Starting at the BEGINNING

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by Whitecap, Jun 7, 2016.

  1. Whitecap

    Whitecap Member

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    Beldar,

    Thanks a lot. Ill be getting some soft scrub soon, and put it to good use. Thanks for your suggestions.

    As for the "H idea", I spent a bit this morning, looking for info on this technique. I couldnt find any. Im curious about it.

    Im thinking some foam block management is in my near future. I can hear the gentle "thud" of one of the aft blocks rolling loosly inside the hull, as I flip the boat over in the back yard. I'll certainly be asking for guidance from you guys if this project manifests itself.

    Thanks again for all the help so far,
    Whitecap
     
  2. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    Well, it's both: I jammed a narrow ~14" piece of ¼-inch plywood between the blocks, and it worked until I hit a giant wake. The ends pierced the Styrofoam, so I've been living with that "oil-canning" sound for several years. :confused:

    Until I lost my password, I wrote as member Porpoise II, and described "oil-canning" here: restoring an old one | Page 2 | SailingForums.com

    I'd rather be sailing, but now that the keel needs attention from winter storm-damage, the epoxy has to come out. I might give it a try, as suggested above. I expect to make a substitute "spring" out of fiberglass, as I just found a treasure-trove of 4-inch fiberglass tape :), and don't have any ¼-inch marine plywood. :oops:

    A two-inch wide fiberglass "spring" should do the job, with ends reinforced by wood blocks bonded to the ends. Planning ahead, I'll tape a piece of plastic grocery bag on the hull near the keel repair, and spread slow-set epoxy on both items. :)
     
  3. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    Now that I've sanded the keel (through!) :eek: to repair the storm damage, I can see about a ¼-inch space between the hull and the (one) Styrofoam block. That block isn't making any "thud" sounds, but I expect to slide a long strip of "pre-preg" 2-inch fiberglass tape under the keel to make up for the "lost" space. It'll be bonded to the rest of the (pretty :( extensive) keel repair.

    'Pictures as soon as we get a day without rain here!
     
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  4. Whitecap

    Whitecap Member

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    L&VWs,

    Looking forward to those pics and any wisdom you have for us from that project.

    Im excited, - I leave for a 4-day work trip tomorrow (not excited), but those inspection ports will be waiting for me when I get home (excited).

    Looking forward to getting some air into her to start the drying process. Looking forward to getting some light into her to determine her condition.

    Thanks to all for helping me along the way,
    Whitecap
     
  5. signal charlie

    signal charlie Active Member Staff Member

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    Anyone else care drop some experience on theses information requests?

    1) What width works best for a sling set up frame? Any thoughts?

    Any width. The sling only has to support the weight, and most are rated to 2000 pounds or more.

    2) Also, anyone have advice on how best to clean the surface of the sunfish, in general. Power washer? Bleach solution? Some have recommended a paste, or gel-like solution from West Marine that is supposed to clean the boat very well with no effort. Anyone got any recommendations out there?

    Haul it to the car wash or pressure wash it to get the big chunks off. Then use water with 5% bleach, or buy iron Out Rust Remover spray from Lowes and try that on an area. Don't use the Iron Out and bleach together, or bleach and Scrubbing Bubbles, as acids/ammonias mixed with bleach are very toxic. One other approach is to sand off the oxidized gelcoat with a random orbital sander and 220 grit. If you are talented with the sander you can go as low as 60 grit to get the crunchy layer off and then work back to 120 then 220. Then finish with 3M Fiberglass Restorer/Wax or switch to wet sanding with 1200/1600/2000 grit. Here is a link to some work we did on a Vanguard boat with gelcoat finish issues: Small Boat Restoration: 2003 Vanguard Sunfish Repair

    3) Where is a good place to look for those sling belts. What are they? Thoughts?

    Buy a bigger tie down strap at Lowes/HD and cut off the ratchets/hooks. That said, I have restored 25+ boats and never used straps, as I need a sturdier work surface for sanding. I used sawhorses with cushioning material (towels, fire hose, pool noodles, carpet remnants) and I built a dolly like the Laser Performance people used. If you notice the arms move so they support either the flat deck or angled hull. But that is a lot of work for one boat. Go to Lowes and buy 2 of their premade Burro sawhorses for $20 each, or buy sawhorse brackets for $5 each and make your own with some 2x4s. I'd not use the noarrow stance plastic sawhorses again. Last option is to make some carpenter's benches out of 2x8s and make them whatever height you want. They are very stout and what you would see wandering around a boatyard or boat museum. Repurpose them to benches or plant stands later.

    http://smallboatrestoration.blogspot.com/2014/01/carpenters-trestle.html

    Good Luck!
    Kent
     

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  6. Whitecap

    Whitecap Member

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    Just got home from my work trip and was delighted to see your post, Charlie. Thank you, sir!

    My inspection ports showed up at the house while I was away. I will head to Lowes tomorrow morning, buy two of the Burro, pre-made sawhorses, then swing by dollar tree (thanks to L&VW's suggestion) for the pool noodles. I should have it all set up by late morning. Ill have an old Marine Corps buddy of mine show up and he'll help me get this heavy pig out of the back yard, into my garage, and onto the saw horses. Hopefully, by early evening I'll have both inspection ports cut (not installed, just yet) in order to ascertain the condition of the hull and blocks, and start the drying process.

    If I plan on eventually sanding, faring, priming, and painting with epoxy products, it makes sense to buy a full resparator now, right? I want to protect my lungs and eyes when working with any type of fiberglass or epoxy fumes, right? (I know - common sense here, but what kind of protection do you guys use?) Any thoughts on clothing and protection required for this restoration project that lies ahead?

    Thanks again to all of you. Im learning a lot.

    Thanks again Charlie for taking time for such a detailed post.

    Grateful,
    Whitecap
     
  7. signal charlie

    signal charlie Active Member Staff Member

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    Those sawhorses are pretty good, but make sure you look them over as I have seen a few that could use a few extra fasteners.

    Keep that Marine Corps buddy handy, they are good to lift things. If you have to move it yourself you can usually lower one end first, then grab the other end. Roll it over and reverse the process.

    Read the Tech data for your paint. If your area is well ventilated and you roll/brush one part epoxy or oil based then a chemical mask will probably be enough like a 3M N97 mask. The N95 work for sanding and I believe fiberglass. Lowes and HD have them. The type with the interchangeable cartridges fits better than the paper masks. 3M does sell a full face mask which looks nice, your local paint store might have them. As for clothing hit the thrift store and get some cheap long sleeve shirts, they'll protect you arms from the fiberglass and keep most of the dust off of you, think of it as your lab coat.

    The inspection port tips are to NOT install it until you are through working in the hole, and tape the raw edge to reduce fiberglass splinters.

    I am glad you are restoring the boat. We lived in Keller and know that there are not a lot of Sunfish around there to pick from, as we took them all to Florida :)

    ps see if your lowes sells Rustoleum Topside Marine paint, an alkyd enamel (oil), I have used it and like it, an alternative to pettit or interlux polyurethanes.

    Semper Fi
    kb
     
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  8. Whitecap

    Whitecap Member

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    Dang Charlie! Keller?

    Well if you are ever back in town, we will have to fix you up a few slabs of ribs, some cold beers, and get you out on the lake. You are right - Marines are good, indeed, to have around - Ill have a few around if you come sailing on our lake. I think I read that the Texas Sunfish racing circuit makes its way to Lake Worth. Here is the link: https://txsunfishracing.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/texas-circuit-calendar-2016-1.pdf
    Hopefully, I can be on the water with them some day, next year, when they all come back. Seems like it would be a lot of fun.


    1) I'll scrutinize those sawhorses well. Thanks for the heads up.
    2) Ill ask around at Lowes/HD about the N95 mask and fiberglass sanding. Sanding is in my future for certain - I want to make only one mask purchase if I can. (But bottom line - I need that protection.)
    3) Fantastic tip about taping up the edges of the inspection port to reduce the rough fiberglass splinters. And no, I wont install the ports untill all the work is completed. (Im sure I will need access into the hull many times during this rehab).
    4) I keep reading fantastic reviews from customers on other sites about the Interlux PERFECTION (top side) and Interlux VC performance (bottom). Both are two-part epoxy, right? Are they worth the effort and price? I understand they have an incredible finished product that is very, very durable (but a pain in the butt to apply). Many on this site use the Rustoleum top side and recommend it over the others. Why is that?

    Thanks for the education, everyone!

    Semper fi, Charlie,

    Whitecap
     
  9. signal charlie

    signal charlie Active Member Staff Member

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    For the mask a N97 should cover your needs. Check out the 3M site and just order a few on Amazon, they'll be there in a few days.

    I'd highly suggest that you clean and sand your boat first, you might be very pleased with the original gelcoat and only need to paint a stripe. You might get away with spot painting any repair areas.

    As for the one part epoxies or enamels vs 2 part, you mentioned the high points. Price is the other consideration, $15 for a quart of Rustoleum vs $40++ for the epoxies. The question is do you want a show boat or a nice, clean "beach banger" (Glos, 2014). They say 90% of the work comes during the last 10% of a project. I'd go for the 90% solution first with rustoleum or an epoxy, and if you get bored with sailing and want to do extensive prep for boat restoration, go for the 2 part paint. That said, if you are your buddy are set up to spray the 2 part stuff, awesome. I've never used it but maybe some folks here have more info on it, like ca you (or would you want to) "roll and tip" 2 part?

    And back to the internal foam blocks, whatever you do they need to be attached to the deck and hull, they are part of the structure, not just flotation. And Great Stuff takes on water, so I avoid that and use Fibreglast 2 part foam, the 2lb/cuft mix that is suitable for the marine environment.

    k
     
  10. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    After two days of clear, but gusting, weather, I've used up all the epoxy mix in the $30 "West System 105K Fiberglass" kit I bought. So far, the 1½ square-foot repair is inadequate in size, but completely covered. Although the eight packets of epoxy is gone, the kit has left me with two different "filling powders" to add (406 and 410), mixing cups, gloves, plastic stir-stick and a fairly large sheet of fiberglass cloth. The small, but sturdy ⅜-inch "flux brushes" that come with the kit work better than the "throw-away" brushes I usually use. Stab at the bubbles with this stiff-bristled brush, and they go away. :) How much more of my cloth and tape supply needs adding will be determined over the next few days. Pictures to follow. Y'know that pictures hosted at Photobucket.com never expire? :cool:

    Noting the limited supply of epoxy, I used a sturdy piece of handy plastic to support the "lost space" at the rear Styrofoam block. A foot-long plastic paint-stir stick would have been a better filler-piece. Wood placed in the keel area would have been a source of water absorption and weight.

    The fiberglass "spring" being prepared adjacent to the keel repair helped to use up the epoxy, so I've bought a pint more, with "slow" hardener, at my local hardware store. One gallon of West System epoxy, which was priced at $50 at the same store a few years ago is now priced at $99. :eek: Alternative epoxy brands were on the same shelf, with heavy biaxial cloth (which uses less epoxy) priced at $99. :rolleyes:

    West System instructions, which I decided to read while the epoxy was curing, ;) advise to wait 24 hours before stressing the repair, so buying the slow-setting epoxy seems like the right choice. :)
     
  11. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    This West System product mixes the epoxy automatically:

    P3030035.JPG
     
  12. Whitecap

    Whitecap Member

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    Here is my first report in my restoration: INSPECTION PORTS

    After using the search function on our website and typing in "inspection ports", I found and digested a TON of great information from a lot of knowledgable people - thank you! Here are the links that I found to be most useful:

    Sunfish inspection port drying fan | SailingForums.com(This one showed me the picture of a computer fan for drying out the boat)

    http://www.sunfishresto.yolasite.com/resources/AMF Guide for Inspection Port Installation.pdf(This one is an old letter from AMF back in the day. On page two, it has a drawing of exactly where the foam blocks are and where are the best locations to put your inspection ports).

    Inspection port placement old rudder style | SailingForums.com(This one because they specifically speak of the aft port installation when dealing with an old style rudder - very helpful).

    Aft Inspection Port | SailingForums.com(This one because of some pictures that SuperCub posted. Extremely helpful to me).
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    So, with this information, I set forth to cut some holes in my boat, inspect the shape of the foam blocks, drain any standing water, and prepare for the leak test. The goal for me was to place one port aft, and one behind the splash guard. The instillation behind the splashguard was literally a five minute project. As the diagram above shows, there are normally no foam blocks or obstructions to worry about. Using a roto-zip, I cut the splashguard perfectly in a few minutes. I wont spend much time talking about the splashguard port because it was so simple. Using the above diagram and pics, I then set forward to installing the aft. As my research from the forum reveal, if I place the aft inspection port too far forward, I can run into the aft foam block in the center of the boat, which extends aft of the cockpit to about even with the leading edge of the traveler blocks (the thingies that hold the traveler to the boat. Sorry I haven't learned all the vernacular yet - but I will). If I move it aft too far aft, toward the stern of the boat, I will hit the backing block used to secure the top metal plate of the rudder to the boat. Since peaces of my ole rudder set up are missing, I have decided to do a rudder conversion. No that this decision has been made, there is no need for that backing block to be there (as far as I can tell from all my study). So I proceeded to start cutting. Using a five-inch inspection port, I measured five inches from the aft of the boat. As you can see using the diagram above and that great pic from SuperCub, I should be clear of the foam block, but will end up hitting the tip of the backing block as it is fastened in place to the deck of the boat.
    1) first I removed the top plate of the rudder assembly (the top metal plate attached to the boat. It left a big rust stain on the boat which is visible in this picture.


    2) then I took the inner part of the inspection port, turned it upside down, as my research has taught me, and traced a perfect circle, with the aft edge of the circle at the five inch mark.
    3) then I grabbed my drill, using a 3/8 bit, i drilled a hole in THE SIDE OF THE CIRCLE (not the center - because the forum shows that the fiberglass you cut out can be used for future repairs on your boat. Save this peace). Notice that horizontal line at rhe top of the pic, that represents where I think the aft end of the foam block is. Guessing from the AMF drawing.[​IMG]
    4) next, I grabbed my roto-zip and effortlessly started cutting. It was going great until I hit the backing block. I ended up snapping both multi-purpose bits quickly. For me, trying always to let the tool do the work, a ror-zip is great for detailed work but nkt for heavy cutting. I shifted to my jig saw from here on out. The jig saw, seemed to leave very small chips as I move forward initially. Slowing the movement allowed the jig saw to easily cut the fiberglass without chipping. The jig saw also cut through the 48 year old backing block without any trouble.
    [​IMG]
    From the above pic, you can see the backing block on the left. The curved end of it is where I ended up cutting it. This tells me that SuperCub's pics are about right. The backing block extends about 8-10 inches from the aft of the boat (in my boat at least). Also notice the foam that is stuck to the inspection port. As mentioned on the forum, it is not part,of the foam block. It is yellow in color, and is the expanding foam that is used to hold the foam blocks in place. Speaking of foam block, I ended up being about two inches aft of the foam block luckily. I learned in my readings that all these blocks and things in the hull, are not always EXACTLY where they are supposed to be. That foam block, as I gather from AFM's drawing above, is about five inches, or so, farther aft than I expected!

    Now for the fun stuff! As soon as the aft inspection port dropped into the boat, I could feel the moisture and heat pouring from the boat. Ot was 95 degrees in the hot Texas sun, and the boat had been sitting in my back yard incubating there. After draining the boat on its side a few days prior, I thought the boat was free of water. Boy was I wrong! Now I know why we make inspection ports!
    [​IMG]
    Yes, that is all water and fiberglass dust, covering the bottom of the hull! Whats funny, as I turned the boat before cutting, After I drained it, I couldn't hear any standing water any more! Wrong again!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]




    If you look closely, you can see that half of my hand is underwater. That water was nasty - old, orange-ish, foul smelling, filled with fiberglass dust - nasty stuff! It took me 35 minutes, with two old cotton t-shirts to sponge out that hull.

    [​IMG]
    5) after removing all the standing water, I just wanted to get some air through it. So using the advice from Light&Variable Winds (and his my2fish blog), I set forth putting a computer fan on the deck of the boat. Hopefully this will pump air from the aft through the hull, and out the forward inspection port. I bought a ten-dollar computer fan at best buy and then grabbed youtube.com. I found this:

    (This allowed me to wire my fan to an old cell phone charger. This allowed me just to bug it into al wall). Very easy to do. A bit scary for me, but looking back, very, very simple. And effective!
    Here is the finished product.
    [​IMG]

    I scotch taped the black trash bag around the fan in order to use the sun to heat the boat up more, hastening the drying process (according to our members expertise).

    More to follow!

    Happy Father's day to you all!

    Warm regards,
    Whitecap.

    Sent from my iPad
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016
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  13. fhhuber

    fhhuber Member

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    Now... 2 weeks of running the fan, then weigh the boat and see how close it is to drying out.
     
  14. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    The soaked foam is like a sponge. :( Not sure of my theory here :oops: but most of the ample foam that is holding the Styrofoam in place (and holding the majority of the water) is at the bottom of the hull. Seems like inverting the hull would have gravity assist in pulling the (liquid) water down and out. The fan should still be running, of course, but liquid water would be dripping out for days.

    With the ports inverted, no accidental rain water would be added, electrical connections would be sheltered by the hull, and the Sunfish could be left unattended for days. :)
     
  15. fhhuber

    fhhuber Member

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    Or... I think I saw yours has the drain plug at the side of the upper deck
    If correct open that and put the hull on its side with the open plug down. Then drip-out would be at the plug and not at the fan as it might be if the hull is inverted.
     
  16. Whitecap

    Whitecap Member

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    My father is visiting is this weekend. He suggested standing the boat up vertically, with the bow leaning against the wall in the garage. He had the exact thoughts of "gravity assist" as you guys above - making gravity pull the water away from the blocks, pooling it near the stern for easy inspection port sponging. Can this boat take that kind of weight focused on its stern? I like the idea of inverting the boat, and propping it up on its side, so either port or starboard drain plug does it's job. Will the inspection port be as effective if we do this? My thoughts would be all that warm, moist air rises to the top deck of the boat and out of the inspection ports. If the boat is inverted, the warm air travels away from the inspection port openings. In all my readings, I did not read any themes on inverting the boat. Not saying its wrong at all, just looking for more vision and wisdom on this technique.

    1) will standing this boat on its stern vertically help the drying process?
    2) can the boat take this position structurally?
    3) will inverting the boat help the drying process? Will it render the inspection ports less effective in removing that hot moist air?

    Thanks to all for contributing to the conversation,
    Whitecap

    PS - L&VWs, you are right (in my boat at least) 80% of the expanding foam holding my foam blocks in place are located on the bottom of the hull. Very little foam is on the top. Maybe you are on to something here! Thoughts?
     
  17. fhhuber

    fhhuber Member

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    Standing it on the stern should be no problem.. put something down to pad it so you don't point load a corner. Like... set it on a pair of the seat cushion tossable life preservers, a discarded couch/chair cushion or even a cheap foam pillow.

    Main thing is let the water out as fast as possible. Probably that is setting the boat so the drain plug or one of the inspection holes is the lowest point. Let it drip.
     
  18. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    The hull is plenty strong but, as above, rest the transom on some lumber, and secure the boat against wind gusts. :confused: As long as the hull can get as much "full sun" as possible, it will be gaining the maximum "solar gain" directly against most of the wet foam. (Well, indirectly :oops: but you know what I mean).

    I think your Dad :cool: is right! :)
     
  19. tag

    tag my2fish

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    (while I don't mean to take anything away from LV&W as he has provided plenty of advice here on the forum, but I am the blogger at my2fish.)

    the hull drying process - if the foam is truly saturated - will likely take longer than a couple weeks. airflow is most important for drawing that water back out of the foam, so I'd plan to just keep that fan running as much as possible, and the black bags to attract sun will help as well.
     
  20. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    The photo below shows the area being repaired. The damage seemed to go on and on! :( Even as I sanded, the bottom layer, which I'd intended to leave intact, just fell away, leaving a large hole.

    The blue border is paint, so I cut the fiberglass cloth to cover that thin margin. Sanding down to this blue layer would make "final sanding" down to the gelcoat easier.

    [​IMG]
    Bending a piece of ½" copper tubing over my other Sunfish hull, I approximated the curvature of the area. Building-up layers of fiberglass was needed to meet that curvature. With "slow" epoxy hardener, I could take my time, and use up fewer brushes. The "spring" turned out well, but it's 'way too strong. I'll have to cut it in half lengthwise. Later, I thought, "Why not simply use a batten from an old Tornado sail?" :confused: I'm still puzzling over what to bond to the ends, and perhaps bond to the Styrofoam blocks. There's a piece of Trex around here somewhere. :confused:

    [​IMG]
    The "grocery bag trick" released in a previous epoxy repair, but stuck firmly to the new fiberglass "spring". :rolleyes:
     

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