Sunday, February 02, 2014

Just a little repair job

One of the joys of owning an old cold molded marine ply constructed dinghy, such as the Albacore, is that those lovely wooden veneers can sometimes begin to de-laminate and can suffer water ingress that silently begins the rotting process hidden beneath the paint and varnish until those tell tale dark spots appear that are a little soft when you press on them. If you don't deal with it as soon as you can then its will just spread until ultimately the hull integrity will be so compromised that it will fail under load and leak like a sieve. These lovely wooden boats are just too expensive to replace so taking care of them is a good idea, especially if you can't afford one the 'Go-faster-fantastic-plastic-soulless-tupperware-tubs' and prefer the uniqueness of wooden boats.
At the moment I am part way through a repair to the hull of a small bit of rot that has gone all the way through. A previous repair job (not mine) of just scrapping out the rot and filling it with epoxy filler has made the situation worse because unlike the wood it doesn't flex and so cracks and then it just traps water. I can't undo all the previous repair but I am having to do a proper repair using some lovely strips of veneers I was given last year (Thank you Mike)

The particular spot in question is on the port side mid way between stiffeners and in line with the front edge of the side tank and the centreboard casing. The was soft spot on the inside and a crack on the outside. starting on the outside I removed the paint down to the wood and then started scrapping away the soft wood until I had a nice hole right through the hull. Hmmm. But at least the rot is dealt with.

You can just make out the edge of epoxy resin repair that had cracked and let the water in.
Next job was to cut away the inner and out layer of veneers around the hole.

I did this by scoring through the layers with a sharp Stanley knife and a sharp chisel.

Then shaped the inner layer (slightly beveled edges to help the boding and strength) and middle layer of replacement veneers.

This image shows the inner layer held in place by tape on the inside of the hull. I then mixed up some epoxy resin glue to bind this and the next layer in place.
This is just needs to dry under some pressure and then I can cut out an area for the outside layer and then glue that in place.

Hopefully the repair will be  sound and strong.

Its a bit worrying to cut holes in your boat but quite satisfying to fix the problem. Well I hope it will be fixed ok. We shall see won't we?

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