First leak

All the way home today I'm watching water drip out of the hole drilled in the bow end pour for my grab handle. I'm thinking wtf? I must not have sealed the hole with enough epoxy.

My next move is to set the boat on end and fill it the forward compartment with water and see where it comes out. I think I may have to sand the hole clean, fill it with epoxy and try again. Updates later...

Dan 


29 replies:

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RE: First leak

Dan, I opted against the hole for the grab handle (mostly because I wasn't sure I could get it to go straight through, and didn't want to put a large mistake on either end of the boat).  I may opt for four bungee loops (two per side) at the front, do an X-cross with some line and leave enough hanging out front for my handle. 

All that said, your solution sounds sound...  I hope you get it plugged up.

Keep us posted,

Larry

RE: First leak

At second glance this afternoon it looks like the end pour was not solid (it got hot and bubbled). It looks like I may have drilled thru a bubble and that bubble may lead into the front compartment which did have some water in it. Saturday was the first time I had paddled thru any swells so I hadn't noticed this before. I still think the solution will be to turn the boat on it's side, fill the hole with unthickened epoxy and redrill. Not a major problem, I hope...Lesson learned....stick the end in a bucket of ice water when doing an end pour.

Dan 

RE: First leak

So how common are leaks on new boats?  I'll be putting ours in the water probably the first week of June.

RE: First leak

Rare, very rare (for CLC boats).

RE: First leak

Great. I love being a rarity. :(

RE: First leak

For my minimal end pour I used epoxy thickend with micr-ballons I had left over. It made drilling easier, saved epoxy, and it was lighter.

RE: First leak

Dan,

You are a rarity because you built your own boat!  Soon you will be among a not very elite group of boatbuilders who know how to fix problems with epoxy.  Fix that puppy and get back out on the water.  Nobody will know.

Put a layer or two of tape on the bottomside of the hole, pushed up unto the hole a bit, before you pour in anything.  Reinforce it so your goop mix won't pop out the bottom.  Might reduce the need to refinish, hopefully.  Good luck.

RE: First leak

ootdb,

That's pretty much what I was thinking. I was even considering suspending a straw down the middle as a drill guide.

btw, this hasn't kept me off the water

Dan

RE: First leak

Dan,

Thinking out loud, have you found the leak?  If you put a brush on the end of a stick and used it and a solvent through the hatch to clean the face of the end pour, some of it might seep to your bow hole.  Let it dry out, then pour a small amount of unthickened epoxy in to follow the same path as the solvent.  If the epoxy will flow through, plug the bow's rope hole with an inflated balloon or plastic covered dowel after an initial cleanup (minimize later varnish repair) of the seepage.  That might seal the leak from the inside.  You'll have to protect the tip of the bow while your yak is standing on end.  The seepage path is probably not regular.  Any epoxy filling that path could lock in and make a nice seal.  Might be easier than trying to push the epoxy in from the bow hole.  Also, about the time the epoxy is starting to gel (check the left over in your mixing cup) you could go in and clean up any excess pooling at the bow with paper towels on the end of your stick (just don't pull out your new plug).  Again, good luck.  Glad to hear you are still paddling.

RE: First leak

Append to my last past:

If it's cool where you are working, you could warm the epoxy (hot water) to make it a bit more runny.  You don't need a lot of working time, just enough to let the epoxy find the leak.  Use a slow hardner.  If worried about how hot, etc., make a small test batch (or more) and use it on a fabricated leak.  Let us know whatever you try.

RE: First leak

It seems like this issue might be another reason to consider filling the ends with thickened epoxy before the deck goes on.  I made little temporary dams early on, and then deposited all the excess epoxy from other operations in the cavities as I went along.  When they were finally full, I could verify that the ends were well sealed, and I could clearly see where it was safe to drill the thru-holes for the toggle handles. 

RE: First leak

I did the end pour with silica thickened epoxy.  After allowing it to fully cure I carefully drilled through the exterior wood, epoxy, and out the other side, but not completely, just enough to make the exit mark.  Then I finished by drilling from the other side into the already drilled hole.  This way you won't make a mess of the exit hole which can tend to rip the wood as the bit exits.  Then I used a piece of black, solid irrigation pipe that you can get at Home Depot or Lowes.  I can't remember the exact diameter, but I think it is 3/8".  Regardless it is almost the exact diameter of the drilled hole (using a flat wood bit, again I think 3/8")  Once your hole is drilled, you put some epoxy on the outside of the pipe and with a little effort push it into the drilled hole.  After cured, you simply sand the black plastic pipe flush with the wood.  This leaves a very clean and good looking conduit through the boat for the carry handles.  If you are careful, it looks good from both sides.  You can test the method on some scrap wood before attempting on the boat.

Just and idea you might use.

 I have some pictures but I can't figure out how to attach...

RE: First leak

This won't help Dan, but he read it before building his boat and chose to follow the kit instructions instead. I have long thought it crazy to dump half a pound of useless epoxy into the ends of my boat and then drill a hole through the hull for a carry rope. It just seems too crude for a project that takes so much time and effort to build. Instead, I attach lifting toggles to small nylon fairleads, which I attach to the deck with inch-long screws after I varnish the boat. Then I prop one end of the boat upside down on a stepladder and set the other end on a piece of styrofoam on the floor. I then pour about three ounces of lightly thickened epoxy into each end, which encases the screws and secures the lifting toggles while reinforcing the most vulnerable part of the bow or stern. You can see photos of the process and results on my Shearwater page at www.twofootartist.com - Wes

RE: First leak

I thought one of the points to the end pour was to form a solid plug sealing the bow to deck. I don't see how it would be solid if done before the deck is glued down. I'm wondering if several small, cooler, pours might be better.

I like the idea of finding the leak path with solvent. Any preferences? 333, rubbing alcohol?

Unfortunately it's raining here and it might be hard to find a place to stand the boat up inside as it's taller than my house...this is how I did the end pour 

RE: First leak

fyi, after paddling almost all the boats on Saturday my wife settled on the Shearwater 16 hybrid. So I get to do this again. 

RE: First leak

It looks like the end pours cracked...

RE: First leak

I don't think it is wise to sell the end pours short.  They can be a life saver as I will explain in a moment.  I do fully agree that oversized end pours are a lot of extra weight and should be avoided.  Similarly, if you can get a good fit with a carved black and bed it well in epoxy, that's great.  We are talking about an area that is quite difficult to get at and to make up a good joint, and, it is an area that is suseptable  to damage from collisions with any number of things including docks, sand, roack, and other boats.  It pays to make sure the area is strong.  Enter my story which I have told here before:

I carry my Mill Creek 16.5 rightside up, on top of my SUV.  I load it by setting the bow on the rear of the car with the stern on the ground.  I then just pick up the stern and slide the boat forward onto the racks.  One day I got in a hurry and gave the boat a mighty shove.  There was a strong cross wind and before I could stop it, the boat headed for one side of the car.  I stood there hold the stern over my head as the boat came off the side of the racks, dropping the bow to the ground.  That was a 6 ft drop onto essentially concrete.  Every ounce of end pour earned its keep that day as the boat survived without a scratch (helped also by a carbon and dynel rub strip).  Had I not had a good end pour, I am convinced the boat would have split like a ripe watermellon.

Let me also throw in:  I installed my end pours in both my MC and my Shearwater 17 H before the decks went on.  By building up the pour (which was added a little at a time after one vesuvius like experience) it was easy to match the top of the pour to the deck camber guide which made a good surface to epoxy the decks in place.  No problems and both boats by the way have holes drilled for carry toggles.

Paul G.

RE: First leak

Paul,
I recall reading your story before and found it a real eye-opener. I should have also mentioned that I put in a deep fillet in both ends - about 1-1/2" deep, and wrap the seam tape around this fillet so it effectively has three layers of nine-ounce cloth on the inside, in addition to three layers of four-ounce cloth on the outside. I suspect this is lighter, stronger and more flexible in the case of impact than a solid end pour. -Wes

RE: First leak

FWIW, I used my extra epoxy for my end pours during the build, with a damn on each end (they leaked at first, but eventually I got that fixed).  When I put the decks on, I slathered on thickened epoxy along the sheer clamps and then poured the remaining epoxy on top of the bow/stern pours, bringing the level proud of the sides (easy to do as the boat is essentially flat here).  The deck pushed out the excess epoxy, giving me what I'm sure is a completely filled front and back void. 

That said, I didn't drill through either for pull ropes, opting instead for a deck-mounted arrangement leading up to a short pull rope/handle.  Just couldn't bring myself to drill that big of a hole through either end of my boat!

Will have pics shortly, as my varnish is going on this week...; then it's on to deck rigging!

Larry

RE: First leak

Rubbing alcohol has oil in - keep it away from epoxy unless you want to clean it later.  Call CLC or email your epoxy manufacturer and ask about a solvent or use denatured alcohol (virgin, not reprocessed).  Also ask about how to thin the epoxy so it will flow into your crack better.  A solvent in the epoxy has to evaporate; if it does so in the crack, what replaces it? Air?  Maybe heating the epoxy slightly before pouring it in.  Vibrating the hull to help the epoxy displace air.  Heating the hull to thin the epoxy once it is inside the hull.  Or maybe someone can suggest another gap-filling fluid to seal your crack.  For example, one of the various cyanoacrylates used in building model aircraft and in some of the CLC classes to speed hull assembly.

If you use a CA, please read the safety instructions.  Pour a small amount of medium CA into the upturned hull.  Use a screwdriver on the end of a stick to herd the CA toward the crack (don't get the screwdriver stuck).  Watch for the CA to come out the bow hole - means you have good penetration.  If you still have a crack after it cures, repeat.  The CA might attack your finish so be careful.

Again, a call to CLC or one of the Schade brothers might provide more insight or options for your repair.  Good luck.

RE: First leak

Since I can now see the source of the leak I don't think i need to use any solvent to trace it any further. I think I will try and plug it from both ends. CA or thinned epoxy thru the hatch and then fill the hull hole and redrill.

Now I'm starting to ponder why this happened. Could it be heat build up in the sealed compartment? I have been leaving the boat on my patio which can get quite warm during the day...and it's still early in the season.

RE: First leak

It probably wasn't exposure to the elements that caused the crack.  Check the aft end pour.  If no crack, the bow crack probably occured when the epoxy heated, then cooled, during cure.  You did the two pours at different times, so the bow might have gotten hotter than the stern, or it was cooler outside for the stern pour, or ...

If you are worried about heat cycling on the patio, loosen the hatches some when stored.  Just remember to retighten before you travel or paddle.  The worst heat cycling occurs when you take your yak off your car, where it's been heating up in the sun, then pop it into some cold water.  The air inside the compartments cools quickly and shrinks slightly, pulling a small vacuum if the hatches seal real good.  Most people don't think or worry about it, just wonder why their hatches are harder to open every once in a while.

RE: First leak

There is a trick I've used several times to get glue through small cracks in wood.  Apply the glue, epoxy, or whatever else you're trying in a small space, put the nozzle of your shop vacuum on the opposite side and turn it on. It sure beats depending on gravity, capillary action or blowing it in with compressed

RE: First leak

Sorry to hear about your kayak Daniel. I would be careful about using CA (super glue) it usually is not compatible with epoxy. Give MAS a call 856-303-9245 Toll-free: 888-627-3769 or 800 398-7556. MAS are great you always get a person or they will call you back. Depending on access you could try a long aircraft drill bit to make a few holes in the cracked area to help get the epoxy to flow in.

 

When I did my end pours I did two or three pours with micro balloons and a cardboard dam to minimize heat build up. The only problem with that is I did not get a cool photo of my kayak leaning on my house.

 

RE: First leak

I'm just starting my build, so the following is NOT based on experience.  However, the crack sure doesn't seem to be a structural issue, so why bother with trying to fill it with epoxy or CA?  It seems like good old marine goop, aquaseal or similar silicon-based sealant/adhesive would do the trick. If you go the CA route, you can get a small tube of "thick" CA from any hobby shop that sells RC Airplane kits.  CA (unlike boat building) is something I have a lot of experience with, and given a long enough cure time, I've never had bonding issues against an eopxy substrate, and you can always use accelerator.  By the way, you can thicken CA with carbosil if necessary. Anyhow, just some random thoughts - best of luck, and you sure made a beautiful boat.

-Zach

RE: First leak

Geez, Dana, even your end pours are gorgeous! I may give MAS a call later. I sent Nick S a note on Facebook. I'll see what he has to say too.

C.Dubois, I like the vacuum idea. I just bought a vac/dust collector with variable suction and that might be just the thing. I just have to be careful not to get epoxy in the hose.

Thanks to everyone for all your comments and advice. This forum is great! 

Dan 

RE: First leak

Solution, I hope...

I propped the boat on a step ladder in my basement as high as possible. Since the crack is towards the sheer clamp I put the deck down. I sanded the grab loop hole with 80 grit to remove the varnish and clean it up a bit.  I then took some clear packing tape and covered one side of the hole. The other side I covered except for a small hole near the top. Instead of a vacuum cleaner I brought home my handheld vacuum pump from work. I used this with a small suction cup adapter. When I did a trial suck it was obvious by the sound that the crack went all the way thru. I then mixed about 4 oz of epoxy, reached in the hatch and dumped it as close to the bow as possible. I waited a few minutes and started to see some epoxy flowing into the hole. I applied a small amount of vacuum to speed it up a bit. As the epoxy reached the top of the hole I tapped the tape on both sides to get a few bubbles out. Then when the epoxy started to ooze from the small hole in the tape I applied more tape and sealed it up.

Now time for a drink. Cheers all!

Tomorrow I'll redrill the grab loop hole and I'll be back on the water Friday (I hope).

Dan 

RE: First leak

Congrats, Dan!  And thanks for posting your solution.  Happy paddling, soon.

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