Subject: Rotting wood core
Date: Mon, 23 Mar 1998

I have a 1977 Catalina 27 that has an approximately 2 square foot soft spot in the bow due to the core rotting. I have been told that the best way to fix this is to drill a number of holes in the deck (to the core) and fill this in with Epoxy. I have several questions: 1) Would this be the best way to fix the problem, 2) If so, could this be done from the underside (inside the cabin and drill up)- would the epoxy settle correctly 3) which of your products would I need to complete the job- I assume the injector kit is necessary also. Thanks in advance.

Well, the epoxy solution is the easiest. The alternative is to cut off the deck over the rot (and beyond) replace the coring, re-fasten the deck piece with epoxy and then paint to cover the cut marks etc. Not easy, but more thorough.

The epoxy injection method will work, but it is really necessary to have the bad coring reasonably dry. Epoxy does not easily replace water. You need to check that out -- how wet is the rotten coring. You can tell by looking at what comes out on the end of your drill. We have used hair dryers and blowers to dry out damp wood.

I don't think it could be satisfactorily done from inside. Our Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer (CPES) will wick up in dry wood, but you're going to have to follow that with regular Layup & Laminating Resin as a fill, and keeping that in place without dripping out from underneath could be a problem. It might just work if there is enough fore-aft cant so you could inject into the high end and keep on going until it moves to the injection hole. I dunno....I'd probably tackle it from the top.

Basically what you need to do is use the CPES to impregnate all the rotten core, give it a couple of weeks to cure out, and then come back with the Layup & Laminating Resin. A number of injection holes would be best because it would give the CPES solvents some evaporation routes (wouldn't take so long). Now, what will happen with the CPES is that it will penetrate far past the rotten wood and into the good wood beyond. This is good since the wood will then have some protection from future rot. But it means that your cure time will be longer and the solvent odor will be around longer. Kind of your decision on how far you want to go.

For the existing soft spot I'd make a guess at a 2-quart unit of the CPES and a 2 quart unit of the Layup & Laminating Resin. You might also want to consider a small Fill-It Epoxy to finish off the hole(s). And yes, the Injection Kit would make getting it in there easier.

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