We removed the sole on Escapade this past winter. It was glued (5200 I believe) down. Removed the screws and used flat pry bars ( wonderbar) to get it up. Made posterboard templates first. Did it in sections so as to have something to help align the new pieces. Replaced the entire sole rather than trying to get a match between old & new. The pieces that wern't rotten came up in one piece, the rotten sections came up like toothpicks. Used a 1 1/2" wide flat chisle to scrape the glue & remainder of the wood from the tops of the stringers.
We cleaned (wire brush & course scotch brite pads) & painted the bilge areas under the sole. Has done wonders in eliminating "boat breath". Coated the underside & edges of the new sole w/West System epoxy (2 coats) & used spar varnish on the top side. Also removed the keel bolts, cleaned & rebedded them while they we're readily accessible.
Just used the screws to hold new sole in place. Filled old holes in stringers w/epoxy and drilled for the new ones w/o worrying about hitting an old screw hole.
All in all, not a bad project depending on your woodworking skills. 3/4" teak & holly ply is about $215.00 pre sheet. Took 2 sheets to do the 34. Have pictures of the project if your interested.
Have fun & sail fast.
Bud E34 "Escapade"
When I re-finished the sole pieces from our 1988 boat, we were lucky in not having any rot to deal with, and also that Ericson had only used screws and plugs to put the sections down - no glue.
OTOH the first owner had done zero finishing and the surface veneer was worn thru in a couple of small spots and there were divots here and there; it was nearly black with ground-in dirt.
After a trip to "The Big Dipper" aka the local furniture refinishers (ditto for the table and leaves) we filled all the old screw holes with teak plugs, and did some small teak "inlays" where there were larger gouges. All was sanded smooth. Then both top and bottom were varnished with several coats. What a difference!
I put the sole sections back down by drilling new holes, countersunk just enough to let the new screws be flush. Now the whole area can be accessed in about 20 minutes. The new screws are BRONZE square-drive, inserted only in the teak parts and not the holly strips. They blend in so well that no one notices.
While the sole was out, I also ground smooth and sanded and white gel-coated the rest of the bilge. This eliminated dirt and odor.
I got the other pictures back channel. Did you replace the entire sole, or just the part around the mast? I am very ambivalent about starting this project since my sole is not rotted and is varnished. However, I live in terror of water getting on it. The latest precipitating factor is the leaking of 3/4 of a bottle of WM bilge cleaner that developed a pinhole leak. The substance got under the sole and has turned one corner black. BTW, the Hinckley Guide to Yacht Care suggests putting epoxy on the top side too, before the varnish and that "properly applied epoxy or poylyurethane finish to a sole should last for two or three years". Yeah, right.
Some good pics provided above. I just replaced the sole of my 32' 1986. Briefly here are the steps I took:
1. Rip, tear, chisel out the existing sole and remove the marine ply that exist between the fiberglass ribs. I then used adhesive remover to get right down to the fiberglass (make sure it is compatible with fiberglass!)
2. take this opportunity to clean out your bildges
3. make new marine ply pieces to go back in - make sure they fit perfectly as you need to have the floor as flat as possible so that the teak & holly will can connect! I epoxyed the ply, then barrier coat, then painted with bildge coat.
4. make a really good template!!!
5. Two pieces of 4'x8' teak. Epoxy the back and then 3 coats of the first part of Ultimate Sole (http://www.ultimatesole.com/) - great stuff. I did this so there would be less chance of any splintering when cutting the teak & holly.
6. After cutting I put down 12 coats of the finish from ultimate sole.
7. As for the adhesive - everyone has their religions.
8. There are 4 pieces in mine but I put it down in 5 pieces. The bow section from the forward bildge access forward - this was due to the rotting around the mast that I get - which hopefully I fixed this time but if I didn't then next time I only have to take out this forward section. I put a 1.5" strip of teak down as a boarder then the middle section which requires a second piece under the table, another strip of teak then the aft section which also requires a small strip by the nav desk. After all in I did 3 more finish coats to seal the seams.
Why did you decide to glue the replacement down instead of screwing it? I haven't stopped by ML Condon yet to check what's available, but wouldn't it be easier (if more expensive) to go with a single thicker layer of ply wood instead of the two layer system used on our boats? I think that's what Escapade did.
Good question - not so good response. I have seen two others go with screws and didn't like the effect - the "feel" wasn't solid (which may have been the job that was done) and you really need to do a good job with the screws. Just felt I was more capable of doing the "glue" job.
One note about Blair's concern -- and I do relate to it -- about the solidity and feel on putting the sole down with screws...
I first used SS screws because that was what was under the plugs that Ericson put in. It was too eye-catching and looked (subjectively...) "too loud" to me against the varnished teak and holly sole.
I then went to the bronze screws with the square drive head. This looks classy, if you happen to really notice them, and also prevents scratching your foot or tearing the spinnaker cloth if you stomp on it while repacking it.
Strength will depend on number and layout of the screw pattern -- we measured and gridded the pattern for strength and also appearance, should any picky persons want to look closely.
(Ericson had orginally put the screws in with quite a random pattern and then teak-plugged the holes to make it all "blend in"...)
Note that it has always been considered "poor practice" to have the bilge sections so fastened/enclosed that one could not easily access all parts of them to remove any material that might have migrated there that would clog a pump intake. The fact that most all production boat builders have wanted to "furniture-ize" this area to help sell more boats to inexperienced boaters has not changed the requirements of seaworthiness and damage control...
I was on a Swan a couple of years ago and remember being impressed by the way the sole rested on a metal frame and any section could be quickly removed without tools to access the mechanical systems underneath. Not sure where to get similar fasteners or how hard they are to install. There is also a lot to be said for being able to remove the sole for re-varnishing.
I used 1" #10 flat head screws aprox 8" apart on the stringers on Escapade w/o any type of glue. Reason was access to bilge areas if neccessary and didn't think I'd need it. Have sailed/raced all summer with no problems. No feeling of looseness or "spongyness". Have had her over on 30+ deg. heel so I believe I've stressed her enough that if something was going to move it would have. After spending $440.00 plus driving 3 hrs. to get the 3/4" ply, the cost of the screws was insignificant. I do like Loren's use of the brass screws. Where were you when I could have used that info? I believe if I were to do it over I would consider that. Will get some pic's of the finished job to help inspire you. Also have more pic's of the ravages of salt water & uncaring P.O's. BTW, used epoxy on the screw threads that went into the TAFG. Helps seal the laminate & holds much better than just screwing into the laminate.
Have fun & sail fast
Bud E34 "Escapade"
I used brass screws along with brass countersunk washers (see
picture posted in headliner thread) on all my interior battens. The
countersunk washers provide more bearing surface for the screw
heads and thus are much less likely to cause cracking in the wood. The
washers have a nice aesthetic ( I like them anyway) showing the
barest hint of an outline around the head, and would work just as well
in a removable cabin sole. They are available through Lee Valley tools.
Good advice has been given in this thread and I would only second
again that epoxy be used to seal the grain on the ply-especially
the end grain. It will ruin your day to have gone to the effort only
to have water intrusion wick up inside and turn that expensive, pretty
veneer black under all the varnish.
I would suggest using bronze screws, not brass. In the marine environment, brass will deteriorate.
On a related note, in June I spent 10 days on a boat that had a synthetic teak and holly sole. It was so good that it took me a couple of days to realize that it was not wood. The boat was built in 1996 and had been raced around the world at least once and the sole still looked new. When it came time to leave and we had to clean the boat, I just sloshed hot water all over the floor "boards". I see the new J/100 comes with a synthetic sole. That may be the future.
Great posting with lots of valuable information. Bud, great photos that really help drive home what's below the sole! I began a quest to improve our sole about two years ago. It was dirty, appeared to be stained and was generally, not very nice looking. Since it was glued & screwed, I decided to try and refinish in site. Although it took a fair number of hours, I was able to get down through the old varnish (palm sander and flexible pads), lighten/remove stains with oxalic acid and given that no "black" stains have since appeared, I'm guessing there wasn't a lot of rot below (I hope). When all the cleaning and sanding was done, I finished the sole with Interlux polyurethane, putting six coats on. Truth is, it looked like new and now, about 18 months later, it was time to scuff it up a bit to repair some scratches/gouges and put on a few more coats. All in all, it has been a successful endeavor as long as I keep on top of little problems before they grow. I may yet have to rip it out -- if for no other reason to see what's really in the bilge; for now, I'm going to leave well enough alone. Beside, with all the info in this string, I now know what I'm up against.
A couple more pic's. One shows whats left of the table base, the other the tools needed to lift the old sole. The synthetic teak & holly sounds interesting. Will follow up with a couple pic's of the finished job. Don't want to scare anybody with the scope of the project. Finished product worth it.
Thanks for the pictures. I have been contemplating this as a project for this winter.
Looking at your bilge, two questions:
First, what finish or paint is that on the bilge.
Secondly, you say you re-bedded the keel bolts. It looks like the washers were painted first. What did you use to bed the bolts. How tight did you torque the bolts? Did you, for instance, use an extension on your flex wrench to get more mechanical advantage? I am afraid of either over- or under-torquing the bolts.
I stopped by ML Condon in White Plains (NY) this morning to check out the the cabin sole teak and holly plywood. A sheet of 3/4" (4' x 8') is $216 and a sheet of 1/4" is 147. I 'll have to measure, but if memory serves me, 3/4" might be too thick. I wonder if a better solution might be to make a template of 1/4" marine ply and after that is fit, glue the 1/4" teak and holly (cut slightly oversize) to it and then sand it to the size of the template. Also, has anyone tried to epoxy the top side of the sole before applying varnish? It seeems to that penetrating epoxy like "Git Rot" would make the new sole absolutely waterproof and if applied before cutting, would eliminate splintering.
Seems to me you can get that teak ply in 1/2". Of course the
ultimate would be solid wood glued up with or without contrasting
inlays. Regarding epoxies, you could use Smiths penetrating or even
West systems cut with acetone. To help reduce tearout when
cross cutting veneer ply, you can score it with a mat knife before
the cut and always use a high quality sharp blade in the saw.