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Thread: Re-building my Ketch Tonga (1960)

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Nazaré, Portugal

    Default Re-building my Ketch Tonga (1960)

    Hi together,

    I've found some amzing projects and very interesting information in your Forum, and am now one of your newbies !

    Maybe I better introduce us first: we, that's Tonga my composite ketch launched 1960, Mr. Max the cat (arrived here in winter 2015 and couldn't be convinced that life on a boat will be difficult for him) and me (Dody, 1962, ex office-worker but didn't do much practial stuff with my hands, female). Tonga and me have been sailing together since 1996 when in 2010 I discovered her plywood-deck needs replacing. I started, but sailed away with a mate for 3 months, but it turned out in the end that we've actually been away for 23 months. When I came back in 2013 I had to take my whole interior out as rainwater had got in (only kept my bunk). All the interior was covered in fungus and spak, but the hull was not affected. So, I really started with my deck. From bow to cockpit the new deck is installed now. When I ripped off the aft-deck I found - as kind of expected - that the previous owner and builder of Tonga had altered the form of the stern. Originally she was positive stern, he added a negative stern to it. Water was sitting in between the two not doing any good. So, together with the local shipwright for wooden fishing-boats we re-built her stern. During this operation we found out that after 57 years the nails connecting the planks to the frames are giving up, meaning I've got to bang new nails in each connection. On top of the planks was one layer of plywood in 4 mm, 14 cm wide and nailed on in a 45-degree angle, on top of that fibreglass and filler. Fortunately for me now, this was done with Polyester. Fortunately in so far as it never managed to get a good bond with the plywood and is fairly easy to take off.

    I've already ordered the plywood for the hull, had it cut in 14 cm strips (am using 6 mm ply as I tested and found out it bends easy enough in the closest bends), and I will go for 3 layers, one crossing the previous one. The layers of ply will be bonded together with Epoxy, and on top of that 3 or so layers of fibreglass, probably the exterior one in Carbon or Kevlar for more protection against little icy bits etc. So far so good.

    I would like to know your opinion about what you think would be the best way to do the connection with the planks (they have been heavily treated against all kind of ugly stuff in the building-process of Tonga, they are not painted or varnished, but they received from me several layers of linseed-oil mixed with wood-preserver), and the first layer of plywood.

    The guys where I get the epoxy from try to convince me to epoxy and filler-glue this first layer on, with staples till the epoxy has cured.

    For some reason I don't trust this bond to hold forever, although it might be pretty stiff. I've made some tests with one of the old planks and the new ply. With the hammer I managed to break the plywood, but not the bond. Still, I've ordered a pneumatic nailgun and 20.000 nails, in inox because, strange enough the inox-screws that were used during the building-process in several places under and above water are still perfectly alright.

    What scares me is the question how the planks will love it long-term. They will have no possibility to breathe on the side where they are glued to the plywood, which they can on all other 3 sides.

    Please let me know your ideas and thoughts about it!

    Fair winds and sunny greetings from Portugal

    Sorry, I resized the photos 6 times now, but he still wouldn't take it, must be doing something wrong!
    Last edited by Dody; 06-27-2017 at 05:48 AM.

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