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Thread: small epoxy repair

  1. #1
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    Default small epoxy repair

    Hi, I'm a first-time poster, first-time boat owner and I've come to test your patience. I just bought a San Francisco Bay Pelican that was built in the 90's by a professional shipwright. The hull is plywood coated with epoxy. It's in good shape but the seller pointed out some small splits in the epoxy on the deck joint and recommended sanding them down and filling them in, "maybe with a microballoon filler to thicken the mix." I nodded sagely, as if I understood.
    I'm a complete newbie to woodwork, so my questions are pretty basic. What grade of sandpaper? Can I do it by hand or do I need a power sander? Epoxy seems to come in an infinite number of flavors. Can anyone suggest the correct type/brand for this sort of repair?
    One of the splits has widened a little and there is some exposed wood (picture: https://drive.google.com/open?id=17X...B6x6VURRaXkJPA). That's about 2 inches long.
    Will that require anything more than sanding and filler?
    I did search the forum but couldn't find anything that addressed my complete lack of knowledge.
    Thanks in advance,
    Matt

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Olympia, WA, USA
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    Default Re: small epoxy repair

    Others *far* more educated in this topic will be along soon, I have no doubt, but the one thing I can address is that each of the various boatbuilding-quality epoxies --WEST, System 3, etc.-- have their ardent advocates, and the different epoxies all do a good job. I use WEST, because it's what I started with, and I have no complaints, but if I ran out and the store only had System 3, I would use it without any fear. Just don't use hardware store-grade epoxy; you want the good stuff.

    The other thing is that, if you can, post the photo itself here on the Forum. You'll get a lot more attention than if you just post a link.

    Welcome to the Forum!

    Alex

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    se pa (Bristol PA)
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    Default

    Looks like some rot going on under there.

    How about a picture of the whole boat! please?

    This is a problem that I don't like about completely epoxy encapsulated boats, when the rot starts to show it's usually a signal that there is more going on. It happened with my plywood kayak,

    hopefully your boat is okay and it's just that one small spot that you can soak with penetrating epoxy, fill with thickened epoxy, sand & varnish but it's doubtful you will have the original clear finish you once had, looks like the deck area?
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    Port Townsend WA
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    Default Re: small epoxy repair

    Hello Matt and welcome to the Woodenboat Forum. From your picture, it appears that a de-lamitation of the coating and possibly a separation of a portion of the rub rail has occurred. The first question concerns whether or not the finish is indeed epoxy or is it varnish? Regardless, of that point, you need to fix that gap before water intrudes and soaks into the wood and allows more staining or rot intrusion. Speaking of rot, you should closely inspect the exposed wood to insure that rot has not already begun as rot is another whole problem and must first be adressed prior to any finish repairs. I am sure that you will receive more than one solution to the problem here but, here is one man's opinion.

    First, providing there is no rot, it is necessary to feather down the abrupt edge of the finish as well as to remove a bit of the bleached wood. While there are several ways to do this, the safest is to start with 100 grit aluminum oxide sand paper that has been wrapped once around a pice of wood such as a batten made of a cheap wooden yard stick or other wood of similar dimension. This wil allow you to sand the area without creating a dip in the surface while providing enough even pressure to the surface. This means bringing the finish down for about a distance of about six inches on either side of the open area. Once you have reached fresh wood color on the bare spot, switch to 120 grit paper to further smooth the area. All feathering into the bare wood should show good adhesion of the sanded coating surface. If not, sand further till you reach good bonding of the finish.

    There is a tool called a French Cabinet Scraper or Card Scraper that can also be used to fair in the finish and clean the weathered wood. The tool has a bit of a learning curve attached to its prepping and use. Here is a video on the process which will take the mystery out of the process.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSJ-FsQQz8k

    Once you have smoothed and removed staining and damaged material you are ready to begin filling in the gap in the wood. This can be done by using filling materials offered by West System a company that supplys most of the epoxy used in boat building. You will want to fill the crack with a material that is close to the color of the wood so check with your supplier on this. There are also fill in sticks made by this company
    https://www.mohawkproducts.com/ Mohawk burn in/fill sticks can be purchased in a variety of colors to match and prepare damaged wood surfaces. The colored fill must, of course, be covered over by the clear finish of your choice.
    I wish you good luck, as well as fun, with your boat repair project!
    Jay
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 09-30-2018 at 02:45 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
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    Littleton, MA, USA
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    Default Re: small epoxy repair

    Thanks for the responses. There doesn't seem to be any rot. I'm going to post some better pictures when I have the time.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: small epoxy repair

    Here is your picture. Is that a rope inlaid rubrail? I would be sure there is no rot there. Do you want to finish it bright?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    SF Bay Area- Richmond
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    Default Re: small epoxy repair

    A good way to get experienced opinions is to bring your new Pelican to local events -- the TSCA has several rows and sails this Fall, and many of the members have built or repaired their wooden boats.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/TSCA.group/

    I'd suggest picking up a decent quality electric palm sander, as the cheap ones tend to both burn out quickly and waste expensive sandpaper. The DeWalt ones are good, and the Ryobi ones are OK. Get a sample pack of different grit paper. Get nitrile gloves from Harbor Freight or Ace Hardware to protect your skin from epoxy, paint and varnish.

    As above the West systems epoxy is good, but either wear a filter mask or be very careful when mixing the microballoons, as they tend to float around and get breathed into your lungs. Regular spar varnish will be the cheapest way to cover the epoxy, as you can't leave it exposed to sunlight without it being damaged by the UV, which varnish prevents as it has UV blockers.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: small epoxy repair

    If there is a suspicion of rot, try to get to it, make sure it is dry and use Git Rot, which you can get at the hardware store. It is a watery epoxy that soaks in and then sets.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
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    Hyannis, MA, USA
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    Default Re: small epoxy repair

    Now we're getting into a religious matter. I would avoid Git-Rot based on my own past poor experience with the stuff. That was a good 20 years ago and maybe it's been improved. I use CPES for problems like this. There is much theological debate on CPES versus simply thinning a good epoxy like WEST. It's like free will versus predestination.

    Poke gently with a sharp brad or such to see if the exposed wood is soft. See how big the problem is.

    G'luck

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
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    N.E. Connecticut.
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    Default Re: small epoxy repair

    What Jay said.

    ......and a second to Ian's " I would avoid Git-Rot ".

    And finally, ... keep in mind that most epoxies have very little UV resistance, so numerous coats of varnish are usually in order on top of the epoxy.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Norwalk CT
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    Default Re: small epoxy repair

    Git Rot is fine for your old chair or a punky window sill but has no place on a boat. Use CPES instead.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: small epoxy repair

    Yes, Ian is right!
    Jay

  13. #13
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    Default Re: small epoxy repair

    Quote Originally Posted by ahp View Post
    If there is a suspicion of rot, try to get to it, make sure it is dry and use Git Rot, which you can get at the hardware store. It is a watery epoxy that soaks in and then sets.
    Git Rot? Git serious! Go to your room.

  14. #14
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    Sep 2018
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    Littleton, MA, USA
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    Default Re: small epoxy repair

    So I've been reading up on epoxy and I'm about ready to get started. I've ordered the West Systems 105a/205a with the 410 microlight filler, plus the pumps, mixing cups, etc. That should all arrive within the week. In general, the hull is solid and there's no significant rot. The rubrail has come loose at one spot. It looks like it was attached with a screw through the braid closest to the rail. The hole it left behind has a bit of rot but it doesn't go much beyond. I'm thinking about removing and replacing the whole rope, it's pretty weathered and fraying in places. Otherwise, I was thinking I'd clean out that screw hole, fill it with epoxy and reattach. There's also a spot on the rail at the bow that has some exposed wood which is soft enough to mark up with a sharp awl (pictures below). Does that seem like something that should be repaired before resealing? Thanks for your suggestions, this forum has been a great resource. Anyway, are some pictures:

    pelican1.jpg

    Here's the soft wood at the bow, you can see where I poked it:

    bowrail.jpg

    Another view of the split seam on the gunwale I mentioned earlier:

    gunwale.jpg

    And a closeup of where the rope detached from the rubrail:

    rubrail.jpg

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