On a budget

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momentum
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On a budget

Post by momentum » Mon Feb 28, 2011 1:35 pm

Help ! Have just acquired a 40 year old Solo that has seen better days.

All seems to be pretty sound and straightforward to put right, with the exception of the decks. Decks have been mostly stripped (by the weather) and are just beginning to feel a little soft. Boat was originally amateur built and unlikely to ever be worth a great deal, so the proposed restoration is on a very small budget.

My queries to those kind enough to view this posting are;
1) Will decks stiffen again when they’ve had opportunity to dry out?
2) Will epoxy or similar and a bit of matting prove an effective cure?
3) If not, has anyone had success taking off original decks and strengthening them underneath, prior to putting back?
4) I’d rather not replace te decks, but if necessary, which ply facing is likely to match and will I have to do all of the decks?

Finishing;
I’m aiming for a low cost, easy to apply, reasonably long lasting finish to the decks. Comments about on the forum about G4 have reduced lately, is this still a route I should consider ?
Apologies about the number of questions – they seemed to increase as I typed.
Mo Mentum

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Ed
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Re: On a budget

Post by Ed » Mon Feb 28, 2011 1:53 pm

My queries to those kind enough to view this posting are;
1) Will decks stiffen again when they’ve had opportunity to dry out?
2) Will epoxy or similar and a bit of matting prove an effective cure?
3) If not, has anyone had success taking off original decks and strengthening them underneath, prior to putting back?
4) I’d rather not replace te decks, but if necessary, which ply facing is likely to match and will I have to do all of the decks?
1) A bit....but not much really

2) Depends - most probably not, but you can get a temporary and partial cure with epoxy/cloth. But in the end re-decking is a much better option - you will end up doing this sooner or later. If you are lucky and good with epoxy, it might last a year or two, but all the structural strength will need to be in the cloth. So it can end up a bit heavy....and expensive...

3) I have not tried, but don't think it would be easy. Certainly harder than re-decking. Possibly worth it if you really want to try and keep the original deck. But to be honest, I wouldn't bother. Much better to just re-deck in a nice classic looking ply and leave it for a couple of years - you won't be able to tell the difference.

4) I would go for it....and personally....whilst you are doing it....do it all. Use Robbins Elite, unless you want a very flash finish. don't know how much you would need or any other specific Solo aspects of the job.

cheers

eib
Ed Bremner
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Michael Brigg
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Re: On a budget

Post by Michael Brigg » Mon Feb 28, 2011 2:33 pm

Hi Momentum, and welcome to the forum.

In my experience, in a boat of this age, if the decks have been "Sun-stripped" and Soaked to the point where they are actually soft, it is very likely they will have suffered frost in these conditions.

My first firefly had a similar problem, for which I tried the drying and sealing principle...I should have known better.

My classic education taught me how Hannibal used principles of Baking and soaking in the sun followed by frost with Ice expansion in granite boulders to split them apart. (How he got his elephants over the alpine pass.) We hear of local councils who may go billions of pounds over budget as potholes (created by the same process) have appeared all over town and crowds of litigious shoppers stub their toes in them while returning from the pub.

Given that the same principles will have been applied to your plywood decks I dont hold up much hope for them, or worse still your hiking pants, but at least you wont have to worry about a litigious crew with buttock splinters.

Rather than spend all that time and money to shore up dull grey or even green decks that have no life left in them (unless you coat them in a heavy mass of glass fibre and epoxy,) you might be pleasantly surprised by how cheaply they can be replaced. And probably compared with all the preparation of the old wood, for less time and money.

Your "Restored" decks will look great until the first hint of moisture, which will be followed by ripples of delamination and ominous dark patches which do nothing (in this case) for the patina of age that they should carry.

If you want thicker decks you are better getting thicker, new ply. If you simply reinforce them they will have no strength as the old lamination will not contribue to the strength, as its glue has very probably failed. Again (in a Firefly) I had double thickness ply on the main weight bearing areas of the Mark1 side decks and this worked very well. Roll tacking was no longer an act of faith.

A partial repair will need just as much (or more) preparation. Bite the bullet and go for the whole deck, or at least the side decks. Otherwise you will always keep wishing you had.
Michael Brigg

chris
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Re: On a budget

Post by chris » Mon Feb 28, 2011 3:04 pm

Can't add much to the above except the old decks would not come off in one piece to be reused if they were glued. You would take so much time and still not want to reuse the broken bits anyway. However it would be worth using them as templates to start the new panels that would save some time.

JimC
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Re: On a budget

Post by JimC » Mon Feb 28, 2011 3:17 pm

An awful lot depends on the state of the rest of the boat. Redecking with new gunwhales (easier to do both!) won't cost an unbelievable amount of money and will give you a far better job and a far greater sense of satisfaction. The cost might well not be that far away from the cost of loads of epoxy and mat and goodness knows what anyway: epoxy is very expensive stuff and you can use an awful lot soaking into decrepit wood.

Alternatively if you're worried that the rest of the boat is a bit marginal then let it all dry out, stuff on a couple of coats of cheap DIY store varnish, go sailing and see how it goes. By the time the decks disintegrate you'll know enough about the state of the rest of the boat to be satisfied as to whether its worth redecking her or just giving the boat an honourable end. Of course if you're like a lot of us here by then you'll have put the boat in a garage somewhere and started on the next project [grin].

Rupert
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Re: On a budget

Post by Rupert » Mon Feb 28, 2011 3:32 pm

Yep, either replace the lot, or dry out, put wood Ronseal wood hardener on the really bad bits and coat with G4 or cheap varnish (I'd do G4 and have it ready in a day) and just go sailing until your bum goes through the decks. Anything between the 2 will be wasted money in even the quite short term.

Remember, almost no boat is worth the time and money put into in in terms of monetary value, but is worth it if working on her and sailing her puts a smile on your face.
Rupert

davidh
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Re: On a budget

Post by davidh » Mon Feb 28, 2011 5:11 pm

Hi.....

It is all too easy to rush into a technical based answer without really getting to the bottom of what it is you want to do. Jim C has said it best so far I think..... it all depends on the rest of the boat. It might help if you start off by asking yourself if the boat has any other 'value' to you - is this something that you want to do as the boat has an additional value to you..... or is the object of the exercise about getting afloat on a budget. THen there is the inevitable 'what next'? will you just use the boat for bimbling about or are you thinking of indulging in more 'organised' sailing?

If you've not already done the exercise maybe now woul dbe a good time to sit down (it's always best to sit down BEFORE doing this) and just making a list of everything you'll need to get afloat. Whatever sum you thought it would cost will bear no relation to what you'll end up spending!!

I've been working on the Merlin today (see 'Pimp my Merlin elsewhere on here) and even with access to trade deals have found the costs going up like a Bankers bonus.

Once you know what you want to end up with, then you can choose from any of the excellent options already detailed here.

D
David H

davidh
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Re: On a budget

Post by davidh » Mon Feb 28, 2011 5:11 pm

Hi.....

It is all too easy to rush into a technical based answer without really getting to the bottom of what it is you want to do. Jim C has said it best so far I think..... it all depends on the rest of the boat. It might help if you start off by asking yourself if the boat has any other 'value' to you - is this something that you want to do as the boat has an additional value to you..... or is the object of the exercise about getting afloat on a budget. THen there is the inevitable 'what next'? will you just use the boat for bimbling about or are you thinking of indulging in more 'organised' sailing?

If you've not already done the exercise maybe now woul dbe a good time to sit down (it's always best to sit down BEFORE doing this) and just making a list of everything you'll need to get afloat. Whatever sum you thought it would cost will bear no relation to what you'll end up spending!!

I've been working on the Merlin today (see 'Pimp my Merlin elsewhere on here) and even with access to trade deals have found the costs going up like a Bankers bonus.

Once you know what you want to end up with, then you can choose from any of the excellent options already detailed here.

D
David H

solentgal
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Re: On a budget

Post by solentgal » Mon Feb 28, 2011 6:11 pm

Hi momentum.....many opinions, but, first of all, welcome, you are amongst passionate folk here, as you can see..........I have the same situation with one or two of my boats, but remember, if you can "make do" for a while, you can always re-deck later......exhaust the possibilities of staying original first, as it costs very little more overall. I have managed to salvage many decks in the past that looked a lost cause........how soft is it really? Is it just grey and damp? My Europa Moth (hull) and Fireball (deck) have dried out FAR better than I expected, and I think they will be salvagable...........always try saving the original first, as it is cheaper and it's surprising what will survive....re-decking can be done anytime as long as you don't get splinters where it hurts in the meantime :), but modern marine ply is not as good as we used to get in the old days (she said reluctantly, showing her age) and I'm a fan of "original".........what sail number/age is your solo?
Sami.

Pat
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Re: On a budget

Post by Pat » Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:05 pm

Give the G4 a try - we used it to keep Half Cut's deck going for another season and that was three years ago and it's still useable. The previous varnish just soaked straight through the wood and dripped out below! Sanded right back and applied two coats of G4 which has sealed it and the finish looks OK too. Haven't even varnished on top.

momentum
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Re: On a budget

Post by momentum » Tue Mar 01, 2011 3:59 pm

Wow – thanks to you all for such quick and considered responses to my queries.

The sensible solution would probably be to coat the decks with flammable liquid and strike a match at arms length.

Due to aesthetics and financial constraints, I remain reluctant to replace the decks so I am intending to follow the bodge it and risk splinters route.
From your comments I plan to;
1) Dry out;
2) Remove previous coatings (the few bits that remain);
3) Try using some Ronseal wood hardener;
4) Consider need for localised strengthening – i.e. using whatever comes to hand - Matting, Ply offcuts etc.
5) Apply protective finishing coats.
6) Go sailing.
7) If above proves unsuccessful, I will strip off fittings, get BBQ food and bottles of cheap wine to go with the big fire.

By the way - Where is the best place to get G4 from?
Not used G4 before and the online prices I’ve found seem to be quite expensive, is it worth going to the additional costs compared to using traditional varnish?

Thanks again, to all of you, for the advice.
Mo Mentum

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Ed
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Re: On a budget

Post by Ed » Tue Mar 01, 2011 4:32 pm

Cheapest G4 I know of is from CFS

http://www.cfsnet.co.uk/cgi-local/ss000 ... PR=-1&TB=A

That has 5Kg at £35.00 which is at least half what it is in a chandlery.

Of course 5Kg may be more than you need, in which case you will have to either buy less....or decant it into smaller bottles.

If you leave it in a half-ful 5Kg can....it will quickly get a rock-hard skin followed by going to glup very quickly.

If you want to avoid the cost of a wood hardener.....you could also invest in some G4 thinners, which is (I understand) the only additional ingredient to their Bondamarine wood hardener.

Some people have had a lot of success with it. Personally my experience has been mixed and on the whole, I would recommend the ronseal wood hardener first, but if you are on a budget, G4 can be a very cheap option.

cheers

eib
Ed Bremner
CVRDA


Jollyboat J3
Firefly F2942
IC GBR314 ex S51 - 1970 Slurp
MR 638 - Please come and take it away
Phelps Scull
Bathurst Whiff - looking for someone to love it

Rupert
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Re: On a budget

Post by Rupert » Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:00 pm

I always get mine from the local garden centre. Shake the can before you buy, though, as if it has been in all winter, it may have gone solid. It should slosh! It does go further than varnish.
Rupert

solentgal
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Re: On a budget

Post by solentgal » Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:37 pm

Any chance of some pics of the Solo?......some before and after pics are always interesting :)
Sami.

Garry R
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Re: On a budget

Post by Garry R » Wed Mar 02, 2011 9:59 pm

Remember that G4 in my experience does not like damp when putting it on. Don't let it dry out before overcoating. It's runny stuff so don't let it form pools especially at the centreboard case/hull joint. It goes into a soft pool and never seems to harden. Thin coats are the rule. When it dries it is VERY hard. It also needs a good sanding to key it to the next coat of traditional varnish.

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