View Full Version : Fiberglass over wood hull

08-12-2003, 11:38 AM
I have a 1957 , 44' sportfish boat that is constructed out of old growth Mahogony. The hull is in great shape, with bottom paint. I would like to put an epoxy and glass finish on the bottom, need suggestions.

08-12-2003, 11:52 AM
My suggestion is don't. Now I'm not the expert, but if this is carvel planked it is designed to move with the moisture content and if you glass it you restrict that movement causing all kinds of problems.

Here before too long the folks that are in the know will put in their 2 cents, and they know more than me, so listen to them closely and don't get offended.


Mike Vogdes
08-12-2003, 11:55 AM
Lucky for you this is your very first post on the WBF, maybe the mob will go easy on you.

This fiberglassing the bottom thing is a very sensitive subject around here, you should try the search thing on the upper right hand of the page and do a little research befor you put your toes in the water...

BTW welcome aboard, you did come to the right place.

[ 08-12-2003, 12:58 PM: Message edited by: Mike Vogdes ]

Ian McColgin
08-12-2003, 12:55 PM
You might, of course, wood the boat and CPES it.

Or sand it and use ESP.

(HehHehHeh OK, if you've not been lurking, look for that CPES test thread Paul did.)

In general, glass can be engineered into new wood construction quite readily.

On smaller boats, glass can successfully staunch leaks, often for a long while, as the extra 30 years my mother's old Cape Cod Knockabout got after Dad glassed her in '58 or so.

But glass is heavy, may well hide spreading rot, and often not really that strong. Modern approaches that don't got the Viastsas (sp approx) approach of essentially using the boat as a left in place male plug for a glass hull are more likely to be a wood sheathing with epoxy adheasive.

If she's lapstrake, definatly glassing is out.

If clinker, then depending on what you want to solve there may well be better solutions.

What is the real problem?

Tar Devil
08-12-2003, 01:42 PM
Originally posted by Ian McColgin:
If she's lapstrake, definatly glassing is out.

If clinker, then depending on what you want to solve there may well be better solutions.Lapstrake and clinker... aren't they one and the same?



08-12-2003, 02:41 PM
The ole girl is a 1957 Norseman, laid up in Cuba, then fitted-out in the Miami area. She spent most of her life in this local area, in Destin FL, as a charter boat, she also starred in the movie Jaws II that was filmed here in Navarre Beach. She is a beautiful boat with great lines, similiar to an old Rybovich. She is fitted out with a pair of Johnson and Towers 671's.

Another 44' Noreman of the same era located near here had the hull fitted with "C-Flex" fiberglass panels and epoxy. This increased the owners confidence as well as the value of the boat.

What a great message board-very interesting, and thanks for all the feed back.

Pictures soon to follow.

08-12-2003, 02:52 PM
How about some of the new coating systems that stays flexible and allows the wood to expand and contract as needed?

Mike Vogdes
08-12-2003, 03:09 PM
Heres one C-Flexed http://www.yachtworld.com/core/listing/pl_boat_detail.jsp?currency=USD&units=Feet&checked_boats=924130&slim=quick&

Nice lookin boat...

C-Flex was used to squeeze a few more years out of old wood fishing trawlers that where to far gone to fix conventionally. I have seen it used on the bottom of an old motoryacht on the Chesapeake. It was done quite awhile ago (10 15 years) and seems to be holding up well. They C-Flexed from the water line down and left the rest of the planking alone. I think Oyster has some experience with C-Flex, he should be along any time now.

Ian McColgin
08-12-2003, 03:24 PM
Carvel. My phingers were doing their aphasic thing.

Bob Cleek
08-12-2003, 03:24 PM
You can't polish a turd and you can't fibreglass a wooden boat. It will be a hell of a lot easier and cheaper to fix what ails her properly (caulking, refastening, replacing planks or frames, etc.) than it ever will to glass her... and glassing her will likely compound the problems and drastically reduce her value. It's a really stupid thing to do to a perfectly good wooden boat, or even to a really crappy wooden boat. If she isn't worth fixing right, unload her, or scrap her. Don't waste your time and money.

08-12-2003, 03:35 PM
See I told you the folks that know would be by. I would listen to Cleek, he seems to know these things. Even though he can be a little gruff. ;)


High C
08-12-2003, 03:50 PM
I used to own a 1935 38' custom Matthews tri-cabin motoryacht, mahagony planked. I replaced about 20 planks during the years I had her, then sold her to some folks who C-Flexed her. That boat survived for 60 years before they C-Flexed her. She will NOT last 60 more.

If you cover up a wood planked boat with glue and cloth of any kind, you do two terrible things.

1) You bond a nonflexible cover onto a very flexible surface. The wood will continue to move with the weather in its normal cycle of shrinking/expanding. It will REALLY shrink during haulouts. This wood movement will eventually break the bond with the fiberglass cover, and/or break the wood itself.

2) The fiberglassing makes it nearly impossible to repair the rot that WILL occur in the planking.

It's a death sentence to the boat.

08-12-2003, 05:52 PM
Well, I do see that covering the bottom is not the thing to do. And the only reason I was even questioning this is to make her a better craft, or should I say more seaworthy. The hull is in great condition and to my knowledge there are no problems. This is my 6th boat, but my first wood hull, other than the cedar strip canoes I build (using the West System). I figured you guys had the answers.

Donn, thanks for the award! I am honored.

Art Read
08-13-2003, 04:43 AM
".... The hull is in great condition and to my knowledge there are no problems...."

If it ain't broke, don't "fix" it.

Russell Sova
08-13-2003, 05:30 AM
Whatever it is, I'm against it.... G.Marx