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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mast Step Repair, Part 1

Recall that some intruding water had been discovered in the plywood core of the main mast step. After cutting out the top layer of laminate, it was discovered the plywood was only wet, and not "soft". Soft indicates rotting plywood, which would require removal and replacement. Turns out the plywood was pretty solid and intact.

So I left the plywood exposed to the recent warm weather and let it dry naturally for a couple weeks. Yesterday, with the core seemingly as dry as it was gonna get, I applied the first layers of bulk glass to replace the original laminate.

Preparing the surface of the plywood core
First thing was score the plywood core by cutting a number of grooves, about a half inch deep, with a circular saw. This will help the resin penetrate the plywood and the laminate adhere to the core.
Wetting out glass
Next, about six or seven layers of E-glass was laminated atop the core to build up thickness. The glass is 17 ounce bi-axial in alternating layers of 45/45 and 0/90 degree weaves. The resin is vinylester.
Lamination build layers finished
Once fully cured, the next step is to apply finish glass and fair the surface. This will involve lots of grinding and sanding (always fun). Stay tuned for part 2.

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