Last month apparently was the wettest on record since the mid 80’s and I think the month before that was a record breaker as well. Not exactly the best time to have a gaping hole in the deck but alas, the hole was cut. We finally got a decent week of no rain and felt good about putting down the new balsa core.
To prepare the surface we did a lot of sanding, way more sanding than I expected, to get down to the fiberglass.
We then took our time cutting out the main piece of balsa which comes in roll form but lays flat when un-rolled.
It is important to wet out both surfaces with epoxy before applying thickened epoxy (thickened with 406 colloidal silica) and then clamping it all down together so there were quite a few batches of epoxy mixed up.
Once everything was epoxied in place we put weights on the balsa to ensure a good even bond, then more heavy things, then sandbags! Just to make sure.
To ensure that our new balsa is protected forevermore we mixed up another big batch of thickened epoxy, this time with 404 high density adhesive filler since hardware will be bedded in place where all the holes are.
The big area that is filled in with epoxy towards the bottom right is where our inner forestay will attach. There is an extra layer of fiberglass in there as well but I will describe the inner forestay set up in a future post.
After all of the 404 thickened epoxy cured we sanded all of it down, cleaned everything up with the vacuum and acetone, and then mixed up a new big batch epoxy to wet out the entire surface as well as the top fiberglass skin. Then we mixed up yet another huge batch of 406 thickened epoxy. This we spread over everything with a notched spreader before laying down the top layer of fiberglass and weighing everything back down. We even put a few screws through it and clamps through all of the holes this time to really secure it down.
Next up: grinding down the perimeter and laying up a solid fiberglass bond. I see lots more sanding and fairing in our future!