Required maintenance in a stich/glue boat after the build?

Outboard designs up to 14'

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skifffl
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun May 18, 2014 4:25 am
Location: Fort Myers Beach, Florida

Required maintenance in a stich/glue boat after the build?

Postby skifffl » Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:09 pm

Hello,

On the forum, when I see the use of the words Maintenance in regards to a build, what exactly does that mean? I've owned four boats in my life and they were all gel-coat/fiberglass mold boats (I hope I am using the correct terms here). None required any maintenance on the hull provided you did no damage to the gel coat. In fact, my oldest boat was over 30 years old and the fiberglass was just fine.

Does the hull of a stitch and glue require re-application of epoxy to ensure no water damage? Does the epoxy break down and eventually allow water intrusion?

I also see that fiberglassing the outside of the hull is said to "extend the life"? What does that mean exactly? Does that mean that the fiberglass simply helps minimize damage if you run aground for example or does it somehow help to apply this over the epoxy sealed plywood with a second layer of epoxy?

Thanks for any insight, really glad to have joined this forum.

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vupilot
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Re: Required maintenance in a stich/glue boat after the buil

Postby vupilot » Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:10 pm

The maintenance doesn't usually involve the epoxy or fiberglass but rather the finish on the surface, the paint and/or varnish. Depending on how you store the boat and how often and how hard it is used depends on how often a freshening up will be required. Most of these effects are due to UV sunlight, general wear and tear from use and perhaps some movement from expanding and contracting of the wood.

A boat left outside all season will probably need yearly attention. A boat that is garaged or covered nicely except when in use may go as many as 5-10 years. The work usually involves a scuff sanding and a couple fresh coats of finish, maybe some touch ups from wear and tear as well.

Fiberglass does help minimize damage from abrasions, dock rash, bumping items in the water, running aground, etc. In stitch and glue boat building the fiberglass is really a part of the structure and rigidity of the design. It also seals the wood and adds a barrier or encapsulation that helps prevent some of the unwanted tendencies of wooden boats such as expanding and contracting of the wood and other traits, yet it remains nearly completely invisible when applied properly so the beauty of the wood remains unblemished. Essentially this gives the benefits and ease of use of a modern fiberglass boat, but having real wood look and construction. The difference in the maintenance from a modern boat is do it yourself marine paint and varnish is not quite as durable as a factory applied gel coat. So you tend to be a little more careful bumping or rubbing into things and the suns UV will affect it a little more noticeably.

skifffl
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun May 18, 2014 4:25 am
Location: Fort Myers Beach, Florida

Re: Required maintenance in a stich/glue boat after the buil

Postby skifffl » Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:17 am

Awesome, thanks vupilot. That makes sense, I can also see why using this build technique requires good marine plywood is a necessity to minimize expansion/contraction etc.?

Thanks so much for the help, what a powerful tool a forum with this much experience provides!


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