Sunday, December 27, 2015

Alberg 30 Refit: Re-coring Port Side deck (cont.)

The warm weather has continued here in the eastern part of the United States, which has enabled me to continue my boat work. I am really trying to get this side deck closed up before Mother Nature decides to bring winter in full force. I worked over the last few weeks preparing the exposed area of the port side deck. 

I picked up where I left off and cut the new Core-cell core. This stuff is super easy to work with. I laid all the core in place and marked it for the G10 board.

All the G10 board cut and ready, and in its final resting spot sandwiched between the inner and outer deck. I also beveled the edges of the old skin to provide a nicely prepped surface for the new fiberglass to grab onto to make a good strong joint and bond.

First mate and I had a few days off over Christmas. Outside temperatures soared close to 80! We took advantage and decided to lay in the new core. 

To prep the area for new core and G10 board we cleaned the entire area twice with acetone. Once cleaned we mixed straight West System resin with the 206 West Systems slow hardener. This mixture would give us ample working time with the warm temperatures. After we wetted out the entire area with the resin mixture we let it sit for about 10-15 minutes. During this time we starting mixing the West Systems resin with 206 and 406 Adhesive Filler. As with the lazarette area, we used this mixture to spread under the new core, bedding it into the existing deck.

Here is a piece of the new core all wet with epoxy waiting to be laid down.

After we had a all the core in and all voids filled with the thickened epoxy we applied the sandbags to weight it all down. This prevents the core from lifting and makes sure it stays conformed to the deck's contour.

The next morning, thanks to another day off, I got right to work sanding the cured epoxy and new core in preparation for new top layers of fiberglass. I did not get any pictures of the finished core but it took a good hour to prep it. After it was all prepped I began laying out and cutting the fiberglass.

I marked all the fiberglass pieces with a sharpie markers to help with the placement.

The second layer all cut and marked.

Close up of the new fiberglass laid over the previously damaged stanchion area (see previous posts for before pics of the damage).

A little trimming and tweaking was needed.

After wetting out the area completely I laid on the first two pieces of new side-deck top skin fiberglass.

All wet out with West Systems epoxy, showing the G10 and core.

Much better than what was there before and I would venture to say even better than new!

First layer with all air bubbles removed ready for next layer. You can see the G10 board I laid into the core for the jib track. This will provide strength and prevent water from leaking into the core.

The entire area with 2 layers of new 1708 biaxial fiberglass applied. I made sure to stagger the seams between layers. 

After letting the area set up for about 30 minutes, I applied a skim coat of the 407 fairing epoxy to help fill in the weave of the fiberglass. I thought this area of the deck was only going to need 2 layers to complete the new top skin. After a bit of sanding I now realize another layer of fiberglass will be needed. I am not sure I will get the additional layer on this winter but at least the area is all sealed up and can be walked on (we excitedly tested that out just this afternoon and were pleased with the results!)

Stay tuned! A surprise is in the works...

Friday, December 11, 2015

Alberg 30 Refit: More Rotten Core on Side Decks

For the last few day we have been experiencing some abnormally warm temperatures here in the mid-Atlantic.  It has been in the mid 60's to low 70's. I have been taking advantage of this weather and have moved the repair process on to the side decks. If you remember from my last post I cut open a few small sections of the port deck and found them rotten and damp.

Reminder of what I found over Thanksgiving weekend when I cut a few sample areas; more rotten balsa

Here is a short video I took the other night after removing a good portion of the side deck. It shows what core looks like. 

In this photo you can see the rotten core extending up under the lip left from the cut.
I will dig all that out and fill with thickened 406 West Systems epoxy

I decided to buy Core-Cell A500 for the side decks. My local supplier did not carry 1/4" balsa but did have the Core-Cell in 1/4". I bought an entire sheet and had them cut it into 2ft x4 ft sections.

I cut the decks back until I found good core. I ended up cutting a 6ft section that is about 12" wide

Here is the  is the entire section, it is almost ready for new core.

Still digging out core from under lip left from cuts of original top skin.

This picture may not be clear but what you are looking at is where a stanchion for lifelines bolted thru the deck. Someone tried to repair this area before, and they did NOT do a very good job. 

If you look closely you can see hairline cracks in area where the stanchion was mounted. I took the angle grinder and sanded away all the old paint and gelcoat. What I found was a solid and cracked chunk of what I think was resin.

Took out the oscillating multi-tool and began digging into this area, what a mess!

Getting better!

Now that looks like something I can work with. The only real issue will be that there is not much original top skin left near the toe rail to attach new top layers of fiberglass. Whatever I come up with will be better than what was there; on this I am certain.

This is where I left off. Started laying out and planning placement for the 1/4" G10 for stanchion base and inner jib track area.

For those following our deck re-coring, here is an illustration I made to give a better understanding of how it all comes together.

I have about 6 hrs invested in getting the side deck area prepped, which is not too bad. If winter stays like this I should have ole Sal re-cored in no time. But we all know this is a fluke and mother nature likely has other plans in store for us soon. Stay tuned as I hope to continue as long as the weather holds out.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Alberg 30 Refit: Lazarette Nearing Completion, and More Rotten Core

I hope all our family, friends and followers has a peaceful and relaxing Thanksgiving weekend. We had a wonderful holiday. It was restful and happily spent with friends who have become like family to us.
 As usual, they cooked up a feast, and this year I was the honorary turkey chef. We deep fried the turkey and it was absolutely delish! Of course we also had the traditional Thanksgiving staples like baked ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, corn, cranberry sauce and gravy.

Enjoying a turkey leg, a cold beer and some football!
After dinner we indulged in some great homemade apple crisp and ice cream. Then everyone in the house took a well-deserved nap, crashing out on the couches and floor in the family room. 

Prior to heading over to our Thanksgiving dinner I managed to get a bit of boat work done. The weather was great, 70 degrees and sunny, couldn't ask for a nicer day.

I began sanding down the fairing epoxy (pinkish area). The fairing epoxy helps fill in the low spots, making a nice smooth surface.

This is looking at the starboard side after initial layer of fairing epoxy was sanded. You can see the varying shades and colors, which is the different layers of fiberglass and fairing expoy making a  smooth surface.

 Starboard side

Port side of lazarette is looking more level and fair (flat surface). From here on out the sanding on the lazarette will be completed by hand with a long board...not looking forward to that one bit. They call it torture boarding! On the next warm day I will add more 407 West Systems fairing epoxy to the deck and begin the torture boarding!

Yesterday I captained a short family-friendly "Santa" cruise on the whale-watching tour boat that I've been driving for occasionally. Afterwards, with yet more beautiful weather on tap, I decided to explore additional areas of Sal for rotten core. I knew there would be more to find, especially on the side decks. This was because they would always creak a bit when walked upon, and while sailing I would see some of the deck flexing when stanchions were bumped...a good indication the core was rotten in those areas.

First place I decided to cut was the jib track area on the port side deck. I knew if anywhere was going be wet and rotten it would be here. When removing the fasteners that had secured them to the deck in preparation for refit, I found that they were all hand-tightened and had almost no sealant on them. I have a strong suspicion these bolts had never been tightened or resealed throughout Sals 44 years of existence. Honestly, I'm just as guilty as everyone else who owned Sal; I never checked them. 

Here is a rotten area also on the port side deck. This is where a stanchion was and you can kind of see the outline of a stanchion base. Obviously our Alberg has had rotten decks for some time. Looks like someone long ago tried to repair the area by pouring some resin filler and sanding it smooth. 
This is not really a big thing as I will eventually replace it all and make it better than new.

As I was cleaning out the area and seeing how wet the core was, I noticed the core didn't look quite right. Yes it was wet, soft and rotten, but something else also seemed off. As I looked closer I began to realize the that core was thinner than the lazarette area. I grabbed a square of the new 3/8 core and laid it in the cut-out area. Sure enough, the old balsa is thinner than the 3/8, and my side decks are apparently different than every other Alberg 30 I have ever read about.

After some measuring I determined that Whitby built my Alberg 30's side decks with 1/4 inch balsa and not the 3/8 inch I have read about on other Albergs. The top skin also appears to be thinner as well, only about .130 (thousandths of an inch) or about 1/8 inch thick. The lazarette area used 3/8 core and top skin was about .180 or 3/16 of an inch. Another difference is the bottom deck skin: It was a lot thicker, almost .200 where the lazarette was maybe .060 or so. I guess Whitby had some 1/4 balsa core they needed to get rid of... who knows!?

This photo shows how much thicker the new core is than the old stuff I took out.

So maybe I have an odd side deck, nothing too major. I believe I can exchange out the new 3/8 balsa core for 1/4, thankfully I bought it locally. I don't believe my decks are any weaker or stronger than any other Alberg 30. I think Whitby made up for the lack of core thickness with lower deck skin. This week I will work on obtaining some 1/4 balsa core and begin the side decks.

Boat Repair: It's always something!
Stay tuned

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Alberg 30 refit: Lazarette recoring cont.

The re-coring of the lazarette continues.It has been a lot of work but also a great learning experience. It takes great deal of courage to make that first cut into a fiberglass deck. I was very green at the start and I still have a lot to learn, but now I am starting to see it all come back together. Knowing what to expect will help the rest of the deck re-coring move along a bit more quickly. As of today I have the third and final layer of 1708 biaxial cloth laid. The deck can now bear weight. Below are photos of various building stages of the lazarette deck. 

After I had installed the new balsa core I still had some sanding to do to get the edges of the balsa level with the edges of the old deck. You can see in the above photo there are lighter areas along the wood, This is where it is sanded to make everything flush.

After the sanding of the balsa core I began cutting the new 1708 biaxial fiberglass. I used the balsa paper templates and laid them out over the fiberglass. I cut the fiberglass 2 inches wider than the template to overlap the beveled edges of the old deck. This 2 inches provides the bond between the old and new deck surfaces

After laying on the the 1708 fiberglass, I used a special roller to get the air bubbles out. This was very time consuming. I rolled each piece out for about 10-15 min. Once that was complete, I cut the second layer of fiberglass. I wanted to get 2 layers on.

Here you can see the second layer in place. I made this piece out of one single swath of fabric. I did this because the first layer was made from 3 separate pieces, so having one contiguous second layer will add to the overall strength of deck. 
You can see the fiberglass cloth is still white in this photo, before it has been saturated with epoxy resin.

This is the result of one afternoon of glass work. You can see the fiberglass had become translucent from being saturated with resin and all air pockets are removed.

A few days later I broke out the trusty Bosch orbital sander and armed it with 36 grit disc. I began fairing in the edges of the old deck with the newly laid fiberglass. After I had all the edges sanded I moved to the second layer of glass, knocking down any extreme high spots and giving it an all-over good sanding in preparation for the third and final layer of 1708 cloth.

On this day the overnight temps had gotten down into the 40s. I needed to wait until temperatures came up to at least 55 degrees before I began laying any epoxy. In the meantime to help the epoxy along, I brought out an electric skillet. I set it to about 200 degrees, and after about 30 mins and some gentle shaking the epoxy was warmed up and ready.

Before starting I tagged the second layer

The 3rd and final layer of 1708 biaxial cloth. After I finished laying in the last of it, I let the area set up while I went and ate a good lunch the first mate had cooked up. During that time the epoxy became tacky. This was the perfect time to add first layer fairing, so it would bond with the tacky epoxy already on deck and fill in the weave of the fiberglass cloth. Sorry I don't have any pictures of the area before adding the West Systems 407 fairing; my hands were quite sticky.

Just a skim coat of the fairing epoxy on most of the deck area. I also made sure to keep marking the spot for the chainplate as I did each layer.

Another angle of the port side lazarette. I am really happy how the last and final layer finished up. I still have lots of fairing and finishing work to make it look all pretty and smart but I'm quite proud of how it has turned out so far.

I want to thank James Baldwin of, Matt B. of and Neil R. of You guys talked me through this process and helped tremendously. I learned a lot on this small area of the boat and feel confident I can tackle the rest of the decks.

Happy Thanksgiving!!