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Repairing plywood bulkhead

Jan 21, 2018
26
Ericson 30+ Milford
I'm in the process of doing some repairs on my '83 Ericson 30+. There is a small plywood bulkhead that is at the forward end of the V-berth, just under the anchor chain pan. It has extensive water damage with the part of the top cross piece and part of the starboard vertical section rotted through. The plywood is tabbed in place. This is structural and not cosmetic - you can't see it until you take the boat apart. Wish I had an actual pic but the piece is trapezoidal with the longest segment along the top and a trapezoidal hole in the middle so that the wood is about 3" from outer to inner margin all around. It looks like the drawing below.

1610506621555.png


Question is about the merits of taking the whole piece of wood out and rebuilding vs. cutting out the rotted section and replacing the segments then epoxying/glassing the new pieces to the old pieces when I tab them in. This would make the job substantially easier as it won't be easy to get to the lower edges of the bulkhead.

Plan is to bed the piece with an epoxy fillet and then use two layers of biaxial on each side to glass in. If I do this as a repair, would use more biaxial and epoxy to tie the new pieces to the old.

Interested in people thoughts.

Mike
 

DArcy

.
Feb 11, 2017
1,253
Islander Freeport 36 Ottawa
The first step is to make sure you have resolved the leak that caused the water damage.
I'm looking at a similar repair to a bulkhead that is partially tabbed in. In my case, the tab is only on the inside of the cabinet and I am planning on cutting away the tab, replacing the bulkhead and re-tabbing in behind. A tricky place to get to but should still be doable with hopefully only small amounts of epoxy in my hair. For tabbing like this it may be easier to wet out the glass with epoxy on a sheet of parchment paper then transfer it to the bulkhead rather than trying to reach in with the epoxy on a brush while holding the glass cloth in place
If you have enough good material around the perimeter you may be able to sister in some new wood but 3" is not much to work with. It may just be easier to rip it out and start fresh.
 
Jan 11, 2014
7,853
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
Best to cut it out and put a new piece in. More work, but isn't doing anything the right way more work? ;)

What is in front of the bulkhead? An anchor locker? If so, make sure the drain works and the cover seals reasonably well.
 
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Likes: ggrizzard
Aug 7, 2018
179
Catalina 350 Great Sodus Bay, Lake Ontario
I used a piece of 3/4"teak veneer plywood to replace something similar to what you are describing. No joinery needed, I used some teak veneer on the "raw" plywood edge. I used the old (rotten) piece as a template. You probably don't need teak, my project was visible and it sounds like yours is not.
 
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Likes: ggrizzard
Jan 21, 2018
26
Ericson 30+ Milford
Best to cut it out and put a new piece in. More work, but isn't doing anything the right way more work? ;)

What is in front of the bulkhead? An anchor locker? If so, make sure the drain works and the cover seals reasonably well.
There is just space from the bulkhead to the bow. There is a decorative piece of painted plywood that screws into the bulkhead from inside the v-berth that defines the forward end of the v-berth and the forward-most part of the boat accessible from the cabin.

There is a (detached) second fill hose from a deck fitting for a second fresh water tank that po had removed and wires to the bow nav lights - otherwise nothing. The boat is built with the anchor chain sitting in a pan that is dropped into the space just over the bulkhead. I believe that the pan was not well sealed around its edges and that was where the leak was. The only other potential source of leaks were the stanchions/mounts for the bow pulpit and I've rebedded those with butyl tape. The pan drains through a hose to a through hull opening above the water line. I am going to replace that hose as well.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
 
Mar 29, 2017
574
Hunter 30t 9805 littlecreek
I had one like that rotten in places dug out rot and just used what's left as core and remade in place with glass and mat probably spent more than cutting out but now it's all white and no way it could rot again as its 60% glass
 
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Likes: LloydB
Jun 11, 2004
1,220
Oday 31 Redondo Beach
Could you just leave the solid pieces of old one in place and make a whole new one and fit it in up against the remains of the old one? Maybe screw the new into the old and then tab in place as necessary?
 
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Likes: Whatfiero1