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Old 11-22-2010, 01:45 PM   #1
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What did I get myself into??

I hauled my boat last week to do several important tasks. Primary is to replace both leaking rudder logs, 2 thru hull ball valves due to broken handles, and re-pitch my props. I thought since the boat is out of the water I would go ahead and re-paint knowing I had several blisters, even though the paint was 2 years old and in good condition.


The valves and rudder logs have been removed and will replace them soon. However removing the blisters has become a nightmare. I sanded the port side hull which took half a day. I then ground out 65 blisters and am in the process of fairing each blister to remove the surrounding bottom paint. *I now must return to the boat in early December and do the stbd side hull which I have been told has the most blisters. The blisters that I have uncovered so far are mostly the size of a dime with a few quarter size. After all the blisters have been uncovered, I must allow the hull to dry. How long I ask? The longer the better was the answer. Im giving it 2 months.


It has been strongly recommended that I sand blast the hull and apply a barrier coat. The cost to sand blast is about $1200. All bottom paint must be removed down to the gel coat prior to applying a barrier coat. Im going to pass on this. Maybe in 2 years at the next bottom job.


My biggest concern is will the epoxy used to fill the divots that I made in removing the blisters adhere to the underlying laminate. The laminate must be dry, but how do I know?


At this point I wish I had left well enough alone. I just bought the boat and have very little experience using it. The work necessary to repair the blisters was well beyond what I thought I was getting into.


Well Im into it now, so no turning back, though Ive given some thought to letting the stbd side be.
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Old 11-22-2010, 02:14 PM   #2
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What did I get myself into??

So how deep are the blisters?* Into the gel coat or mostly just the bottom paint?* Most of our blisters are bottom paint is too thick?*
*
I was told that blister under a dime are Ok but should be watched and blister over a quarter should be fixed. **We have some dime size blisters which I have not repaired, but keep an eye on.* I have repaired quarter size blisters but they have not been vey deep.* Look to be more bottom paint then into the fiber glass.* I haul in the month of July when the temp is 70+ degrees so it takes a few days.* What I use is blue paper towels see if any moisture appears.*I would think for small blisters it would not be all that long

I use Pettit Trinidad that is an epoxy, dries hard and has 70% copper.* Now if I was going to use the softer sloughing than I might apply a barrier coat, but the Trinidad seems to hold up will.* I thought it had a barrier coat as at the water line the paint is 1/16 thick, but its just bottom paint.** The last two times I have pull I sanded the bottom before applying the bottom paint.* Seem the paint sticks better and not*any more*blisters.* However, that was a drity and tiring job.



-- Edited by Phil Fill on Monday 22nd of November 2010 03:16:24 PM
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Old 11-22-2010, 02:32 PM   #3
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RE: What did I get myself into??

Nothing that a great deal of money won't get you out of.

Never never never figure you "might as well just go ahead and fix this" as long as the boat is out of the water.

Planning is everything,* impulse is the latch on Pandora's box.
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Old 11-22-2010, 03:01 PM   #4
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What did I get myself into??

Timjet:* Grind out the quarter size blisters or larger*(the little ones if you have the time).* Don't sweat the little ones.* You'll see when the laminate is dry.* In some cases when the blister is ground out you can fill the next day.* Wet out with un-thickened epoxy and then fill in with some West System 404 or equivalent, sand and paint.* You're done.* I've done hundreds without any problems.

IMHO there is to much said that scares the hell of people and boats regarding blisters.* The problems with blisters are for the most part,*well over rated.* From what you have described your boat is in no danger.

Enjoy the winter.

Larry/Lena
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La Cruz, Nayarit, MX

-- Edited by Larry M on Monday 22nd of November 2010 04:06:09 PM
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Old 11-22-2010, 03:47 PM   #5
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RE: What did I get myself into??

Well said Larry.
It's really no big deal. Grind 'em out give it day or two to dry, fill and paint.
I find it easier to cut them out with a small chisel and fill with vinylester filler - sets fast - and then prime with 2 coats Primecon. No need to sand the Primecon before antifouling.
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Old 11-22-2010, 04:21 PM   #6
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RE: What did I get myself into??

Ever use tiger hair or kitty hair?
Green filler with glass added.

NAPA sells it. I have seen it used on blisters. Don't know how it has held up one fellow said 5 years and running.

SD
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Old 11-22-2010, 05:30 PM   #7
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RE: What did I get myself into??

Hiya,
** Tiger/kitty hair sounds like polyester filler.* The accepted norm seems to be to go with epoxy.* If you're going to go to the trouble of grinding filling and sanding, might as well use the better material.
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Old 11-22-2010, 05:33 PM   #8
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RE: What did I get myself into??

Quote:
skipperdude wrote:

Ever use tiger hair or kitty hair?
Green filler with glass added.

NAPA sells it. I have seen it used on blisters. Don't know how it has held up one fellow said 5 years and running.

SD

I'm not sure I would use an automotive product below the water line.* For the minimal over all coat of what you are doing I would go with a marine*epoxy, or a vinyl ester resin or a 3-M product.** JMHO

Larry/Lena
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La Cruz, Nayarit, MX

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Old 11-22-2010, 06:41 PM   #9
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RE: What did I get myself into??

Quote:
skipperdude wrote:

Ever use tiger hair or kitty hair?
Green filler with glass added.
Not the right stuff, as it soaks up water.* Even above the water line it's the wrong stuff. I also agree that blisters are very over rated.* Unless they are into the laminate, you can leave them alone for years.* My last two boats had them, and Iignored them.* They didn't go away, but there were no problems either.....Arctic Traveller

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Old 11-22-2010, 07:33 PM   #10
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RE: What did I get myself into??

Were it me, I'd get a moisture meter to see what the saturation of the hull was, and wait for it to get within the range recommended by West Systems to apply a mixture of epoxy and sanding filler.* Overcoat with with epoxy undercoater and you should have a more or less permanent fix.
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Old 11-22-2010, 07:45 PM   #11
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RE: What did I get myself into??

Tim,
Wondered what you were up to. Didn't Scott check these with the moisture meter? I am ignoring and monitoring the ones on Victoria. The expoxy as others said works fine. Hit the blister with a small D/A or whatever works and let it dry o/n or a couple of days and lay in the epoxy. if you are anal about it, build up the epoxy a little and come back later and sand it fair so you don't get a 'divot' where the repair was. After you have this down to a science, come over the East coast and do mine, I'll buy the beer!
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Old 11-23-2010, 04:48 AM   #12
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RE: What did I get myself into??

"2 thru hull ball valves due to broken handles,"

Now is the time to install real sea cocks and pitch the Home Depot crap.
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Old 11-23-2010, 05:38 AM   #13
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RE: What did I get myself into??

Thanks guys for all your support and info. Good to hear from you Marc. Scotts (surveyor) *report The belly of the hull is covered with dime to quarter size blisters, 90% are along the stbd side. These blisters do not appear to be structural. I think his percentages are wrong though. Skip the beer, but a winning lottery ticket might do it!


West Systems has a good .PDF file describing the cause and fix of blisters.*http://209.20.76.247/ss/assets/howto...Prevention.pdf


Phil: Blisters dont form in the bottom paint, but rather in the laminate. All you other guys have repaired them and it sounds similar to what West Systems is advising. Im going to skip the kitty hair though.


West Systems strongly advises ensuring the hull is as dry as can be and they offer several ways of determining this. The most practical is with a moisture meter or taping plastic over several ground out blisters to form an air tight seal. Moisture will fog and drip onto the plastic which needs to be cleaned periodically. After the rate of moisture released has decreased to a point where little moisture is observed after several days, the hull is dry. Pretty much what Carl (Delfin) is saying.


As a side note: Blisters are more likely to form and become bigger in warmer water. Also as Phil mentioned, a hard bottom paint may act as a barrier to prevent water from reaching the gel coat, the purpose of a barrier coat. However in warmer waters, hard paint doesnt work well in preventing the growth of barnacles. The ablative nature of the soft paints does this well and is widely used in Florida. When hauled my hull had not one barnacle on it. The running gear is a different story though. I spent the better part of a day grinding the barnacles off the underwater metal.


I agree with Jeff and Larry, blisters are way overrated. Ive never heard of a boat having structural issues due to blisters, but Im no expert. Like I said, I wish Id left well enough alone. But to be fair more time was spent in learning the best/easiest way to deal with these blisters. The local mechanic at my boat yard advised me to use 80 grit paper with a palm sander. After spending 15 minutes upside down pushing against the hull with the sander and not exposing one blister, I knew there had to be a better way. After 4 trips to home-depot a new grinder and trying out several different grinding wheels, I can do a blister in about 15 seconds. Next learning curve is filling all the divots.


Frank, no home depot stuff used. The thru hulls & ball valves are all OEM bronze. Mushroom thru hull with a ball valve. Sea cocks are great and I've heard used when*structural*integrity*is important, like when used as a step. But you have to drill 4 holes and glass in a pad to do it right. Too much work, I've got my hands full and this is no Fleming.
Frank, how long are you in FL? We were going to do the*<em style="font-weight:bold;font-style:normal;">Caloosahatchee River [/i]<em style="font-style:normal;">in early November but the wx turned bad. Will try again after we splash hopefully in late Feb. Then perhaps you can see my not so Fleming. [/i]
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Old 11-23-2010, 02:01 PM   #14
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RE: What did I get myself into??

Quote:
Arctic Traveller wrote:


skipperdude wrote:

Ever use tiger hair or kitty hair?
Green filler with glass added.
Not the right stuff, as it soaks up water.* Even above the water line it's the wrong stuff. I don't know if we are talking about the same stuff. I have a small blob of it stuck to my*steel rudder. Been there for about 3 years now. Doesn't look to be absorbing anything.

SD

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Old 11-24-2010, 11:01 AM   #15
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RE: What did I get myself into??

"I've heard used when structural integrity is important, like when used as a step. But you have to drill 4 holes and glass in a pad to do it right. Too much work,"

The lack of any bolts means the thru hull fitting is the sole support for the valve.

If the handle was broken off by a failed attempt to close a ball valve , at least the same sized wooden plug will work in the failed valve or the hole in the boat when the valve is in your hand.

Tie the plugs near every valve of any type that is not properly installed.


"Frank, how long are you in FL?"

Have no idea how long Frank will be in FL, but FF (aka, Fast Fred) will be in FL till about April 25 or so.

With some weeks out for RV and a boat Round FL trip , when the new pilot house roof is done.

The dock is here , weather we are or not., but the workshop is closed.
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Old 11-25-2010, 08:44 AM   #16
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RE: What did I get myself into??

Tim
Before you tear into your blister job, you would do well to read, learn and understand the science behind WHAT MAKES A BLISTER.
I can tell you this: the work you are doing now will be for NAUGHT. In several years you will have more of the same. That is because you are not removing the SOURCE of the blisters. I've been there done it and got the T-shirt, as they say.

One fellow Defever owner once said " blisters are a fact of life for most boats*and really nothing to get worried about in a Defever"
I have a different point of view, and dont agree with this conclusion.

Look at the photos in the album*here, then you decide it this bothers you.
http://tinyurl.com/dkebc9
What you are looking at is a boat who has had the bottom soda blasted. Once the paint was removed, the true assessment of blisters could take place. Prior to this, it was thought that there were perhaps "only" several hundred. (the grinded patchs were moisture meter sample areas). And a surveyor told me I had "about 20 or so" blisters.


Go here for repair if you are in the north east or Chesapeake Bay area. These guys are the best I found after extensive research.
http://www.ospreycomposites.com/blisters.htm

and this article is a good explanation of WHY blisters form
http://www.zahnisers.com/repair/blister/blister1.htm


R.
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Old 11-25-2010, 08:50 AM   #17
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RE: What did I get myself into??

I did the blister repair the right way using the Hot-Vac system. http://www.hotvac.com/*Peeled the hull, post cured it, then relaminated. Nary a blister since, and that was oh, 6 years ago.
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Old 11-25-2010, 11:22 AM   #18
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RE: What did I get myself into??

The best blister repair would be to take the vessel to CT, RI MA or ME , where it gets cold and dry for the winter.

Grind the bubbles open , cover so air can circulate, and come back in 6 months and it will be nice and dry. In a building would be even better.
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Old 11-25-2010, 04:50 PM   #19
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What did I get myself into??

Quote:
Keith wrote:

I did the blister repair the right way using the Hot-Vac system. http://www.hotvac.com/*Peeled the hull, post cured it, then relaminated. Nary a blister since, and that was oh, 6 years ago.

When we were in OZ,*friends had*a blister job done by the same method that Keith did.* We elected for the peel and dry.* We had problems 2 years later.* In hind site, I probably should have left it alone or had the Hot-Vac system.* Our friends have*the same results as Keith.

Larry/Lena
Hobo KK42
Chamela, Jalisco, MX*

-- Edited by Larry M on Thursday 25th of November 2010 05:50:59 PM
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Old 11-27-2010, 02:51 PM   #20
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RE: What did I get myself into??

I found it easier, since it sounds like none of them are structural, to just leave them alone. Save yourself the money and time trying to get rid of some, only to have others appear. You're chasing your tail. Spend the time boating. Blisters will give you an ulcer if you let them... so don't let them.
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