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Author Topic:   repairing soft hatches
cinco de whaler posted 07-23-2001 09:45 PM ET (US)   Profile for cinco de whaler   Send Email to cinco de whaler  
One of the bow hatches on my 22' Outrage feels soft in the middle. Any suggestions on repairs?
LarrySherman posted 07-23-2001 11:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
Probably got water in there. The panel is made up from a cover piece, and plywood glassed together. Then covered with glass. Here is how I repaired one of mine:

Take the panel off the boat, and cover the working surface with cardboard, taped at the edges to prevent damage while in the shop.

Invert the panel. You will note what seems to be a seam around the edge of the panel. Take a small saw and cut around this seam CAREFULLY (I used a battery powered small circular saw, but a dremil tool is proably safer, if slower.

Lift off the inner panel that you just cut around. Remove all the old wood CAREFULLY. I used a 1' chisel, and took my time. Much of it came up by its own accord.

Now, you are left with a fiberglass shell, which you must rebuild. First, you must clean the inner surface very well, without cutting through it. BE CAREFULL. I used a porter cable palm sander, 100 grit paper, and a variety of hand tools. TAKE YOUR TIME THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP. Make sure that the panel, extending up to the lip is well sanded and fair.

Once done, clean with acetone. Now, measure the panel, while upside down, from the inside edge of the lip you have created by removing the wood. Take several measurements.

Now, create plywood blank to fit into the cavity whose measurements you have taken, but subtract say 1/4 to 3/8 inch all around. If the panel had somewhere between 1/2 to 3/4 inch of ply, cut two identical blanks from 1/4 ply.

Now, you have to assemble the panel. What I did was use west system 105 resin and 206 hardener to wet out the interior of the panel and the edges and face of the first blank. Then I mixed a new batch of 105 and 206, added 407 (I think thatís what I used) filler to get a ketchup consistency, and poured it into the cavity. Then you spread it around with a plastic trowel with teeth. You then lower your wet out blank into the cavity, and apply pressure from the center out. As the epoxy is squeezed from the center, it will ooze out around the edges of the panel, and fill in the gap you left there. I used cinder blocks to apply pressure (rest them on top of clean cardboard, keep the work surface clean).

Now, using your other plastic tool, scrape up the excess epoxy around the edge, leaving it at the same level as the fist layer of ply.

Obviously, we have to laminate the second layer of ply, and cover with fabric. There are two ways of doing this. Once the epoxy begins to set, it will get tacky. Using 206 hardener, it will stay tacky for several hours (typically, your mileage may vary!). I normally wait some time into the tacky period before continuing. Others launch right ahead, but I find that I make mistakes when I rush it all together. The bond between the two layers will not suffer from the wait, and it is easier to the work by waiting (I think).

Mix up anther batch of epoxy, and get the glass fabric that you cut to fit in the panel ( I told you about that, didn't I? You need say 10 pieces). Wet you the ply in the cavity (remove the cinder block and make sure its clean), and lay down a piece of cloth. Smooth it out, squeezing the epoxy to the edge. Now apply the second piece of cloth, and dot the same.

Now, while this is wet, take your other blank, wet it out with your remaining epoxy, working surface and edges. Then mix up another batch and add fairing filler as above. Trowel over the ply with that toothed tool. Now lay this blank face down on top of the glass you just laid in the cavity, and go get the cinder blocks. Work out the excess epoxy from the panel, and smooth to a good fair surface around the edge. Now we wait for this section to get tacky.

What we have doe here is provided a bonding surface between the panel and the last layers of glass. If you had cut the wood to fit exactly into the panel, you would find that the top (or bottom, once installed) layer of glass separated from the panel at the edge over time because of the small bonding surface. Now, this won't be a problem.

Once tacky, apply your last layers of glass. Follow the west system manual for detail not laying it out. Just make sure you don't make the panel too thick, or it will stick up ( you can always sand...) or starve the edge of the panel edge of glass ( thatís why you taped it at the beginning!) Once cured (allow 2-3 days with 206 for FULL cure, use grinder of dremil tool to remove excess glass from edge.

If this is to much, you can always take panel of the boat, carefully drill SMALL holes in it from the bottom, and let it dry in a warm, dry place for a couple of weeks. Once itís really dry, heat it up to about 115 degrees, then shoot epoxy (again 105 and 206) into the holes and let it cure. Then refinish the back of the panel. Heating up the rotted wood before injecting the epoxy will cause a capillary action, drawing the epoxy into the wood. Epoxy looses viscosity has tempeture increases, at least just before it really kicks.

If you have never done this before, I recommend trying on test items first.

Good luck, and remember SMALL HOLES!


dfmcintyre posted 07-24-2001 06:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Larry -

I'm curious, was the rotted wood plywood or baltek?


PS - Instead of building up with layers of fiberglass, could the top of the "lid or panel", so to speak, be used?

LarrySherman posted 07-24-2001 07:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
Don, mine was ply, but that does not speak for the breed. I think there were several design changes after 1981 in the 25 Outrage.

I guess you could use the lid you cut off in the first step, but getting it to bond to the edge of the panel would be difficult. I think it would also look less attractive in the end. I never considered it. I talked to a couple of glass guys in CT, where I live, and the method above is basicillay what they told me, plus stuff from Wests manual. It works, but I can't say I enjoy doing his kind of stuff. I'll farm out the next one. I don't like the chemicals.

PS: I'm pretty sure that I will be doing my trasome this fall. I'm going to document the whole process and send it to Jim if I do it. Thanks for your email.


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