Hi Doc:
As I mention previously, thanks for the prior informative response. This time around well, I have another technical question. The boat is a 1973 Post 40'.

The planned survey process includes a moisture analysis. Since I'm a technical person how does one come to the conclusion a piece or section of material has an excessive amount of water? If an electronic device is used, and it provides an unsatisfactory reading then I assume the unsat needs to corrected, and then the reading's are redone, right? I have a theory that if you hold the moisture measuring instrument to a glass full of water it would read off the chart. Knowing that, then anything less in the glass would still read the same until the glass is empty.

My plan is to make a grid plane of the inspected surfaces and then place the "number's" where the happen to fall. Thus, I believe I have a percentage of the base to work a figure of pass or fail, or in my case, pass is purchase and fail is walk away. So, if I find a moisture content of say, 20 or 25 percent below the linear water line, and 10 or 15 percent above the water line that would be the "figures" about where I need to consider which way to go. Although anything above 5 percent may be the figure.

Ideally, I guess when the moisture analysis is redone following a drying period everything is then ok. But, what about where the moisture is originating? I mean this is a boat. Should there be a serious attempt to maintain dry bilges? Or is a little water sloshing around acceptable.

If I'm told the numbers are ok by the surveyor, and I decide to go ahead with the purchase, I can let the boat sit on the ground during the summer with blowers running into the bilge area until the moisture level falls into a sat area. But, I'm still not sure what that is. I mean moisture is moisture. Dry is dry. A log will float until it displaces too much water, so it can hold some water, up to that point.

I would use the products you have available when the wood is dry, if I know the moisture analysis is the best way to go initially.

Thank's Doc .......................

Charles M.

Oh, Man!! Ya gotta love technology!

I can easily envision how a moisture meter works, but what is an acceptable level in wood? Damned if I know. And you're right when you ask, Where? As you say, this is a BOAT, which, ideally at least, DOES sit in water. I would probably be asking the surveyor a bunch of questions about moisture testing criteria, history, variabilities with wood type and location on the hull, his experience, etc. etc.

I dunno.... It ain't real hard to go down a hull with a hammer and find where the dull spots are. But, hey! Maybe I have something to learn here. Let me know how it all turns out and what your impressions were.

Surveyors are often pretty conservative guys, so you could end up with a situation that nothing less than $25,000 worth of ripping and tearing at wood will make the surveyor/bank(?) happy. I mean, this IS a 1973 boat, and nothing is going to be perfect. It seems to me that if the meter sets the criteria, nothing less than pulling out the *wet* wood and replacing it with *dry* wood would be acceptable.

The bilge? Show me a planked boat that old that has been run at sea and has dry bilges and I will get down on my knees and pray to King Neptune. Planked boats leak, unless you are totally obsessive and have a lot of time and money. That's why there are bilge pumps. The secret is to keep the leaking within reasonable limits. We sailed a 1940 hull over 20,000 miles at sea and kept a log on how many strokes it took the pump the bilge after every watch. When it got too bad we hove to and checked things out. Worm-hole here, broken keel-bolt there.... Tell ya what, though, we were out there sailing, not sitting around thinking about dry bilges. Our current hull was built in 1889. Pretty old, huh? Does it leak? You bet! Do I watch it? Absolutely! We have two independent bilge pump systems with off/on switches, both with red indicator lights so you can see when they cycle on. The big pump light is up in the wheel house, easily seen from the helm. The smaller pump light is aft where I can see it from my bunk. I know what those bilges are doing. Could I make the boat dry? Maybe, but it would cost me more in time and money than I have.

When you buy an older wood boat, it's a question of time and money. You make sure the hull is fundamentally sound, and then negotiate with the seller about all the little things that need to be fixed. You get it at the right price. Easier said than done, I know, but a good going-in position. Use the surveyor creatively, and ask him a lot of questions that have real-world answers.

Our products can be helpful to wood boat owners, and you can do some pretty amazing repairs if your preparation is right and you're using premium products. But they can't be used indiscriminately. Let me know about your survey because I'm really interested in the moisture-meter business. And let me know what is discovered, and I'll tell you whether I think our products can be useful for you.