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vcirelli

Bulk Head Repair

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The bulkhead had about 2'x1' area that was rotten. It was so soft that I could poke my finger into it. Not exactly what you would hope for from a structural member of the boat.

I've known about it since I bought the boat, so not a surprise but something I didn't want to tackle right away. At any rate, the time came and I started the repair during the winter season (although I live in LA, so winter here means it's dipping into the frigid 60s

To start, I removed the furniture surrounding the rotten bulkhead. Ericson's craftsmanship is impressive, it's also a pain in the ass to disassemble because of how well put together. Unfortunately, the settee near the mast had rotten ply as well, so I figured it was time to rebuild that as well.


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First thing was to remove the furniture, and cut-out the rotten section of the bulkhead, while being careful to leave the layer of formica that exists on the backside of the plywood laminate, as it is the white covering for the head. You can separate this pretty easily using a oscillating tool, and palette knife. I didn't want to replace the whole bulkhead, because the rest of it is solid. I also didn't want to deal with replacing the bathroom wall covering, so maintaining that was important.

I used a smaller than recommended scarf overlap, to keep the area that I was replacing below the settee. This way I didn't have to deal with replacing the teak veneer. That said, the joint is super solid. It was epoxied into place, and a half inch marine ply batten epoxied and screwed into place. The bulkhead is secured to the liner with lag bolts at the bottom. All ply was treated with penetrating epoxy from total boat, and then secured into place with thickened epoxy.

This was likely overkill for what was really needed structurally.

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Test fit of the new settee pieces. Reusing the original trim, although I'll need to repair it as I damaged bits of it removing it from the original boards. Behind you can see the replaced bulkhead area and batten. I may paint it with bilge paint.

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I rebuilt the settee, using marine 1/2 ply and teak veneer. I found that bleaching the wood, and then applying a 'traditional cherry stain', with a bit of 'ipswich stain' mixed in, gives you a very close match to one of the original panels (#3 of the swatches). Got these from Home Depot. I put satin varnish over it all.

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The rough fit, I still need to fix the trim pieces, and then put the screw plugs in/varnish...
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Overall - learned a lot, and preparing myself to redo the sole next winter! But now, it's time to sail!

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Updated 03-16-2019 at 10:36 PM by vcirelli

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Comments

  1. Loren Beach's Avatar
    Well beyond my meager wood working skills.
    Very professional result.


    Your photo of the shroud "load transfer" into the TAFG at the bottom of those big Navtec SS rods is a helpful resource for other curious owners, as well.

    Well Done!

    Updated 03-18-2019 at 06:35 AM by Loren Beach
  2. sgwright67's Avatar
    Nice job, and always good to see more photos of the mysterious TAFG! Are those rounds access ports original, or did you add them? How much space is behind the access ports?
  3. MMLOGAN's Avatar
    Vince,

    It will be a new boat when you get done. Beautiful work!
  4. vcirelli's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by sgwright67
    Nice job, and always good to see more photos of the mysterious TAFG! Are those rounds access ports original, or did you add them? How much space is behind the access ports?
    Thanks - The round access ports were there when I got the boat..I believe they are original. The space behind the ports to the hull vary from three or four inches in depth.
  5. vcirelli's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by MMLOGAN
    Vince,

    It will be a new boat when you get done. Beautiful work!
    Thanks Matt! I'd still be bobbing around at Christmas Tree Cove if it weren't for you Lets catch up soon man-
  6. Christian Williams's Avatar
    Great job. What was the source of the rot? Pesky leak from the head?
  7. vcirelli's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Williams
    Great job. What was the source of the rot? Pesky leak from the head?
    Exactly, as far as I can tell, it was a leak from where the bulkhead head laminate material meets the ridge of the shower pot liner in the head.

    Before the repair I could see the PO had tried to re-seal the edge with additional silicone or something. I believe the water from the shower would seep into that area, get trapped and do it's handy work.

    OR, I'm completely wrong
  8. windblown's Avatar
    Found the bottom 1 of our bulkhead to be wet (and white with mildew these week), so I am curious to hear more about what you find when tracing the source. Of course, there are so many helpful posts in the forum about tracing water leaks. . .
  9. vcirelli's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by windblown
    Found the bottom 1 of our bulkhead to be wet (and white with mildew these week), so I am curious to hear more about what you find when tracing the source. Of course, there are so many helpful posts in the forum about tracing water leaks. . .

    Since I've owned the boat, I've never had water build up at the bulkhead, the boat came to me with a dry, but rotten bulkhead. So, there was no recent evidence for me to trace the path.

    The first thing I checked was the hose/connection/potable water tank on the port side - I filled the tanks full and went sailing to get the boat to heel. No water. Then I check the seal from the deck, because water theoretically could leak through the deck fitting, and run down the hose, dropping off at the bottom of the curve that just so happens to be at the edge of the bulkhead.

    It wasn't any of those things.

    I left the hose going around every fitting on deck on the port side, and still not water intrusion.

    Then I looked in the head, and could see a few attempts from the PO from where he tried sealing the edge of the bulkhead wall with the shower pot. My guess is years of using the shower damaged the bulkhead as water would get trapped between the liner lip (where the lag bolts screw in) and the bulkhead. I sprayed some water against the liner lip and bulkhead from inside the head and sure enough it found it's way to the bottom of the bulkhead.

    Good luck and hope this helps.