is rotten and no longer stiff. My boat sails dramatically different now that the core has been repalced.

Quote
Originally posted by Peter E:
I have the same problem with Blue J, #503. When I had her surveyed in the spring, not only did the surveyor find the starboard side of the hull wet, but told me that the starboard backstay chain plate gusset was probably "garden mulch" and absolutely had to be replaced before sailing. Turned out to be wet but not rotten, and was a real PIA to cut out of there, since access from the quarter berth is very limited.
Now the boat's on her cradle and I want to get as much drying done as I can before it gets too cold here on the North Coast. I had in mind a scheme similar to Bill's, but I'm not sure how vacuum bagging would work either from the inside (preferred) or the outside. Can anyone provide a diagram or place to go to learn more?
I've drilled a couple test holes in the outer hull, at the transition point where knocking on the hull goes from a solid to a dull or hollow sound. Longitudinally, the holes are 1-2 feet behind the keel. The balsa that came out with the drill was wet but not rotten at all. I was expecting a stream or trickle of water, but only got a slight weep from one of the holes. I've also drilled some interior holes in the transom and under the aft half of the quarter berth. There may be a little rot in spots in the transom, but the rest appears just wet. There are some small blisters on the hull, even though it was barrier-coated with VC Tar by the previous owner. I suspect some of the moisture is due to osmosis, in addition to the exhaust pipe thing.
I'd like to do most of the work from the inside and was considering drilling multiple holes, using heat and possibly a dehumidifier to dry as much as possible, then filling enlarged holes with thickened West epoxy when it gets warm again in the Spring.
I'd use the bent nail technique to remove any rotted core. I'm also planning to address the exhaust pipe issue, from the inside if possible.
My wife and I are in our 60's, and we use the boat primarily for day sails and cruises on Lake Erie. I also race Wed. nights, primarily JAM, with a crew in their 60's. In other words, we don't push things too hard. Before I bought her in 2005, she had been exclusively and actively raced and well-maintained. I was not present for the purchase survey, and I'm somewhat disappointed that the hull problem was not detected at the time. Too late to worry about that.
I'd appreciate any thoughts and advice and will attempt to document my work as it moves forward. For now, I'm using a 100W trouble light to heat the transom/aft hull area, but I need a way to do some serious drying.

Re: Rhapsody Transom Re-core and Other Areas Too #6306
10/08/08 08:45 AM
10/08/08 08:45 AM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 88
Henderson Harbor N.Y.
HHSA Offline
Senior Member
HHSA  Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 88
Henderson Harbor N.Y.
Wow what a project. I had some wet core that I was able to dry out. There was no rotting wood or delamination. I cut a small piece of the inner liner out, dried the Balsa and replaced the inner liner. It was of course in the area on the bottom by the exhaust. The repair seems to be holding very well! I don't know if anyone else has had any luck with this kind of thing, but I found that with the help of my yard guy, who is awesome, we were able to avoid recoring in this small area. I know that if the wood is rotted or the hull is delaminated that you have no choice, but perhaps drying might be an alternative for some of your trouble spots. It is amazing what some west systems can do. The hard part was fining the "end" of the wetness and cutting the liner out to allow for the drying process to begin.

HHSA
Velocity Girl #278

Re: Rhapsody Transom Re-core and Other Areas Too #6307
10/08/08 12:27 PM
10/08/08 12:27 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 156
kailua, hawaii usa
mango madness Offline
Senior Member
mango madness  Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 156
kailua, hawaii usa
From my experience with just trying to drill and fill with west system, the attempt yielded poor results. I can see how a vertical transom could be filled with Gitrot or something similar, but relying on thickened epoxy to penetrate a core in an area that is sporadically wet(deck, cabin) is futile. Even when I followed Casey's instructions to the "T", when I decided to rip it all out and re-core the right way I found the injection sites just had a small plug in the area of the dilled and reamed hole. A band-aid fix to a HIV problem at best. Commit, take the time and do it right. If you live close to your boat it isn't all that difficult of an endeavor, just a pain in the arse, sticky, step by step critical process.

[This message has been edited by MangoMadnesss (edited 10-08-2008).]


mangomadnessj30.blogspot.com

Former Owner, Mango Madness
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