The Rot Doctor


Subject: Lightning Restoration (and a new customer!)
Date: Mon, 03 Sep 2001


I called late last week to order 2 gallons of the Cold Weather CPES™ for use on a 1956 Lightning I am in the process of restoring. I was originally going to strip the interior and exterior of the hull to bare wood, treat with CPES™ and varnish/paint, leaving the canvassed deck as it was. I also ordered a pint of your FILL-IT Epoxy filler for use in areas under the rub rail that needed a little more TLC. Your website is a *great* resource for a project such as this and I've already stocked up on the various materials needed (including 3M 4200 & 5200).

I think I will be calling on Tuesday to order some more CPES... As with all projects, this one is going to involve a lot more than was seen at first look. The original deck for the boat had been given new canvas by the last owner, but, I suspected that the new canvas job might have been done to hide a problem or two (wouldn't be the first time this happened to me...). After pondering what might be under that brand new canvas (and seeing a "fuzzy bottom" on some of the more distant existing deck planks), I tore the canvas off. Surprise - the existing deck planking will have to be replaced. No question about the old decking - it well beyond resurrection for many reasons. Thankfully the hull is solid.

I am now trying to figure out what material would be best to use for the new decking, and how to most effectively use CPES™ to protect it. I've asked around and heard that when treated properly, high grade 3/8" plywood is fine under canvas on old Lightnings, but that special attention must be paid to the edges to protect them from water intrusion. I assume that CPES™ would be a good choice for edges and surfaces if I choose the plywood route (I will have new oak rub rails around the edges as well). Do you have a suggested program for CPES™ and Plywood? What would be the best type of plywood (wood species) to use? Should I be considering something other than plywood for the deck?

The plywood is fine, and certainly the easiest. CPES protects plywood fine. Any standard exterior grade (untreated) plywood will work. The key here is to cut it and trim it to size ready for installation, and then saturate it with CPES, especially the cut edges. Let the edges absorb all the CPES that they will. We have test panels of ply sitting outdoors that have been CPES treated and there is no sign of deterioration or delamination.

When you go to install the plywood, soak all drilled pilot holes with CPES before putting in the fastener (no need to let the CPES cure here -- just put the screw in right after the CPES-treatment). If you use self-tapping screws, then put a little puddle of CPES down and drill in the screw through the puddle. The threads will pull the CPES into the wood.

Going a little further, what would you recommend using as a finish over the CPES on the new deck before I put the new canvas on?

Just CPES. Any of the canvas bonding material will stick to it just fine. One good coat of the CPES should be fine. Too much CPES and you'll develop an epoxy slick-coating. it's good to leave a little "tooth" to the wood.

I would also coat the new canvas with one coat of the CPES. Great protection.

I will mention here that we have a new product -- in stock but not yet up on the web (coming, though) -- called RHINO TOP. It's an acrylic/epoxy water-based top coating with spherical sand suspended in it. Thick, non-skid, and requires two coatings. The US Navy uses it aboard the carrier Nimitz, and our testing with it shows that it is good on a CPES primed surface. It's available in some colors, a medium gray, a couple of light tans, green and a tile red. About $38.00/gal. and 200 sq. ft coverage per gallon. We have tech data and a color sheet available if you're interested.

Finally, what type of paint would you recommend over the CPES on the exterior of the hull? I will be dry sailing this boat (roll-on / roll off trailer) and need something that is fairly abrasion resistant.

Suggest a one-part polyurethane. There are several brands available at marine stores. They bond well with the CPES and have a pretty hard, glossy finish. There are two part polyurethane paints out there, but they are terrible to apply.

Again, I appreciate all of the knowledge you make available on your site.
It has been an invaluable resource for this project.

David S.
Lightning #6288


Come on back anytime with questions. I used to sail Lightnings when I was a kid. Fun boats. Good for you on keeping an old one going!


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