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Author Topic:   Wet /Soft Spot & Hole in Keel
Kurt Lysen posted 08-16-2002 06:17 AM ET (US)   Profile for Kurt Lysen   Send Email to Kurt Lysen  
I am currently restoring a 16'7" 1966 Whaler and it is upside down on my lawn getting the old bottom paint sanded off. I have found about a 5" diameter soft/wet spot from a crack on her bottom and a hole down to the foam in the keel. Questions: 1: Do I take the glass off the entire wet spot and dry it and patch the spot or do I want to retain the original finish? Like sucking it dry as best as possible and then injecting resin in to attempt bonding the skin to the foam? #2: Do I need to put a barrier coat between the foam and any new fiberglassing work? Does hot resin melt or break down the foam? I am excited to finally have a 16'7" and will be looking for some rail hardware, lifting rings, rubrail, etc. to replace on her. Anyone know of a good one-stop shopping spot for these kind of items? Thanks so much for the help! Kurt
newt posted 08-16-2002 07:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for newt  Send Email to newt     
Kurt, there are many more knowledgable people on this forum than I, but here's my guess as to the experts answers.

1. Search through past threads to find some answers. The topic of hull repair and wet foam has been covered in great detail here. To search, go to the upper right hand corner and click on show topics from the last year of so. Then hit control F and do a word search for "foam", "hull repair", etc. You will find a virtual encyclopedia of information.

2. I think the short answer is drill a series of small holes through the fiberglass in the area that is soft. Try to get out as much water as you can with a shop vac, vacuum pump, etc. (there is a lot of discussion on this, and the best methods to use, and if you can actually get the foam dry. When the foam is as dry as you can get it, inject epoxy (West system is a perenial favorite) into each hole to bond the foam to the hull. Then finish the patch by either topping off the holes with an epoxy/fairing compound mixture or gelcoat patch from Spectrum, or a tinted gel coat. If you dont finish with gel coat, you should barrier coat the area or paint to keep moisture out.

Hope this helps.

AC posted 08-16-2002 10:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for AC  Send Email to AC     
I've learned in the last month that West System epoxies are safe to use on Whaler foam because they don't have STYRENES in them. Styrene will, supposedly, eat or deteriorate the foam. Polyester resins usually contain styrene. During boat construction, Whaler foam is injected AFTER the polyester resin has cured. But when you are making a repair near this foam, you will be applying uncured resin to foam.
There is a discussion of this topic on Continuous Wave radio in an interview Jim Hebert had with Jim Watson of West Sytem.
Tom W Clark posted 08-17-2002 01:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Neither polyester resin nor epoxy resin will melt the polyurethane foam in Whalers. Polyester resin will melt Styrofoam whereas Epoxy resin will not. This is neither here nor there as Whalers are not built of Styrofoam.

The polyurethane foam in Whalers is poured into the hull before the polyester resin is cured. This is why Whaler hulls are so strong. The still wet skins and the foam form into one a one piece hull hence the term "Unibond".

You do not need to, nor should you, put a barrier between the foam and any new fiberglass work. This would make the repair less strong.

AC posted 08-17-2002 01:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for AC  Send Email to AC     
Man, do I feel like an dumba--!

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