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Author Topic:   bow hole repauir?
david in boston posted 03-26-2000 09:21 PM ET (US)   Profile for david in boston   Send Email to david in boston  
I have a 72 bass boat 16' whaler (like a montauk with bow and stern casting platforms) that I just aquired. it has a hole worn thru to the foam on the bow keel below the waterline from too many years of being left on a beach on a lake in New Hamshire. the hull sounds very solid.(tapped with rubber mallet) and otherwise is in great shape. I brought it to a glass repair shop and the guy said it had moisture in the bottom. (he used a moisture meter) he said it would cost thousands to fix and didnt think it was worth the effort. I wieghed thu hull at my town dump truck scale and found that it was the exact weight it should be for that model and year (950 lbs) I have the catalog from that year. That makes me think that there cant be too much water in the hull and there are no dead spots in the hull with the mallet so I think the fopam has not delaminated from the glass. It has not been in the water for at least 6 years. What do you people think about it? should I get a second opinion? the worn area is 1/2"x18" along the keel. the foam showing is dry as far as I can stick a srewdriver into it. I would like to fix it up and use it for striper fishing around the Cape and Islands. need some advice. David
bigz posted 03-27-2000 09:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
David just about any foam filled hull Whaler or otherwise that is that dated is going to show some moisture no way around it but and that is a big "but" does it make any difference --- my opinion if the hull is sound and no delimitation can be detected using manual techniques, plus as you mentioned the weight is with in spec and most importantly where the hole is you can't detect sponginess in the foam --- I say your "fiberglass" guy is full of beans! Go ahead and do the patch and enjoy.

These "Wagner" moisture meters are designed for wood --- yes the high end non-destructive type can read through fiberglass a whooping 1/8 to 1/4 inch max (it can also pick up any slight moisture present in the surface coating)!

What I am saying these units are fine used by someone who understands their original purpose. This adaptation for fiberglass and materials other than wood is questionable at best (even thought they are promoted for these uses)--

Now there are units costing 1000's of dollars available... believe me you aren't going to see these even in a large local shop or yard, they are designed for industrial and research applications, that would tell you down the molecule how much is present.

The unit I bet your local guy used was a Wagner handheld and it beeped like crazy as he moved over the hull --- did he write down the average reading from each area he tested?
What sensitivity level did he set it and did he maintain that as a constant or did he keep messing with it? Then compute out the mean content level --- my guess he didn't!!

I have seen to many times folks get sucked in by this in the last few years as these "non-destructive" type of "wood" moisture meters became relatively affordable to the average shop and even to marine surveyors, even though these users might be well intentions one has to realize the limitations and not jump to unsupported conclusions until all factors are taken into account.

Sorry for the long dissertation, there are a few other folks on the forum which might differ with my opinion and a few others who are pretty good at fiberglass hopefully they will offer their opinions and advice ---

For my two cents, as I mentioned, go ahead get her fixed up and get ready for a summer of fun up in New England.....

Regards, Thomas

david in boston posted 03-27-2000 10:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for david in boston  Send Email to david in boston     
Thomas thanks for your advice. you are right the guy was using a wagner meter that looked like an electric stud finder. he rubbed it around the bottom and it would beep and he would shake his head and say no good. I am goimg to another glass repair guy tomorow who agreed with you and will fix it for me. His name is Tommy Lee from Winthrop. His work looks good and he has good references. I will cross my fingers. Thanks David
jimh posted 03-28-2000 12:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
From you description of the area (1/2 x 18 inches along the keel at the bow) it sounds to me like any water that was in there would have had opportunity to dry out/drip out in the past six years.

This repair sounds like it could be something you could do yourself. Of course, if your repair shop estimate is reasonable, you might defer to him.

I would think about buying some materials, West System Epoxy for example, at a boat supply and undertaking this myself. You might be able to save quite a bit of money, plus there is the satifaction of doing the repair yourself.

You might also consider using some higher-Tech materials in the keel, like Kevlar, to create a more abrasion-resistant hull.

One of the most surprising things I learned about gelcoat, laminates, and resins is how fast you can remove them with a little sandpaper! After I saw how easily they were abraided, I don't think I'll ever pull my boat up on a beach again!


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