Glassing the hull of a wooden runabout

Glassing the hull of a wooden runabout

Post by WCD » Sat, 13 Dec 2003 05:02:44


I'm considering buying a 19' 50's era custom-built wood runabout. I'm
also considering putting fiberglass onto the hull to get it into the
water sooner and to keep the maintenance down.

Any suggestions? The boat has been out of the water for a few years, so
the wood is pretty dry. The hull is in pretty good shape, so I'm not
covering up a pack of problems. I'm thinking of doing the work myself;
it looks like something I could handle and I have the space in my shop.

Thanks for any advice.

 
 
 

Glassing the hull of a wooden runabout

Post by Backyard Renega » Sat, 13 Dec 2003 11:45:25

Quote:

> I'm considering buying a 19' 50's era custom-built wood runabout. I'm
> also considering putting fiberglass onto the hull to get it into the
> water sooner and to keep the maintenance down.

> Any suggestions? The boat has been out of the water for a few years, so
> the wood is pretty dry. The hull is in pretty good shape, so I'm not
> covering up a pack of problems. I'm thinking of doing the work myself;
> it looks like something I could handle and I have the space in my shop.

> Thanks for any advice.

In short, if the hull is ok as you say, paint it and launch it. If you
put glass on this type of boat you will have much more trouble, and
much sooner. Scotty

 
 
 

Glassing the hull of a wooden runabout

Post by Rufu » Sat, 13 Dec 2003 14:39:16

Allan Vaitses owned a yard and did this type of work (as well as a lot
of other work) for many years. His family is still in the business
AFAIK. He wrote a book about it. Get the book (library) and see what you
think. It's not an easy job, it's not forever.

There are two intrinsic problems as I understand it. 1) The glass will
delaminate from the wood, one way or another. 2) Moisture will get into
the wood from the inside and the wood will stay wet and rot (because the
bottom is sealed).

There are ways to deal with both, but no real solutions. The system
gives an old rotting boat another few years of useful work life, but
it's not a preservation method.

There may be exceptions and success stories, but I have not heard them
documented reliably - I don't know of any boats that have had this done,
say, 10 years ago that I can find out there today. If anybody does, or
knows (first hand) of problem boats, maybe they'd post.

Rufus

 
 
 

Glassing the hull of a wooden runabout

Post by Glenn Ashmor » Sat, 13 Dec 2003 21:02:33

Like Rufus said.  Glass sheathing is just a way to extend the life of an
otherwise unsalvageable wood hull.  It is probably the fastest way to
destroy a decent hull short of actually demolishing it.

Quote:

> I'm considering buying a 19' 50's era custom-built wood runabout. I'm
> also considering putting fiberglass onto the hull to get it into the
> water sooner and to keep the maintenance down.

> Any suggestions? The boat has been out of the water for a few years, so
> the wood is pretty dry. The hull is in pretty good shape, so I'm not
> covering up a pack of problems. I'm thinking of doing the work myself;
> it looks like something I could handle and I have the space in my shop.

> Thanks for any advice.

--
Glenn Ashmore

I'm building a 45' cutter in strip/composite. Watch my progress (or lack
there of) at:  http://www.rutuonline.com
Shameless Commercial Division: http://www.spade-anchor-us.com

 
 
 

Glassing the hull of a wooden runabout

Post by stev » Sun, 04 Jan 2004 17:09:08

Quote:

> There are two intrinsic problems as I understand it. 1) The glass will
> delaminate from the wood, one way or another. 2) Moisture will get into
> the wood from the inside and the wood will stay wet and rot (because the
> bottom is sealed).

I have never had any delamination or wet rot problems as you
described.

I had a homebuilt plywood 26' sailboat covered with glass that was 25
years old when I sold it with absolutely no problems.

I have lived aboard my 1961 40' sailboat for the last 7 years. Strip
planked mahogany glassed over. The glass and wood are both in perfect
condition on this 43 year old boat.

Both of these boats inner hulls were never painted and stay bone dry.
On the occasion where I had a rainwater leak, ect. and got water in
the hulls, after the bilge pump removes the standing water the rest
just evaporates away.

Note that both of these boats were glassed when they were newly built.

 
 
 

Glassing the hull of a wooden runabout

Post by Le Grande Raou » Mon, 05 Jan 2004 01:05:06


Quote:



> > There are two intrinsic problems as I understand it. 1) The glass will
> > delaminate from the wood, one way or another. 2) Moisture will get into
> > the wood from the inside and the wood will stay wet and rot (because the
> > bottom is sealed).

> I have never had any delamination or wet rot problems as you
> described.

This "won't stick" idea comes from the days before epoxy was available
at reasonable prices.  Polyester doesn't stick to bare wood very well.
It does relativly well when the wood is new but pretty bad if the wood
is used.  Once read in a book that if one wants polyester soaked glass
to stay attached to used wood, it needs to be mechanically fastened
(nailed).

Modern epoxy does very much better and an entire new style of
boatbuilding erupted when it became financially feasable.

Jeff

 
 
 

Glassing the hull of a wooden runabout

Post by steve » Mon, 05 Jan 2004 07:22:36

I've seen wood lobster boats that have been polyester
fiberglassed over 15 years ago and still good.
Quote:

> Allan Vaitses owned a yard and did this type of work (as well as a lot
> of other work) for many years. His family is still in the business
> AFAIK. He wrote a book about it. Get the book (library) and see what you
> think. It's not an easy job, it's not forever.

> There are two intrinsic problems as I understand it. 1) The glass will
> delaminate from the wood, one way or another. 2) Moisture will get into
> the wood from the inside and the wood will stay wet and rot (because the
> bottom is sealed).

> There are ways to deal with both, but no real solutions. The system
> gives an old rotting boat another few years of useful work life, but
> it's not a preservation method.

> There may be exceptions and success stories, but I have not heard them
> documented reliably - I don't know of any boats that have had this done,
> say, 10 years ago that I can find out there today. If anybody does, or
> knows (first hand) of problem boats, maybe they'd post.

> Rufus

 
 
 

Glassing the hull of a wooden runabout

Post by steve » Mon, 05 Jan 2004 07:27:29

I visited a boat shop on Grand Manan Island in the Bay of Fundy
two years ago and my observations would lead me to believe that
what you say about polyester not sticking to wood is incorrect.
This shop built and refurbished commercial lobster boats up to about
40 feet in length. At first I had my doubts. The owner, a great old guy
in his 80's, showed me a traditionally planked boat that he had
polyester fiberglassed over about 15 years prior. The boat was made from
white cedar and white oak and much of the trim was maple.
The boat was still in good shape, no rot, except for the maple trim
pieces which were above the waterline.
This boat was fiberglassed only on the outside. The interior was bare
wood with some areas painted. This boat was being heavily used as a
commercial lobster boat. The boat was back in his shop to replace
the outer rubrails and gunnel trim and to put in a polyester patch
that had worn through where they dragged the traps up over the side.
He explained that the trick was to dry out the wood throughly.
This shop had a heated concrete slab floor.
I asked him about epoxy and he said he would not allow it in his shop
because it was toxic.
Being a long time advocate of the wonders of epoxy I was very surprized
to see all of this but it is hard to argue with reality. Especially when
you see it from people who depend on the materials for thier lives.
Perhaps they were successful using polyester on wood because of the cold
water temperatures and salty water. I don't know, except in this case it
worked.

Another Steve
SteveJ

Quote:





>>>There are two intrinsic problems as I understand it. 1) The glass will
>>>delaminate from the wood, one way or another. 2) Moisture will get into
>>>the wood from the inside and the wood will stay wet and rot (because the
>>>bottom is sealed).

>>I have never had any delamination or wet rot problems as you
>>described.

> This "won't stick" idea comes from the days before epoxy was available
> at reasonable prices.  Polyester doesn't stick to bare wood very well.
> It does relativly well when the wood is new but pretty bad if the wood
> is used.  Once read in a book that if one wants polyester soaked glass
> to stay attached to used wood, it needs to be mechanically fastened
> (nailed).

> Modern epoxy does very much better and an entire new style of
> boatbuilding erupted when it became financially feasable.

> Jeff

 
 
 

Glassing the hull of a wooden runabout

Post by Bray Hav » Mon, 05 Jan 2004 07:47:41

I looked at a couple mahog. runabouts last year that had been "fiberglassed" at
the factory in the 50's and were still in great shape.  I epoxy glass my cedar
strip hulls on the outside only. I have had problems with so called
"encapsualtion" but none at all with the outside application.
Greg Sefton
 
 
 

Glassing the hull of a wooden runabout

Post by Brian » Mon, 05 Jan 2004 10:51:11

But Steve ...if you recall that polyester is semi-permeable, then putting it
on one side of good dry wood sounds like it would work, no?  The dry wood
will give it the best bond it can get, and then later when the boat's in use
water that's absorbed in the wood and glass has a way to escape.  If the
structure of the boat doesn't allow too much expansion (as in plywood), then
I don't think the poly bond would suffer too quickly.  Epoxy glass would
tend to collect the water at the epoxy/glass-to-wood interface.  The initial
bond would be better, but I would guess that a one-side epoxy glassing would
be more prone to rot than a one-side polyester glassing.  Epoxy *is* far
better, but you do have to keep it sealed up.  Some of the finest wood boats
available, such as Huckins yachts for example, are epoxy glass on plywood
...and sealed on all sides of all wood.  As far as toxic substances go,
maybe that fellow who made the remark should read a few MSDS's.  I have a
feeling he's going on rumor more than fact on that one.

Brian


Quote:
> I visited a boat shop on Grand Manan Island in the Bay of Fundy
> two years ago and my observations would lead me to believe that
> what you say about polyester not sticking to wood is incorrect.
> This shop built and refurbished commercial lobster boats up to about
> 40 feet in length. At first I had my doubts. The owner, a great old guy
> in his 80's, showed me a traditionally planked boat that he had
> polyester fiberglassed over about 15 years prior. The boat was made from
> white cedar and white oak and much of the trim was maple.
> The boat was still in good shape, no rot, except for the maple trim
> pieces which were above the waterline.
> This boat was fiberglassed only on the outside. The interior was bare
> wood with some areas painted. This boat was being heavily used as a
> commercial lobster boat. The boat was back in his shop to replace
> the outer rubrails and gunnel trim and to put in a polyester patch
> that had worn through where they dragged the traps up over the side.
> He explained that the trick was to dry out the wood throughly.
> This shop had a heated concrete slab floor.
> I asked him about epoxy and he said he would not allow it in his shop
> because it was toxic.
> Being a long time advocate of the wonders of epoxy I was very surprized
> to see all of this but it is hard to argue with reality. Especially when
> you see it from people who depend on the materials for thier lives.
> Perhaps they were successful using polyester on wood because of the cold
> water temperatures and salty water. I don't know, except in this case it
> worked.

> Another Steve
> SteveJ






> >>>There are two intrinsic problems as I understand it. 1) The glass will
> >>>delaminate from the wood, one way or another. 2) Moisture will get into
> >>>the wood from the inside and the wood will stay wet and rot (because
the
> >>>bottom is sealed).

> >>I have never had any delamination or wet rot problems as you
> >>described.

> > This "won't stick" idea comes from the days before epoxy was available
> > at reasonable prices.  Polyester doesn't stick to bare wood very well.
> > It does relativly well when the wood is new but pretty bad if the wood
> > is used.  Once read in a book that if one wants polyester soaked glass
> > to stay attached to used wood, it needs to be mechanically fastened
> > (nailed).

> > Modern epoxy does very much better and an entire new style of
> > boatbuilding erupted when it became financially feasable.

> > Jeff

 
 
 

Glassing the hull of a wooden runabout

Post by Brian » Mon, 05 Jan 2004 10:56:26

<Mantra>  The epoxy encapsulation must be done right, and then maintained
that way</Mantra>.  I would wonder if those canoes that had problems (please
describe them for us) were probably beached enough to cause miniscule leaks
in the canoes.  Due to the rough rocks around here, mostly lava sponge, I
don't think I'll ever get to build a *** than I can utilize much ...the
best lakes we have are in lava country (high Cascades, in Oregon).

As far as the one-side epoxy experience goes, it makes me wonder if some
woods do conduct moisture away from the epoxy/wood interface while other
woods do not, e.g. some woods are less rot resistant when only partially
coated with epoxy.  Someone should do a study.  It's very interesting
though.  The encapsulated canoes were probably trapping water in the wood
while the one-side ones were allowing it to be conducted out?  Have you any
comments or guesses on this?

Brian

--
My boat project: http://SportToday.org/


Quote:
> I looked at a couple mahog. runabouts last year that had been
"fiberglassed" at
> the factory in the 50's and were still in great shape.  I epoxy glass my
cedar
> strip hulls on the outside only. I have had problems with so called
> "encapsualtion" but none at all with the outside application.
> Greg Sefton

 
 
 

Glassing the hull of a wooden runabout

Post by Brian Whatcot » Mon, 05 Jan 2004 11:02:20

On Sun, 04 Jan 2004 01:51:11 GMT, "Brian D"

Quote:

>////  As far as toxic substances go,
>maybe that fellow who made the remark should read a few MSDS's.  I have a
>feeling he's going on rumor more than fact on that one.

>Brian

Sadly, many people have developed extreme sensitivity to epoxy resins
after less than proplonged exposure while building projects.
They have to swear off the stuff, thereafter,

Brian W

 
 
 

Glassing the hull of a wooden runabout

Post by matt coli » Mon, 05 Jan 2004 11:31:01

Wow -

There is a lot going on here.

If you read all the MSDS (I have had to do so),  Epoxy is less toxic
than polyester, and as it does not outgas in curing (notice - no new
epoxy smell?).  The exposure sensitivity can and does happen with almost
anything.

I have seem a number of hulls that were glassed after some service time.
  bond failures are common.

If you use a thin polyester resin on new-clean wood, you have a chance.
  The builders that went that way also did not caulk the seams.  I know
of few that a few working boats and a couple of Tahoe Chriscraft that
are still in great shape.  But, there is a secondary problem with
replacing a broken strake or frame.

When you consider that the life of a typical wood hull was twenty years,
you begin to realize that a lot has change in th life of people in my world.

Matt Colie - Lifelong Waterman, Licensed Mariner and Pathological Sailor
www.southpointechandler.com

Quote:

> On Sun, 04 Jan 2004 01:51:11 GMT, "Brian D"

>>////  As far as toxic substances go,
>>maybe that fellow who made the remark should read a few MSDS's.  I have a
>>feeling he's going on rumor more than fact on that one.

>>Brian

> Sadly, many people have developed extreme sensitivity to epoxy resins
> after less than proplonged exposure while building projects.
> They have to swear off the stuff, thereafter,

> Brian W

 
 
 

Glassing the hull of a wooden runabout

Post by steve » Mon, 05 Jan 2004 22:17:21

Another thought is that you did not say how the boat was planked.
"custom-built wood runabout" could mean a variety of things.
Is the boat of lapstrake construction? If it is and the wood is is good
shape, why fiberglass? Covering the lap ridges with glass would be
difficult.

I have seen some old mahogany runabouts that had a double layer of thin
planking with canvas in between.
The canvas rots and the boat leaks. Probably better to fiberglass
over the outer hull in this case.

Some are batten seam construction. The planks do not shrink apart very
much with this type and if in good shape....why fiberglass?

If you have a regular carvel planked hull, with caulked seams, then
you will periodically need to recaulk but you won't have to do this
every year. A coat of maintenance varnish every year and some bottom
paint touch up might go a long way.
I think some people who have boats like this tend to trailer them
and not use them very much and then wonder why they leak when they put
them in the water. This type of boat benefits from being kept in the
water and not being allowed to really dry out when hauled in the winter.

One final thought. Once you commit to fiberglassing the boat, whether
you use epoxy or polyester, you make it much more difficult to replace
a plank that becomes damaged or rotten. The nice thing about a carvel
planked boat is you can take it apart (in theory) and replace damaged
pieces and keep the boat going a long long time.

If your primary concern is ease of maintenance, buy a plastic boat.
But then that wouldn't be any fun at all, would it?

Quote:

> I'm considering buying a 19' 50's era custom-built wood runabout. I'm
> also considering putting fiberglass onto the hull to get it into the
> water sooner and to keep the maintenance down.

> Any suggestions? The boat has been out of the water for a few years, so
> the wood is pretty dry. The hull is in pretty good shape, so I'm not
> covering up a pack of problems. I'm thinking of doing the work myself;
> it looks like something I could handle and I have the space in my shop.

> Thanks for any advice.

 
 
 

Glassing the hull of a wooden runabout

Post by Brian » Tue, 06 Jan 2004 00:34:00

Steve,

  What's "batten seam" construction?

Thanks,
Brian

--
My boat project: http://www.advantagecomposites.com/tongass


Quote:
> Another thought is that you did not say how the boat was planked.
> "custom-built wood runabout" could mean a variety of things.
> Is the boat of lapstrake construction? If it is and the wood is is good
> shape, why fiberglass? Covering the lap ridges with glass would be
> difficult.

> I have seen some old mahogany runabouts that had a double layer of thin
> planking with canvas in between.
> The canvas rots and the boat leaks. Probably better to fiberglass
> over the outer hull in this case.

> Some are batten seam construction. The planks do not shrink apart very
> much with this type and if in good shape....why fiberglass?

> If you have a regular carvel planked hull, with caulked seams, then
> you will periodically need to recaulk but you won't have to do this
> every year. A coat of maintenance varnish every year and some bottom
> paint touch up might go a long way.
> I think some people who have boats like this tend to trailer them
> and not use them very much and then wonder why they leak when they put
> them in the water. This type of boat benefits from being kept in the
> water and not being allowed to really dry out when hauled in the winter.

> One final thought. Once you commit to fiberglassing the boat, whether
> you use epoxy or polyester, you make it much more difficult to replace
> a plank that becomes damaged or rotten. The nice thing about a carvel
> planked boat is you can take it apart (in theory) and replace damaged
> pieces and keep the boat going a long long time.

> If your primary concern is ease of maintenance, buy a plastic boat.
> But then that wouldn't be any fun at all, would it?


> > I'm considering buying a 19' 50's era custom-built wood runabout. I'm
> > also considering putting fiberglass onto the hull to get it into the
> > water sooner and to keep the maintenance down.

> > Any suggestions? The boat has been out of the water for a few years, so
> > the wood is pretty dry. The hull is in pretty good shape, so I'm not
> > covering up a pack of problems. I'm thinking of doing the work myself;
> > it looks like something I could handle and I have the space in my shop.

> > Thanks for any advice.