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Getting Ready to Refinish the Daggerboard, Tiller and Rudderblade - Tips?

I know this topic has been done to death, however I often find a certain level of detail missing. I've sanded the wooden bits with 80/120/220 and I've got the epoxy and varnish. I've got some sponge brushes and a mixing cup for the epoxy. The details I'm looking for are -

1. How should I apply the epoxy? One side at a time until I have enough coats, then flip and do an equal number of coats on the other side and try to seam it together? Alternate sides between coats?
2. There's a bit of a crack a the rear of the rudder. What's the best way to repair the crack? Is seeping some epoxy into it enough or do I need to drill a screw into it to give it a little more reinforcement?
3. Assuming I want to sand between coats of epoxy and varnish. Planning on using 220 for that but let me know if that's incorrect.
4. What's the best way to clean out my mixing cup when I'm done? Just wipe it out with a rag? Just worried about the epoxy hardening in the cup if I just leave it in there.

Any other tips would be greatly appreciated. I've got some wood refinishing experience, but I've never worked with epoxy before so I have no clue what I'm doing and I want to get it right the first time.
 

po-man sailor

Active Member
I'm confused. Are you using epoxy? And varnish? For coating the entire surfaces.

I just did mine and I sanded to 120, used minwax prep coat. Imediately followed by "English chestnut" stain on my newly built oak tiller and light colored rudder. It perfectly matched the mahogany dagger. Let dry one day then coated with 50 50 rustolium spar varnish gloss and thinner. 1 coat per day with harbor freight sponge brushes, with the grain full long single strokes from top to bottom. I attached a wire to the top of all pieces and coated each time and hung them to dry in the sun.. it also helped the varnish flow any sponge marks.. I did not sand between im at 6 coats (6 days) they all match perfect color, no blotchyness or color changes thanks to the minwax prep coat. they all look great. No complaints. Looks like a piece of fine furniture.
On a small rudder split at the pivot point I pre-drilled the edge straight in and screwed in a good screw beyond level depth and cut a wood plug to glue in behind it.
 

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signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Follow the directions on the epoxy system you are using. Usually you can reapply epoxy within 24 hours and within sanding as long as it is still soft (fingernail test), but if you let it sit longer until it hardens you need to scuff it.

You can hang the parts from a wire and do both sides. An epoxy system roller works best to apply thin coat, epoxy that is brushed on might be too thick and it will run. Get the right roller cover or it will melt.

Force thickened epoxy or JB WoodWeld or waterproof glue (Titebond III) into the crack and dowel or screw through the crack. Light pressure is good for thickened epoxy while it dries, glue requires tight clamping.

If you use Special Clear hardener then there is no need for varnish, just don't leave the blades out in the sun year round.

We have a bunch of extra cups and toss them, or you can use a plastic drinking cup and toss that.

This is 2 coats of West System 105 epoxy resin with 207 Special Clear Hardener applied to the deck and transom. No varnish as ZIP is stored indoors or under cover. CHeck out the reflection of the rudder pin keeper chain.

Zip stern.jpg

Don't overthink it and remember, the fish don't care what the blades look like.

ZIP Sea Trials.jpeg
 
Ok, I think I got it. Unfortunately the epoxy (west system 105 and 207 Gardner) doesn’t come with much in the way of instructions. I’m not even entirely sure how to get in through the cap as it fails to mention even that.

Anyway, is this what you mean by screwing through the crack? Does it matter what type of screw I use? I’m guessing longer is better and the longest screw I have on hand is a deck screw. I’m thinking pilot hole, screw below the surface and cover with a wood/epoxy mix over top?
 

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L&VW

Well-Known Member
You've pictured a "trumpet head" type screw head. (Very common type).

A previous repair to one of my rudders shows the "wedging" action (when tightening) has fractured the wood surrounding the head. (A chunk about half-inch in every direction). While relatively harmless, it has spoiled the repair. :(

A long slotted "set" screw, although rare in hardware stores, would be a better choice of hardware: Alternatively, take special care when tightening conventional screws, or use a screw with a flat underside to its head.

Stainless steel would be my choice of metal, especially since I'd only be buying one of 'em... ;)
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
West System has great online tech information and they answer emails as well. It's all there in the tiny tiny print on the can as well :)
Here is a link to their User Manual: https://www.westsystem.com/wp-content/uploads/User-Manual-2015.pdf

We made a few videos:




To remove the metal caps we punch them with an awl and pry off the lid.

We use the pump system to dispense, but you can also mix by pouring appropriate ratios (3:1, 2:1) or measure the resin and hardener by weight. Given the small jobs that we do we find it more economical to pay for the pump system and reuse it, vs measuring out too much epoxy and having waste or measuring wrong and ruining a bunch of epoxy and our work. As for measuring cups, I know Jamestown Distributors throws in free cups and mixing sticks when you order from them, either West System or their in house brand TotalBoat.

When you buy the resin and hardener, buy the same "Group" of cans, on the bottom left of the can there will be a number-letter like 105-B and 207-B. The cans will be different sizes but because the mix ratio is different they will both run out of product at the same time.

When mixing, our buddy Louis recommends one pump of resin and then one pump of hardener, vs counting out 10 pumps of each at a time. Easier to keep track of the proper mix and it is easier to gauge when you have the right amount of product. If you mix a lot for a job, pour it into a roller pan to spread out the exothermic reaction or pour half off into a separate cup. Epoxy can get warm enough to melt a red Solo cup

You have your screw oriented correctly in your photo. One option is to drill a hole and insert a dowel. I'd drill the hole slightly oversize, say a 5/16th hole for a 1/4 in dowel. Use Gorilla Glue or Titebond III Marine or JD WeldWood or thickened epoxy to insert the dowel. AS far as I know that is how Alcort/AMF doweled their rudders once they figured out the grainwise fracture issue. If you use a screw then an appropriate size pilot hole and countersink are in order, we use Fuller combination bits and appropriately size silicon bronze screws. As mentioned above, if screw is too big then more problems will occur. A good old Grip Rite deck screw would be our second choice, marine stainless third, which our local Ace Hardware carries. The "stainless" at Lowes or HD, I think the only thing stainless about it are the letters on the packaging.
 

po-man sailor

Active Member
Dang SC. I learned a lot on these last few post. I had no idea there was a paint on epoxy as a finish. I just considered old school varnish like the trim on my bigger power boats.
I also like the glue in dowel idea and flat bottom screw thing is a definate help. Never thought about that wedgeing issue.
Thanks again!
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Here's our favorite coating over epoxy combo, Pettit EZPoxy Sea Foam Green on the outside and Rust-Oleum Topside Oyster White on the inside over West System. TotalBoat Gleam Satin varnish on the bright finished bits, not epoxy over the solid wood. On the Penobscot 14 ST. JACQUES we built 2014-2017.

41837458-4D7A-405B-8470-290F7086E719.jpeg

Here's ST. JACQUES getting her second coat of West System over okume ply. Pettit EZFair over the screws. EZFair is cool because it comes in a neat caulk tube as well, saves tons of mixing time.

P14 west system.jpg

Just as gelcoat is there to protect the fiberglass, paint or varnish choices are there to protect the epoxy.
 

po-man sailor

Active Member
SC...is there a reason for satin varnish preference rather than gloss? I debated that and chose gloss. Now it looks awesome like furnature but its blinding shinny. LOL. Wonder if I should coat over one more time with satin finish. Thoughts from everyone...
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Satin because it is not blinding...Gloss is good for building coats and satin would indeed make a nice final coat.

Stealing a thread would be changing subject to the boat cover we are making...

4E5300A5-8541-4391-AC58-3BD92D1E7536.jpeg
 

po-man sailor

Active Member
Dang Charlie you sure got your operation up and running again fast after the move.

I think I'll go get a satin finish quart for last coat. Well see when I get it put together.
 
Don't want to steal the thread just stay with subject matter and guybrush can benefit also.
No worries, I don't mind sharing. The more we can all learn, the better!

I ended up going with the dowel method. I'd love to say it turned out perfectly, but drilling on a less than flat surface meant I wasn't 100% level going in, and popped out the side just a wee bit. I did a 5/16" hole with a 1/4 dowell" and some Titebond III to glue it all in place.

On the very end of the hole I drilled, plus the little area where I popped through, I mixed some of the dust created by drilling and some of the Titebond III into a wood-like paste and just pasted over. I let it dry and sanded it down. I think it actually doesn't look half bad.

I have absolutely no clue if this whole thing is going to keep the crack from growing bigger or reinforce it, but I'm going to call it good and start the varnishing...at least I will next weekend. Want to do it all in one shot and I'll need a full day for it!
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Guy would love to see photos. And congratulations on moving forward. I be the fish won't notice and the boat won't care, it will be too busy sayin" Weeeeeeeeeeee......"

po-man FWIW we are still in the Homeport Relocation phase, the Lugger is still in FLorida but in the queue to roll North next, that's why she's getting a new cover. Fit the bow today, transom next.

FCA761B6-A4DE-4DB9-8875-BF0EE2FAB19E.jpeg
 
Guy would love to see photos. And congratulations on moving forward. I be the fish won't notice and the boat won't care, it will be too busy sayin" Weeeeeeeeeeee......"

po-man FWIW we are still in the Homeport Relocation phase, the Lugger is still in FLorida but in the queue to roll North next, that's why she's getting a new cover. Fit the bow today, transom next.

View attachment 45405
Here are some pics of the repair. I’m pointing out where I busted through a wee bit. I’ve also marked where the dowel lays internally. Hopefully somebody can let me know if I goofed somewhere.

Thank you for the words of encouragement. I was pretty bummed about the error at first, but now I’m thinking it’ll be fine.
 

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signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Looks great.

Pete Culler said "boat building was simply a matter of correcting one mistake after another, with the first mistake being to have begun in the first place. But oh what fun!"

There is an important fixture in a boat shop called "The Moaning Chair." The "Moaning Chair" is described by Howard Chappelle in his book Boatbuilding as an "essential tool to have, the place where you sit and ponder what you have either just screwed up or are about to screw up with all of your other tools." Moaning chairs come in all shapes and sizes and can be found next to favorite beverages. Moaning chairs should be available for all of "The Usual Visitors" as well so they can point out any mistakes the builder might have missed.

Crystal moaning chair.jpg
 

po-man sailor

Active Member
Hey Brushy, only suggestion i would have would be if vanishing, do a 50 50 thinning coat first so it will soak in and flow nicely. Then a 25 to 75. Then let her rip as many as you like. I like lots f coats to help protect the board going in and out of the dagger pocket and the rudder from sand bottoms or scrapes. Good luck. Oh I allow a day in between coats to cure and unlike most folks I don't sand between coats. Always full strokes the full length of the wood top to bottom on a wire.
 
Just did the first coat of epoxy and I'm getting tiny bubbles on the rudder. Any tips for dealing with those? Guessing I can sand them once they harden, but I was hoping to do a coat every 3 to 4 hours, but if I have to wait for it to harden before I can sand, that means I won't be able to do the next coat until tomorrow after it hardens and I'm able to sand it. Is that correct?
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
If there are a small number, just take a sharp knife and pop them off. The next coat will make them invisible. If there are many, you'll have to wait... :(
 
I ended up just heating them up with my torch lighter and they pretty much popped. I think I'm good to go.

Not that it matters much. I don't care if it looks good or not, just looking for protection from the elements.

Third and final coat in the next two and a half hours. Then I wait for it to cure, then I sand it, then I varnish it.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Sorry. I dropped off to sleep in the middle of my answer! :oops:

I've seen this. I suspect the bubbles are caused because the internal wood grain is "outgassing" from last night's cooler temperatures. You might avoid this experience by storing the boards in a warmer, dryer place before applying finishes.
 
Sorry. I dropped off to sleep in the middle of my answer! :oops:

I've seen this. I suspect the bubbles are caused because the internal wood grain is "outgassing" from last night's cooler temperatures. You might avoid this experience by storing the boards in a warmer, dryer place before applying finishes.
You might be on to something. Luckily it only did it with the first coat so I think I'm good to go. Just hoping I'm not gluing the hardware in place with the epoxy. Hopefully there's some give when I remove the screws after it cures.
 
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po-man sailor

Active Member
I was lost in the previous conversations regarding using epoxy and varnish. I've never done anything but varnish only on any wood.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
My brain tells me that a sponge brush could trap air bubbles, also overworking epoxy can turn it cloudy. We roll with the dedicated West System 800 roller covers and tip lightly with a soft bristle brush.

The first couple of coats of epoxy, or anything else for that matter, on dry bare wood are rough, they are basically trying to fill the grain and make a base coat. I'd let it dry fully, which could be several days in Florida, sand it with 120 and apply 2 more coats. Let the first coat dry about a day and apply the second coat while the epoxy is still "soft," where it can be dented with a fingernail, but not hard and also not tacky. No sanding needed. If it gets to full hardness then a very light scuff is needed, 220 grit or a worn 120 disc.

As for PPE, read the Safety Data Sheet, no respirator needed with adequate ventilation but it does say to use one if the product is heated, an organic vapor cartridge rated P100. Keep all skin covered, and wear chemical proof gloves.

https://www.westsystem.com/wp-content/uploads/105-SDS.pdf

And don't get thickened epoxy in Skipper's hair, she doesn't like that, but in my defense she should know to be no where near me when I have paint or epoxy, I am messy.

aft seat epoxy.jpeg

We were glueing up some cypress planks to make a seat for BARBASHELA, a 3 handed job.

aft seat trimmed.jpeg

207 hardener tacks up the same as 205 Slow Hardener, should be fine year round along the Gulf Coast.
 
I think my problem was sanding before it was fully dry. Gummed up and I had to start the whole thing over again at least as far as the rudder was concerned. I waited what the instructions said on the can but I guess that wasn't long enough. As far as the daggerboard goes, some ugly, white streaks are visible and I epoxied over them, and I'll be damned if I'm going to start over on that too, so I'm just going to live with an ugly job. At this point, I give up and just want to get it done, no matter how bad it looks.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Let it harden, go sailing, the fish won't mind and sand again later. Sounds like you'll have a great base layer!
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
There are different pumps for the different hardeners, some are 3:1 and some are 2:1, were those set up for the 207 Hardener?
 
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