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Thread: Brine?

  1. #1
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    Default Brine?

    I saw something a few weeks back about some kind of technique of brining the bilge. I have read that the salt is good for the wood. How does this process work? I think my old girl has had a very wet bilge for a long time. My survey guy wondered if it would be a good idea to paint CPES along the keel area while she is good and dried out. That got me thinking about the brine article I now cannot find. Doing a minimum of some sort of cleaning(brush and vacuum) is for sure in order before she splashes in the spring.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Brine?

    You are better spreading borax AKA Timbor so that the wet draws it into the wood.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Brine?

    Brace yourself. This is a can of worms.

    Traditional wisdom was that salt prevents rot. It certainly preserves meat, veggies, hides, and probably wood as well. It also attracts moisture, so something salty will be forever damp. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that boats used regularly on salt water last much longer than ones that sit at the dock in the rain. There is more to that story than just salt though.

    Salt is really hard on metals, and can cause damage to surrounding wood due to electrolysis if the metals aren't the most noble of Bronze.

    If your wood is dry now, CPES might be a better bet depending on the boat. There is no way to "brine" a boat and have it last. Constant re-application would be required. Salt boxes were once fitted along the sheer for this purpose, but are certainly out of fashion.

    If your bilge is always damp and the boat is kept in salt water, it is effectively salted whether you like it or not.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Brine?

    I see that J. Madison came in ahead while I was writing this. But since I went to the effor, here is what I wrote.

    Actually, the idea that salting the inside of a hull is an old wives tale that came from packing fish, meat and other foods in salt to preserve them. Commercial ships of the last century and before actually had, what were called salt stops built in between the frame bays. These were areas that were packed with rock salt, presumably to preserve the wood. The truth of this misnomer is in reverse of the concept! Salt, being hydroscopic, will attract moisture and also accelerate corrosion of metals that come in contact with it, alarmingly! The dank, moist air caused by the large amounts of salt actually promotes fungus and rot formation. Salting a hull, back then, proved to be disastrous in that respect! Not a good thing to do!
    Jay
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 01-23-2019 at 01:25 PM.

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    Default Re: Brine?

    I had the great pleasure of running a few times on the Mira. Built in 1894 in Norway from 3- 4" planked pine of some kind, a twin masted gaff rigged 'Bacalhoeira' a cod boat. Mira sailed regularly bringing salted dried cod from Norway to Portugal and returning with a full cargo of salt until at least 1960. Engine only fitted in the 60s, and refurbed on and off through the 90s and new century. since mid 80's a live aboard for the owner skipper moored in Lisbon. The couple of times I saw her out of the water, the only work ever needed was topsides, freshwater rot. a broken gaff spar the size of a large telegraph pole, rotted., failed as we came into La corunha or Vigo, the bowsprit mounting, odd bits of planking all above the waterline., Below , I guess she was well pickled, and her demise came about through neglect and the dreaded boring worm. She sank at her moorings in Sesimbra and was I think, refloated enough to drag her out to sea and scuppered.
    I wrote about this here, at the time, while she was still semi-afloat and cabled by mooring lines to the quay. trying to attract interest and of course funding, for the rescue of an historic ship. Hey Ho.
    But the times i worked on Mira, in and out of the water, her hull was solid as a rock. 110 ten years in salt water, inside and out.
    'C'est la vie' say the old folks it goes to show you never can tell

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Brine?

    Meanwhile, borax is a fungicide and does not corrode metal, being used as a flux in brazing. It was used in the preservation of Scotts Discovery to guard against fresh water rot.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Brine?

    Borax, Boric Acid, H3 BO3. though efficient as a fungicide for waterlogged wood, and is an effective fire retardant is actually a pretty unpleasant organic toxin, and is not approved by UKs Pesticide regulatory body since 1986.
    From the Scottish Society for Conservation and Restoration, 1990, 'Chemicals in Conservation' nearly 20 years ago..
    ".......Effects of exposure: (the following is in capital letters) Extremely toxic even in small amounts if enters the bloodstream through broken skin or cuts. Poisonous.
    aerosol dispersal causes dryness blisters and irritable lesions. Conjunctivitis and blindness.
    Inhalation : Fever. Circulatory collapse, convulsion, death...
    Ingestion : fatal after three to five days. small dose: convulsion visual disturbance vomiting diarrhoea.... Children massively susceptible, cumulative chronic effects.
    Handle with natural or nitrile rubber gloves , obligatory respirator or self contained breathing apparatus SCBA

    Put it in your bilges if you want, I'll stay with salt, thankyou
    'C'est la vie' say the old folks it goes to show you never can tell

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Brine?

    You and your Grand Banks are up by the Great Lakes, yes? Fresh water is the enemy, as it promotes rot.

    However, adding salt to the bilge isn't the answer, for all the reasons everyone else already said.

    Focus on keeping the hull in good condition, keep the paint and antifoul good, and you'll be fine. Dry wood is happier.
    There's the plan, then there's what actually happens.

    Ben Sebens, RN

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    16' W. Simmons Mattinicus double ender ​Matty

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Brine?

    Did I recommend boric acid?

    When Timbor is brushed or sprayed directly onto the surface of timber, lumber, OSB, or plywood, it diffuses deep into the wood fibers and acts as a preservative to protect the wood from insects and fungi, as long as it is not exposed to flowing water. The active ingredient in Timbor (DOT) will not break down, so it provides long lasting protection even as normal moisture changes occur.

    BORON RODS - solid rods for embedding dissolving Boron inside holes in wood
    These high strength solid Boron rods are used to protect timbers which are constantly or occasionally damp: external joinery, wall plates, embedded beam ends, posts etc. They can also be used in conjunction with BORON ULTRA 78 paste, to act as a long term reservoir (Standard Boron Rod Sizes - 8mm x 24mm and 8mm x 65mm).

    and https://crunchybetty.com/getting-to-...t-safe-or-not/
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Brine?

    OK Mr PM i stand partially corrected... I was concerned enough to research Borax and Boracic acid as I have a container of Borax with the label giving the synonym, 'Orthoboric acid , Boric acid , Borax' I then went through my training notes and the above mentioned SSCR chemicals directory and quoted that above.
    I then , thinking it sounded a bit extreme for what has been an almost household product, wiki'ed it and came out with a 'reading between the lines ' that is halfway between what I quoted and the popular view.
    Still , would I believe wiki over a peer reviewed academic treatise, albeit twenty years old.....?
    Its a question of benefit of the doubt, in many topics , but if one is dealing with, say, chloroform, a once almost household product and now unavailable without licence in many places due to its elevated extreme carcinogen status., I think the benefit of doubt premise can swing the other way.
    ho hum
    'C'est la vie' say the old folks it goes to show you never can tell

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Brine?

    Yes, I am in freshwater, the great freshwater seas of the great lakes. OK, so the salt idea is out. So how about a little CPES? She had enough standing fresh water in one area that the other day I found it full of dead zebra muscles when I pulled up the sole.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Brine?

    DOT (disodiumoctaboratetetrahydrate) is 1/10 as toxic to humans as table salt and 1/8 as toxic to humans as aspirin. It is approved by the USFDA for use in institutional kitchens. It's water soluble so needs to be re-applied from the inside from time to time. It is toxic to the fungus that rots wood.

    You can get it in it's pure form as, for the thousandth time here...wait for it... roach prufe!



    https://www3.epa.gov/pesticides/chem...2-19691114.pdf
    Last edited by Gib Etheridge; 01-23-2019 at 08:39 PM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Brine?

    Quote Originally Posted by jstafford View Post
    I saw something a few weeks back about some kind of technique of brining the bilge. I have read that the salt is good for the wood. How does this process work? I think my old girl has had a very wet bilge for a long time. My survey guy wondered if it would be a good idea to paint CPES along the keel area while she is good and dried out. That got me thinking about the brine article I now cannot find. Doing a minimum of some sort of cleaning(brush and vacuum) is for sure in order before she splashes in the spring.
    I think you may think of this the wrong way.
    If the problem is just a wet bilge, the solution is sealing the leak(s) and perhaps a (bigger) bilge pump.
    If the wood is sound there is no real need for CPES, BORAX or whatever, no more than with a newly built boat.
    If you have problems with rot or mold, well that's another thing.

    /Mats
    Yes the avatar depicts me; yes I drew the comic boat pic, it's a joke on the pop song I'm not a robot by Marina and the diamonds

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Brine?

    I cant see how using CPES would cause any problems if the wood is clean and dry enough to take it.
    There is nothing quite as permanent as a good temporary repair.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Brine?

    Yes, I understand that drier is better. In looking at my bilge - it has been wet, very wet, long enough to grow zebra muscles wet. And although I will do everything I can to try to keep it dry the realist in me is pretty sure it is going to be wet. I'm thinking a good cleaning and a little CPES in a few strategic places is the proper course of action. With that said can you enlighten me on the Roach Prufe approach? Searches on her typically lead to 100 page threads where you can't find what you are looking for.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Brine?

    Drake has had a wet bilge every single day afloat since 1947. Cypress-on-oak. Live oak keelson.

    No rot in the hull. But the decks need continual watching.

    One thing I have done for years now is when I leave the boat, typically for a week or so, I pour a few tablespoons of car anti-freeze into the bilge in various places.

    This is totally effective against the growth of slimy stuff in the bilge in the heat of the summer. Really works. And I figure that if it kills microbial growth, then it's good for the planks as well.

    Cheap, easy, and it works.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Brine?

    Thanks, I will keep this in mind through the summer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hadfield View Post
    Drake has had a wet bilge every single day afloat since 1947. Cypress-on-oak. Live oak keelson.

    No rot in the hull. But the decks need continual watching.

    One thing I have done for years now is when I leave the boat, typically for a week or so, I pour a few tablespoons of car anti-freeze into the bilge in various places.

    This is totally effective against the growth of slimy stuff in the bilge in the heat of the summer. Really works. And I figure that if it kills microbial growth, then it's good for the planks as well.

    Cheap, easy, and it works.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Brine?

    CPES is a hot-button topic here, with some liking it and others...not.

    If the planks are truly well-dried out, it seems to me that putting one or more coatings of CPES might help a bit -- but the suggestions for Borax / disodiumoctaboratetetrahydrate are also good ones no matter what you coat the planks with.

    If you go with CPES you'll need fresh organic vapor carts in your respirator, and some strong ventilation fans in the boat -- it is very nasty stuff and mostly VOC to give best penetration of the solids. Give it plenty of time to cure before coating with anything else.
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Brine?

    Having the boat out of the water for 8 months out of 12, will help more than salt.
    R
    Sleep with one eye open.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Brine?

    If you use CPES it should go on the outside and if you use DOT it should go on the inside where it won't get rinsed out. DOT likes moisture. Every time the wood gets moist it just soaks in a little deeper. It won't soak in at all over CPES or any other finish though.

    Just dissolve it in water and spray it everywhere with a garden sprayer. Be sure to clean the sprayer very well when you're done since any DOT left in it will crystalize
    once the water evaporates and you'll have an awful time cleaning out the pipe and hose and valve and nozzle. DAMHIKT. Spray on a heavy dose maybe twice per year.

    Adding ethylene glycol or antifreeze to the mix may promote absorption. Some here know a lot more than me about that.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Brine?

    Quote Originally Posted by jstafford View Post
    Yes, I understand that drier is better. In looking at my bilge - it has been wet, very wet, long enough to grow zebra muscles wet. And although I will do everything I can to try to keep it dry the realist in me is pretty sure it is going to be wet. I'm thinking a good cleaning and a little CPES in a few strategic places is the proper course of action. With that said can you enlighten me on the Roach Prufe approach? Searches on her typically lead to 100 page threads where you can't find what you are looking for.
    The instructions and formulations can get confusing. They all boil down (often literally) to making a solution of boric acid, borax, DOT, etc in water, glycol or water and glycol. Some of the salts work better than others, but they all work and if you settle for good enough as opposed to getting wrapped around the axle about the perfect mix, no problem. They all diffuse into the wood. Roach Prufe is a dry powder. I think borax is better for this purpose, and is more soluble in glycol than water. If you pour a dry powder into a bilge that gets and stays wet, it will dissolve and soak in, assuming that you don't have so much water getting in and pumped out that it is just washed away.

    Roach prufe is boric acid BH3O3. DOT is pretty much a sodium salt of boric acid, Na2B8O13.4H2O. Borax is Na2B4O710H2O or Na2[B4O5(OH)4]8H2O.
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: Brine?

    We have an 80 year old 33 Ft carvel planked sloop and has been in the great lakes all her life. I suspect your GB is planked also. Just forget the CPES stuff it would be deadly applying inside. Your best approach is to make sure all the planking is good and replace that is questionable. It is not that hard on a carvel planked boat. Your boat hull sounds to be very dry so that is good. You need to rip out all the old caulk and start with new (not easy work). Usually the problem is with the garboard plank where the seams get wider with age. If that is the case you might try this as I have on my boat. Again with good wood rip out all the caulk in the problem seam and clean it very good and put in a long tapered spline (I used clear fir) the length of your seam. Epoxy one side of the spline to one of the planks (for epoxy it must be dry) and use the old wooden clothes pins that you take apart and use as wedges to keep the spline in place as it cures. The other side (and leave room for expansion) is caulked as usual with cotton. I never use the modern caulks they will actually dimple the wood when it swells and create additional problems.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Brine?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonboy View Post
    Borax, Boric Acid, H3 BO3. though efficient as a fungicide for waterlogged wood, and is an effective fire retardant is actually a pretty unpleasant organic toxin, and is not approved by UKs Pesticide regulatory body since 1986 ... Handle with natural or nitrile rubber gloves , obligatory respirator or self contained breathing apparatus SCBA

    Put it in your bilges if you want, I'll stay with salt, thankyou
    How could anything that comes from Death Valley possibly be bad for you ?

    On the other hand, the Old Ranger Himself, Ronnie Raygun, spoke glowingly of its virtues so it's gotta be okay. And my mom never used nitrile gloves when washing the clothes, lived to be a hair away from 90, so I don't think I'll cower in fear when handling the 20 Mule Team product. Good for mules is good for me

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Brine?

    I have been recommended glycol as an anti-fungal. Thoughts?

    Also, where in the UK can boron powder be sought?

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Brine?

    The marine hardware stores ,in your neck of the woods, might be stocking "Timbor". Other wise you would need to contact a chemical supply company for Borax Powder.
    Jay

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Brine?

    Quote Originally Posted by lupussonic View Post
    I have been recommended glycol as an anti-fungal. Thoughts?

    Also, where in the UK can boron powder be sought?
    https://www.woodworm-info.co.uk/wood...tm#Boronpowder
    https://spiral.imperial.ac.uk/bitstr...PhD-Thesis.pdf
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  27. #27
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    Default Re: Brine?

    Thanks Nick...^

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Brine?

    Quote Originally Posted by lupussonic View Post
    I have been recommended glycol as an anti-fungal. Thoughts?

    Also, where in the UK can boron powder be sought?
    see my post above.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Brine?

    Quote Originally Posted by lupussonic View Post
    I have been recommended glycol as an anti-fungal. Thoughts?

    Also, where in the UK can boron powder be sought?
    Glycol works as an anti-fungal and as a humecant to swell wood and keep it from shrinking. The wood should be dry prior to application. It can be slowly leached out by constant contact with water. Dave Carnell said once that it binds to the wood, making it very slow to wash out.

    Google indicates that you can't buy borax or other boron compounds as a member of the general public.
    https://mistralni.co.uk/products/bor...te-decahydrate
    Please Note: This product has been reclassified by the ECHA as Reprotoxic Category 2 and as such is not available to the general public. Borax can only be purchased by Professionals and by trade and business users or for scientific research
    .
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  30. #30
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    Default Re: Brine?

    Quote Originally Posted by MN Dave View Post
    Google indicates that you can't buy borax or other boron compounds as a member of the general public.
    https://mistralni.co.uk/products/bor...te-decahydrate
    .
    That is odd. I recently bought some https://www.google.com/search?client...b&q=borax+flux
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Brine?

    Quote Originally Posted by MN Dave View Post
    Google indicates that you can't buy borax or other boron compounds as a member of the general public.
    Someone neglected to tell Walmart and K-Mart (I guess the K is bankrupt now ?) and also Ace Hardware carries Boraxo hand cleaner, mostly borax with a little soap mixed in.

    You can find anything on google. That doesn't make it true.

    Ah, in the UK. But that's an EU thing. Good example of why they voted to get out from under those little Hitlers ...

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    Default Re: Brine?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    That is odd. I recently bought some https://www.google.com/search?client...b&q=borax+flux
    So you must be a professional. I thought that flux might sneak under the radar as a trade or business material, but googled badly on that score.
    Management is the art of counting beans. Leadership is the art of making every being count. --Joe Finch

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Brine?

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Copper-Brit.../dp/B00SA7KZTQ




    • Features. Kills all species of termites.. Also effective against wood destroying beetles carpenter ants wood rot and mold.. Inject into termite holes mud tubes cracks crevices walls and ceiling voids.. Continues to penetrate into wood and does not lose its strength with age.. Ideal for infested wood or as a preventive treatment.. Odorless non-flammable.. Mixes with water to make 1 gallon of solution.. Covers 200 square feet.. Contains - Disodium octaborate tetrahydrate 98.00 Other ingredients 2.00.. Dimension - 6.75 x 12.75 x 16.75 in.. Item Weight - 1.25 lbs

      Trouble is, it's
    • "Currently unavailable.
      We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock."


    Perhaps it's available somewhere else though.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Brine?

    Can't buy borax? Then what is this stuff that is found in every grocery store in these parts?

    51pQyyjdreL._AC_UL130_.jpg

    According the the manufacturer, it's "sodium tetraborate". I've got a box sitting next to my clothes washer as I type this. Is it something different than the borax in question?
    I rather be an American than a Republican.

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    Default Re: Brine?

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianY View Post
    Can't buy borax? Then what is this stuff that is found in every grocery store in these parts?
    Brian, you are in Massachusetts. The question is where to get it in the UK. Very different environmental regs. Nick bought it in the form of brazing flux, which must come under the exemption for professional, trade or business material. The UK has banned borax for sale to the general public.
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