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sanding of the deck’s underside and the new piece, plan on
adding two to three layers of fiberglass cloth over the core to
mate the core with the underside of the deck. Mitering the
edges of the plywood a bit for a curve (with a round-over
router bit, for instance), or just a 45-degree cut with a circular
saw, will help you to transition from your new core to the surrounding structure. Using a spray adhesive works nicely for
keeping the mat/cloth in place while working overhead, before
you apply the resin with a brush or a roller.
Use two layers of chopped-strand mat followed by a 12-oz
woven cloth. Be sure to overlap into the areas surrounding
your new core as much as possible to keep the whole deck
moving together and prevent your core from “delaminating”
from the underside of your old deck. Thickened epoxy is
the right move to put it all together, but I’d butter the whole
surface, not notch it, which would leave voids you don’t want.
Find a way to clamp it from the underside. I’ve used car jacks
and 2x4s to support the piece from the underside while it dries.
If you don’t have a jack that will work, make some “dead
men,” simply a “T” made from 2x4s that can be wedged
between the cabin floor/berth and the new piece to securely
hold it in place for a couple of days. Towels and T-shirts make
excellent padding so you don’t damage the surrounding surface. If the core you’re securing is wet with resin and large, use
quarter-inch luan plywood covered in plastic (garbage bags or
drop cloths) so you don’t have a sticking problem.
If the temperatures are below 50˚ F or so, cover the deck up
top with a quilt or blankets so the epoxy kicks off and cures.
Below freezing, you’ll have to wait or set up a couple of electric blankets! However you do it, cover the whole surrounding
surface with a drop cloth because this is going to be a heck of
a mess. A Tyvek suit for you is a smart move.
What should you use to clean thru-hull fittings, and how
often should you do this? Once they’re clean, what should
you put on them? Deborah Rivera
Vero Beach, FL
TOM NEALE It depends on their size and how fouled they
are. I usually use a carrot peeler. They’re getting hard to find
but they’re rounded and tapered to a slight point on the end.
They’re usually stainless and inexpensive, so I buy several
when I find them. They make a great tool for scraping small
barnacles and other growth off the round sides in the thru-hull. If the thru-hull is too big or the critters too tough, I use
an appropriately sized, very dull table knife and run it around
inside. Don’t use a nice one because you’re likely to bend it
some and dull it more. It’s important to be careful to not cut
or damage any hose attached to the thru-hull. Inspect the
holes regularly. I do this by diving with an underwater light.
I usually coat the insides, when hauled, with regular bottom
paint, using a toothbrush or similar brush. Copper-based bottom paint contains, of course, copper, and may be different
from the metal in your thru hull, but I’ve never seen this
cause a problem.