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Subject: Balsa cored deck
Date: Thursday, February 18, 2021
I have had 1965 Pearson Ariel under my care since 1993. Two previous instances of soft spots in balsa cored deck were repaired by drilling holes through the fiberglass, saturating with git rot and sealing the holes with marine tex mixed to match the grey deck. Currently a section of deck has minor deflection I suspect is due to delamination. What are your recommendations for repair of the core, sealing the holes, and refinishing the non skid? The deck is in need of refinishing. Ideally the finish would be a non skid suitable for application to The cockpit seats as well.
The first boat I ever sailed on was the venerable Ariel. Kudos to you for choosing and maintaining such a classic!
For doing the core repair, the S-1™ Sealer to strengthen the core that remains, and General Purpose Epoxy™ Resin, in whatever temperature formula is appropriate, would be to two products to do this repair. Keep in mind that the S-1™ Sealer, unlike Git-Rot, is not great at filling voids. It is MUCH better at saturating and strengthening the core. But any that doesn’t absorb in should be evacuated before cure. Our penetrating epoxy injection kit (#107) is great for putting the S-1™ in, and removing any extra. Since the S-1™ does have solvents in it, you do want to wait 5–10 days for the solvents to mostly gas off before you move on to the next step.
As far as finishing, once the skin is glued back to the repaired core, and drill holes filled, with the GP Resin, then a quality polyurethane hull paint is the best choice for finishing things. Any suitable non-skid material can be added. This top coat can be repeated in the cockpit if needed, or desired.
With these types of repair, I like to figure out how the water was getting in. Any deck or cabin fitting, or porthole can be a source of water ingress. If you need further help with any of this, please let us know.
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