Leaky Mast Step

Thread starter #41
Hi Eric!

I've been thinking along the same lines. I'd like to re-enforce the entire tube with wraps of glass to build it back up and then some. I figured I'd look at the top at the same time because the rear of the top should be a wearing spot (due to the mast load).

Right now I'm having a blast with the Acetone. I'm finding that the remaining bodo is somewhat porous and that it's absorbing the acetone turning it into a soft putty or clay-like substance. That's making it WAY easier for me to remove all traces of the remaining bondo.

Prior to that 'discovery' I had left a full portion of bondo on the backside of the tube that was hard to get at. As a result of the acetone working I'm now able to get a screwdriver all the way around the tube so the only bondo that's remaining is a very small amount at the very bottom of the tube. I'd like to get that out too if possible and then I'm really looking forward to gluing the whole thing together. I mean, I can't wait to push that epoxy into every possible gap in the well between the tube and the plywood.

I'm dead certain that this is going to be the ultimate in bullet-proofing the step. I was just talking about it with someone and if I was looking for a used boat and had a choice between one without a repair and one that's been repaired like ours I would choose the latter - if anything it's going to be stronger then factory by a long shot.

I wish I could have bought less of the West product. I'm quite sure I'm going to have lots left over. When I look at how much is going to be needed for the repair and contrast that to the amount I've got (and it's the smallest amount) there's going to be leftovers...

I found a soft spot in my hull :eek: The good news is that it's pretty close to my inspection port so I bought enough glass mat to do the entire strip there. Might as well kill all the birds I can at the same time :D
..."having a BLAST with acetone"....you are easily amused....I'll send you some old bondo from some of the body shops I frequent and you can spend all winter doing whatever you do that makes you sooo happy!! :D:eek:
I trust that few "normal" people read all this stuff... but the rest of us spend way too much time enjoying the pending workload of others...like yours ;)
Thread starter #43
..."having a BLAST with acetone"....
Well, part of that is that while I'm working on getting the last of the bondo, the fumes are rising up through the inspection port.... and right into my face... :eek:

I hope people read this post - that's the primary reason I'm taking so much time and adding so many pictures to it. I'm hoping someone will come in later and have their own little how-to guide :)
Well, part of that is that while I'm working on getting the last of the bondo, the fumes are rising up through the inspection port.... and right into my face... :eek:

I hope people read this post - that's the primary reason I'm taking so much time and adding so many pictures to it. I'm hoping someone will come in later and have their own little how-to guide :)
...that reminds me...in 1992 I flew freight out of San Antonio to Laredo,Tx (home for 9 mo, 3 wks, 4 days, 7 hrs, 12 mins and 83 seconds!) One morning as I was about to taxi out ...a STRONG vapor from the steel mesh barrier screen behind me overtook the cockpit. I shut the plane down (it was the same plane as in the picture there on the left) and opened the door to get some fresh air. "They" were quite pissed to have to unload all the freight to get to "the package" ...but when they found a busted bottle of your famous Acetone ...they eased up on me for delaying the flight.
I'm just glad that it was discovered before take off. ...so enjoy your bondo extraction! :)
Thread starter #45
That's scary! I wonder if that's what happened to that other FedEx guy who ended up stuck on that Island for years and years? Somebody FedEx'ed something they shouldn't have... :D


I think I'm going to bite the bullet today and fill in the step... :eek: I've got a heat gun around here somewhere....

I checked the step this morning and I think I've gotten all the bondo out that I can. About the only thing that's left is the bondo under the tube and when I look at the surface of the tube and the plywood flange there's ton's of surface area for the glue to stick too. I think we're good to go.. :eek:

Wish me luck - I'm going in..... :eek:

PS> How did you pour the epoxy down the tube? How did you measure it to make sure it's 14" ? I'm outta control !!!! :D


Thread starter #48
Talk it to death....that's how you do it!!!
Just take a deep breath and pour....super easy... You know what to do!
Yup, we have nothing to fear except fear itself :D

xflyer95 said:
...btw it's 80F...that's 26.6C (Canadian) here today... :<)
Sheesh.... it's 9c right now (48.2 US) :) I found a way to work around all of that though.....

I cut a pop can open and it turned out to be a really useful device. It's about the same size as the mast tube so you can gage the amount of epoxy. If you need 1/4" in the tube put a 1/4" in the can. The other thing that's handy about it is that you can bend the can into a pouring spout - no funnel required.

I put a temperature probe inside the hull so that I can see what the actual ambient is at the epoxy level - it's 22.2c and the minimum spec for the slow hardener is 16c so we're all OK. Now maybe it's just me but I think this has got to be the nicest epoxy job I've ever done :D I particularly like the last pic with the level in it :cool:


Thread starter #50
Not so fast!

I still had to install the stainless steel wear plate :)

If I remember right you mentioned not to drop it into the wet epoxy because it would sink to the bottom.

According to West you can't add another layer of epoxy to existing epoxy unless the first layer of epoxy is still tacky. So, I waited until the epoxy was tacky and then coated the bottom of the disk with some more epoxy.

I then dropped the disk into the tube only to find that it promptly flipped upside down :eek::mad: That meant that the side that was coated with epoxy was facing up. Gouvernail mentioned earlier that the mast cannot ride on bare epoxy because it won't turn and can actually break the gooseneck on the mast.

Try as I might I could not get the damn thing back out. So I left it in and then used a piece of my cockpit grabrail with a cloth on it soaked in acetone to remove the epoxy. It worked out OK in the end (see pic).

The epoxy was still wet enough to hold the disk but not so wet that the disk sank. Near disaster was avoided :D

If I measure from the middle of the disk from the front to the rear of the tube it's at exactly 14" It's a little off on the sides by about a milimeter but that's about as close as you can get (I think) without actually drilling a square hole in the mast tube :D

Anyway, there's darn little epoxy left on the disk so the mast should turn OK. I moved the hair dryer inside the boat on top of two blocks of wood and now the ambient temperature is about 50c - or, about twice as hot as Texas :D:):eek:

It's hard to the touch now and in a few hours it will be finished. Then it's on to building up the mast tube. I don't think I'm going to run glass mat from the hull up to the tube. When I look at the existing fiberglassed wooden flange it's clear to me that it's never going to break off. There's no way that the epoxy is ever going to break loose - I actually felt the heat under the step from the exothermic reaction and that leads me to believe that I succeeded in getting some epoxy under the step - which is exactly what I wanted. It's glued so solid it's never going to break off.

That moves the weak link to the tube. It's pretty thin at the bottom front so I'm going to build that puppy up so that it will take decades for the mast to wear through it :D

Sorry for the long post, I know I'm long-winded but I'm having fun. I love doing bullet-proof work :)


For future reference, to properly install the disk, get a yard stick (or as we say in Maine, a yahd stick) and tape the disk to it with some scotch tape. add more layer of tape to the stick and only one or two tabs on the disk. use another stick to hold the disk down and then quickly pull off the yahd stick, and viola, it is in place.
Thread starter #52
....and viola, it is in place.
I thought I heard music at one point... :D Thanks Pete - that was sage advice. To be honest, I knew that before I placed the disk but I thought I would be lucky and that it would just fly in their perfectly. I was very sure of this until it landed upside down :mad:

I just wrapped the lower part of the tube. I wasn't very comfortable doing it but I think it worked out. I primed the surface of the tube by sanding with 80 grit aluminum oxide sand paper and then cleaned it up with acetone.

After that I cut a long piece of cloth about 4" wide and then used a brush to coat the tube. I then wrapped the cloth around the tube and then wetted it down and tried my best to remove any air etc.

The cloth I cut was long enough for 4 successive wraps so I just kept wrapping and stopped at every turn to re-wet the cloth and to massage out any air. I used rubber gloves and just got in there and did it. It seems to have worked OK but it did wreck the brush. In the future I'll just rubber glove the whole thing and save a brush :D

I put a LOT of glue on that wrap :)


Ok...looking at your latest picture it is my UNprofessional opinion that you could still use some build-up of glass saturated epoxy in the "moat" ...so as to create that "fillet" that we talked about way back when.

I would form it like a "ramp" shaped ring above the new epoxy. Imagine if water (heaven forbid) was running down the outside of the tube it would flow away from the base of the tube (because of the build-up of structural,glass filled epoxy)

At the moment it appears that the "water" would collect at the base of tube.
This extra epoxy (and stuff) provides a structual transition of "load" from the hull up thru the lower part of the tube.

It also makes for a nice smooth surface to add vertically oriented strips of glass mat along the tube base outward to the hull. Gouvernail had mentioned in earlier threads of the need to use glass mat to provide vertical or downward tension on the tube...to keep the hull from pulling away (down) from the tube.

...you know bulletproof...;)

Thread starter #54
You know, my Dad came by and he mentioned the same thing - running 4 sheets of glass from the hull up to the tube. I didn't want to do it because, quite frankly, my repair looks way better :D

I mean, it's cool. There's a nice solid moat and a nice buildup of glass in the primary wearing area. It's a nice looking job if I do say so myself. :)

My rationale for not running glass from the deck to the tube has been that the square flange is solid and that it's also the way Laser did the job when they built the boat.

I hadn't really thought about the hull pulling down and away from the tube. My thinking has been all in the area of lateral shear strength. Can the mast exert a lateral force such that it breaks the square flange? I'm quite sure that the epoxy and the flange can be thought of as a one piece unit (now) and that the only way lateral shear would kill it would be if it could rip the flange out.

I had not thought about vertical forces acting on the tube other then the grinding of the mast into the tube. Maybe you're right. My Dad was pretty adamant about it. The thing is, it won't look as good. I got one of the clear inspection ports just so that I could look at it every once in a while :D

I'll have to think about it some more. I can't really foresee stress that would cause the tube/flange assembly to want to pull apart vertically though. You wouldn't happen to recall the gov's post about that would you? I do recall seeing something about it but I can't fathom where... Maybe it's the fumes.

EDIT: Found it here

I love the smell of curing Epoxy in the morning :D
yeah! that's it!...I believe he was helping Kaiser...who later helped me :eek:
That post is pretty rich.

Keep rolling my friend...you're almost there :D

Thread starter #56
Tomorrow - it's getting late now (here at least).

I think I understand the issue now. One of the main points in that post seemed to be that we don't know what the bondo is like under the tube and that the only vertical adhesion is the thin layer where the expoxy is currently joined to the tube (the moat).

Earlier I mentioned that I consider the tube and the flange to be a single piece because they've been properly glued together (so they're never going to come apart). By extension of that thinking, if I lay mat from the hull to the tube, then, for all intents and purposes, the hull, flange & tube become one big piece. Structurally sound to say the least. Probably the only way it could fail would be if it encountered a force strong enough to rip the bottom of the boat out. :eek:

Tomorrow I'm going to do another 4 wraps around the base of the tube (8 total) just because I know that's the primary wearing part of the tube and I want it to be extra thick.

After that I'll follow your advice and run strips up to the tube from the hull. As you said, so it's bullet-proof. I just have to come up with a way to make it look nice :D

Thanks Eric! Good of you to highlight that issue because I wasn't going to do it. :)
...you could take a picture of it now...have it nicely framed...and hang it over a fireplace mantel with a soft incandescent light shining on it for all to see :rolleyes:...

Thread starter #59
Gouvernail had mentioned in earlier threads of the need to use glass mat to provide vertical or downward tension on the tube...to keep the hull from pulling away (down) from the tube.
OK, I wrapped mat around the tube 4 more times (so now there's 8 wraps around the bottom of the tube) and I think I'll leave it there.

Now, with respect to glassing mat from the hull to the tube, I've looked at gouvernail's page and he doesn't specifically mention it. He does mention it in the thread linked above but try as I might I can't find any specifics about it.

Specifically, what size mat? How far up the tube? In how many places? etc. I'm almost there but my brain is lacking. When I laid the last 4 strips around the tube I built up the moat a bit so that it's pretty much level (should make it easier to run mat up).

Any ideas Eric? :)
I think....(danger danger :eek:) that laterally, you are bulletproof. What Gouv is probably saying is that the tube is the sole device that connects the deck to the hull in the mast region.
Therefore it warrents consideration with respect to bonding and "such"
The remainder of the deck/hull bond is accomplished at the cockpit corners...and we KNOW that there are countless posts/threads, pictures, analylsis, factory tour pictures and ideas concerning separation issues.
SOMETHING :eek: is happening along the way (usually water) that contributes to this problem.
Sooo....a bulletproof "link" in the area of the boat that probably receives lots of different kinds of stress (mast region) is excellent insurance ;)

If you had a trailer that supported the boat at the gunnels, then it would be even more important IMO to support the hull internally (from inertia) as you bounced down those logging trails that you love so much.

Take another look at the 4 pics I put up the other day and you can see my idea of placing the strips to accomplish this task....looks just like Kaisers :)